We were lucky to have All That as kids. The iconic Nickelodeon sketch comedy show, which kickstarted the careers of many of the most talented youngsters in the industry, was a once-in-a-generation phenomenon. It inspired a raucous, batshit sense of humor in the millennials who watched it throughout the ’90s, and most importantly, showed kids how to properly goof off. While our parents had Saturday Night Live, we had All That.
A full-fledged, live-action sketch comedy show geared towards kids, with a house cast, recurring characters, and special guests, isn’t something we’ve seen since the show concluded after 10 seasons in 2005. But now, All That is making a comeback on June 15, with a reboot from former cast member (and current SNL star) Kenan Thompson.
To celebrate, here are our 10 favorite sketches from the orange soda-soaked history of All That.
10. Ask Ashley
All That introduced the world to Amanda Bynes. The comic performer would later become one of our generation’s most recognizable young movie stars, but her time on All That was truly something. The show’s recurring “Ask Ashley” bit showed off Bynes’ range, and gave us a glimpse of the depths of rage that the actor would explore in later characters when she received her own series, The Amanda Show.
9. Mavis and Clavis
Little kids pretending they’re old people. It’s one of those comedy traditions that transcends culture, language, and time itself. It’s always funny! All That’s “Mavis and Clavis” is one of the best old age goofs ever, because unlike most sketch shows on TV, these performers are children, so the age gap is truly absurd. While it’s not Kenan and Kel’s most famous duo routine, it’s certainly one of their strongest.
8. Vital Information
All That gave strong roles to its female performers like Lori Beth Denberg, who really shined in this bonkers advice program bit. “What’s the biggest loogie you’ve ever hocked up?”
Repairman-man-man-man-man! One thing All That is memorable for is its destructive attitude. Sets were always being slimed, caved in, and doused in soda, with characters bursting through walls around every corner. Kel Mitchell crushed it with this fully insane (and terrible) handyman sketch, proving that he’s just as good as a solo act as he is at being comedy partners with his buddy Kenan.
6. The Spice Boys
The Spice Girls were all the rage in the ’90s. Of course All That would have a parody band of its own. Though he’s best remembered for The Nick Cannon Show, The Spice Boys showcased the versatile talent of Nick Cannon, a multifaceted performer who would find enduring success in the industry for years to come.
5. Earboy and Pizzaface
Kenan and Kel weren’t the only duo routine to come out of All That. Josh Server teamed up with Kel Mitchell for this bizarre, awkward act that involved a dude with gigantic ears, a pizza-faced person, and for some reason, Ross Perot. Yes, a pre-teen performer on Nickelodeon dressed up as Ross Perot. You don’t get much more ’90s than that.
4. Everyday French with Pierre Escargot
An unabashedly dumbass take on French culture, “Everyday French” is a personal favorite of mine. All That had no issue with dropping plot and conventional narrative in lieu of strong comic personas, and Pierre Escargot is one of those early childhood memories that remind me why I love comedy. We don’t know for sure the real inspiration behind these stupid interludes, but if I had to guess, I’d bet it has something to do with the fact that Kenan Thompson has a comically horrible French accent. In the world of sketch comedy, that’s more than enough to suffice a recurring character.
3. Loud Librarian
Looking back on All That, it’s really crazy to see how often Lori Beth Denberg was creating memorable characters on the show. Her inexcusably brash, high-volume librarian character is one of the funniest parts of the series, showcasing Denberg’s natural abilities as a physical performer. It’s a shame we didn’t get to see more of her talent after the show ended in the early 2000s.
2. Good Burger
The sketch that inspired a full-fledged movie is also the most recognizable part of All That. It was a genius cross-section of ’90s kid culture–since most of our socializing took place in and around places like McDonalds or Burger King, it makes perfect sense that All That would center its biggest sketch in the familiar fixtures of a fast food restaurant. Also, it gave the entire cast room to show off, as they filled in for the various employees and customers of the wacky fast-food joint.
There are many, many memorable All That sketches, and sure, some of them may be smarter or more deftly-written than others, but for our money, none were better than “Superdude.” An all-around shitshow of a comedy sketch, Superdude gave us Kenan Thompson at his most hammy, and the sketch never ended without something onscreen being blown to bits (or splashed with milk). Forget the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Just give us more Superdude.