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Saturday, 16 November 1996

Also Starring...: Behind The Scenes At Kenan & Kel | Ooze News | November 1996

Ooze News - November 1996

Also Starring...

Behind the scenes at Kenan & Kel

It takes five days and 75 crew members to produce one half-hour episode of Kenan & Kel, Nickelodeon's spin-off of All That. The crew does everything from directing to making sure the stars have their favorite kind of soda (orange). Here's a peek at some of the people who worked behind the scenes for nearly four months last summer to being you the show.

Head of the Crew

Name: Brian Robbins
Job: Executive producer with Mike Tollin
What that means: Brian oversees the scriptwriting, casting, and hiring of the entire crew, and he even directs some episodes. He also supervises the editing of each show.
Quality control: Brian has worked both behind and in front of the cameras (he played Eric on Head of the Class), but he prefers producing and directing. "It's more creative, because I work on the whole process," he says. "As an actor, I could only control how I said my lines."

The Write Stuff

Names: Kevin Kopelow, Heath Seifert, and Dan Schneider (above, from left)
Jobs: Writers
What that means: It takes Kevin and Heath (who work as a team) and Dan about one week to come up with the plot and write the script for each episode. And, as the show is rehearsed, they have to rewrite some of the dialogue and jokes to get bigger laughs from the studio audience.
Moonlighting: Dan, who's also the co-executive producer, guest stars as Angus, the rival of Kenan's boss. Kevin and Heath (who are both producers, too) and Dan also write for All That.

One Show, Hold the Mayo

Name: Merrie Dudley
Job: Producer
What that means: Merrie's job is all about the nuts and bolts of the show. She makes a schedule that lets the cast and crew know where they should be and what they should be doing every minute of the 10-hour workdays. During the summer, each week's schedule would lead up to Friday night's taping in front of a studio audience.
On a roll: "I'm pretty much like a fast-food manager," says Merrie. "It's like I know who's making the fries, who's cleaning the bathroom, and who's working the drive-thru."

Shop 'Til You Drop

Name: Bruce Anthony Marshall
Job: Costume Designer
What that means: Bruce makes sure Kenan, Kel, and all the other actors have the right things to wear in every scene. For an average show, he needs to buy or sew more than 20 different outfits.
Sew much fun: Bruce's favorite part of his job is creating looks for brand-new characters. He once made up costumes for people from imaginary countries. "That's when my job gets really good," he says.

Joel of All Trades

Name: Joel Fisher
Job: Production Coordinator
What that means: Joel keeps things running behind the scenes. He wears a headset and carries a beeper while working so he can be reached at any moment to take care of everyone's requests, which once entailed sending someone to buy a specific flavor of gum.
A dogged worker: "I'll do whatever it takes to make sure the show goes on. I've had producers ask me to walk their dog when there was no way for them to get home to do it," he says.

It's a Dirty Job

Name: David Jordan Jr.
Job: Prop Master
What that means: David builds the show's props and scenery. In one episode, Kel dreams that he is trapped in a giant brown paper bag filled with huge candies, fruit, and ointment. David and his staff had to construct all those objects - mostly by sculpting and painting foam.
Chew on this pencil: David once made an edible pencil for an All That sketch. "I used bubble gum as the center. Then I put Fruit Roll-Ups around the outside and used chocolate sprinkles for the lead," he says.
Scene stealer: David also designs sets for All That. And, woodn't you know, he designed Stick Stickly.

Names: Kenan Thompson and Kel Mitchell

Jobs: Stars

We asked Kenan Thompson (left) and Kel Mitchell about their new show.

Nickelodeon Magazine: How is Kenan & Kel different from All That?
Kenan: Well, on Kenan & Kel we play the same characters every week. We're always getting into trouble. I'm always scheming, trying to come up with a get-rich-quick plan. And Kel follows me because he's my best friend.

NM: Does that happen in real life, too?
Kel: Sometimes, though in real life it's not always Kenan doing the leading.

NM: Do you like the fact that your characters have your real names?
Kenan: Yeah - but we're not really like them. Kel is a lot brighter in real life, and I'm not as much of a schemer as I am on TV.

NM: Did you help develop your characters?
Kenan: Yes. The writers gave us a skeleton of the characters, and we put the meat on them. We bring our own shenanigans into the show.

NM: Why isn't the show called Kel & Kenan?
Kel: Kenan & Kel just flows better. Anyway, we're a team, so I don't mind.

Kenan & Kel airs Saturdays at 8 PM*.

*Show airs one hour earlier in the central time zone. Times subject to change. Check local listings for details.

Sidoni's No Phony

Nick stars David Sidoni and Melissa Joan Hart are the spokespeople for Nickelodeon's Kids Pick the President campaign coverage. We asked David about the time he spent at the Republican and Democratic Conventions, where Bob Dole and Bill Clinton were officially nominated as their parties' presidential candidates.

Nickelodeon Magazine: Did you get bored during all those speeches?
David Sidoni: No. There were huge video screens where I could either watch the speakers or read along, because the words ran across the screen. I also looked around to see people's reactions.

NM:  Did you see many silly hats?
DS: Yes. I saw the silliest hat at the Democratic Convention. It was 15 feet tall and made of lacquered balloons. Each balloon had a political message written on it.

NM: Do you remember any funny slogans?
DS: A lot of funny sayings were on buttons. They were often about Socks, the Clintons' cat. The Republican buttons read THROW SOCKS OUT OF THE WHITE HOUSE. The Democrats' read WE LOVE SOCKS.

NM: What is the funniest thing that happened at either convention?
DS: The craziest, coolest thing happened at the Democratic Convention. All of a sudden, "Macarena" was played over the loudspeakers, and the whole place went nuts. I did the Macarena with 75-year-old delegates.

NM: During the Democratic Convention, was it exciting to walk around United Center, the home of the Chicago Bulls?
DS: Of course. I'm a huge sports fan. I was excited to be on the convention floor but even more excited to be on the floor where the Bulls play.

NM: Did you ever run for class president?
DS: I did in the sixth grade. I asked 16 of my friends to hold a 30-foot-long banner in front of me while I was giving a speech. The banner read VOTE FOR SIDONI. HE'S NO PHONY. AND THAT'S NO BALONEY. And I won.

Hey, Herb!

Where you ask the president of Nickelodeon, Herb Scannell, anything you want.

People call you "The Big Cheese." Do you even like cheese?
I'm a big cheese fan. My favorite cheeses are really stinky ones - the stinkier the better. One time my wife and I bought some smelly cheese at the store, and then we got on the bus to go home. When I walked on, people must have thought there was a baby in a stinky diaper on board. We had to tell them that it was just our cheese.

What do you do at Nickelodeon?
I'm kind of like a principal, but I don't think the people who work here are afraid of me. I oversee Nickelodeon, Nick at Nite, and TV Land. I'm responsible for everything from Nickelodeon Online to the channels we are starting around the world. I try to make sure that kids are happy with us. It's a problem if they aren't.

Do you have any questions for Herb?
Send them to:

Hey, Herb!
1515 Broadway, 41st Floor
New York, NY 10036


Watch back-to-back episodes of all the Nicktoons during the Non-Stop Nicktoons Weekend beginning Wednesday, November 27, at 6 PM*.

* Shows air one hour earlier in the central time zone. Shows subject to change. Check your local listings for details.

Additional source: Wikipedia.