Nickelodeon: An Unexpected Path to Big Fame

returns this week with a new show, hosted by Drake. Most folks know him as a rapper and musician, but in reality, he got his start as a teen actor on a Canadian teen show DeGrassi: The Next Generation. That show was also broadcast in America on kids network, Nickelodeon.  (see the YouTube clip here)

If you look a little closer, you can see that Nickelodeon was a vehicle that started the careers of many famous performers.  And why wouldn’t it be?  The Mickey Mouse Club was once a launching pad for talent.

1984: Alanis Morisette

Most people know that  Alanis Morisette got her start on You Can’t Do That on Television — one of the first live action TV shows on the “new” kids channel in 1984.   It also started the green slime thing that lives on to this day.  She went on to be a great artist, singer, songwriter, performer, and fifteen years later, she’d play one of the best incarnations of God Almighty in the Kevin Smith film, Dogma.

1994:Kenan Thompson

 Fast forward ten years, to 1994, when Nickelodeon created a sketch comedy show called All That.  The theme song of the show was performed by TLC. An original cast member was 16 year old Kenan Thompson, who along with his partner Kel Mitchell created some of the most memorable sketches on the show. The highlight was Good Burger, a crappy fast food restaurant that was the subject of a movie they eventually starred in a movie of the same name.

The popularity of the sketch led to the Kenan and Kel show which ran from 1996 through 2000. The theme of that show was performed by Coolio. That show was more of a sitcom format, with odd sketch moments interspersed. But it allowed Kenan to develop his acting as well as his comedy prowess (and dreds).  Kenan went on to some great performances in films and TV. He played Fat Albert in the movie of the same name and of course, currently is one of the cast members of SNL.

1996: Amanda Bynes

 In 1996, All That added a cute little tyke named Amanda Bynes to the cast.  She became very popular, fast, and in 1999 she was handed her own sketch comedy show The Amanda Show. This great clip shows the  first appearance of Penelope “Taynt”, Amanda’s biggest fan (who came up with that name??) long before she was in movies, and a full 18 years before she landed herself in rehab.

1998: Nick Canon

 Nick Cannon, who now hosts America’s Got Talent and is married to Maria Carey  joined the cast of All That in 1998 and stayed  2 years.  Gabriel Iglesias (Fluffy not Fat guy) was in the cast.  They are both in this clip, along with Danny Tamborelli, who was famous BEFORE All That as a star of Pete and Pete (with Iggy Pop).  Nick also was given his own show in 2002, The Nick Cannon Show where he “took over” situations, like Nick “Takes over your family” or Nick “Takes over baseball”.  It lasted for two seasons. Here he is “taking over” Hawaii.

1999: Taran Killam

 So many celebrities did episodes of The Amanda Show The most famous of these is Taran Killam who played Spalding in the “Moody’s Point” soap opera segment.  Moody’s Point was a parody of the teen super hit tv show Dawson’s Creek.

The Amanda Show gave plenty of others their shot, like Josh Peck and Drake Bell who went on to star in their own TV series Drake and Josh on Nick before launching into movie careers and Miranda Cosgrove has a successful movie career and starred in the animated movie franchise Despicable Me (she plays the oldest daughter).

The 90’s on Nick is considered the best era for comedy and animation.  If these clips made you nostalgic for more, you can watch all these shows and more on a live stream called Nick Reboot or on a livestream channel


Alanis Morissette on You Can’t Do That on Television

Kenan and Kel in an early incarnation of Good Burger on the Show All That

Here’s a sketch in the later years.

Kenan and Kel later had their own show on Nick.

Kenan in Fat Albert

Nick Cannon, Gabriel Iglesias and  Danny Tamborelli, in All That

Amanda Bynes Biggest Fan

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Sharon grew up in, and continues to live in suburban Philadelphia and has been a music and comedy fan forever, cutting her teeth musically on Bowie. Monty Python and other British comedies were her earliest passion - the Goodies, Young Ones, Fawty Towers, on and on. She was a regular at the Comedy Factory Outlet in Philadelphia and once did 20 minutes onstage with Harry Anderson. Right now she's loving @midnight for a daily TV fix of comedy (and nerds).

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