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inmate profile: Kel Mitchell

This one's just plain fun for me. I've been a fan of the great and talented Kel Mitchel ever since "All That" hit the airwaves back in 1994. Since then, I've watched and waited with the rest of the world as a standout young actor has had to fight for respectability as an adult. "All That" lead quickly to "Kenan and Kel," the smash Nickelodeon hit co-starring Kel's early comedic partner and current SNLer Kenan Thompson. As a college student, I watched a lot of "Kenan and Kel" with my buddies. We were, of course, stoned, but that only heightened our enjoyment of the Laurel-and-Hardy-esque escapades of the pair. The pair also made a movie together, 1997's classic Good Burger (which, yes, I have seen more than a dozen times. I even own a copy on VHS; it's orange) before going their separate ways in 2000. I watched that one the other day for the first time in a few years and it was still every bit as heartwarming and hilarious as it was the first time.

Kenan flirted with major movie stardom with his role in the Ben Stiller-vehicle Mystery Men, and from there has worked steadily in television - especially voiceover work - and in movies here and there, mostly comedies. 2007 saw him turn in another tour de force performance in John Sayles' Honeydripper opposite Danny Glover and Charles S. Dutton, and, of course, he has stayed active as a musician/performer.

For my money, Kel was always the more obviously talented of his peers, funnier and an all-around stronger actor, so it has always surprised and disappointed me that I haven't seen more of him. But now, all grown up and, as the pictures above hint, packing some muscle, there could be a whole new world developing for Mr. Mitchell. Battle of Los Angeles will be the first action film I've seen him in, but I have a feeling it's going to open a lot of doors in terms of the sort of work we see him do from now on. Mr. Mitchell has a strong on-screen presence, is a very natural actor, funny, yes, but with a real depth of emotional range that could have him pulling off, I truly believe, any role that's put before him. The guy's just good, then and now, and it would be great to see him in a wider range of projects. 

Hell, let's get The Asylum to capitalize on this and the similar career transition I hoped for a few months ago upon the release of Mega Shark vs Crocosaurus, starring Jaleel White: a buddy cop movie, The Asylum's first, starring Jaleel and Kel as wise-crackin', authority-snubbin', own-rule-playin' detectives in some major metropolitan area. It could be their Bad Boys. Both of these guys, I feel, have had the same raw deal: we loved them as younger actors, heralded them for skills seemingly beyond their years, and then as soon as they transitioned into adulthood, we pigeon-holed them, type-cast them, and consequently under-appreciated them. Well, now's our chance to make amends. Tune in Saturday, March 12th at 9pm on SyFy to watch Kel Mitchell in Battle of Los Angeles. You never know, you could be watching a rebirth of epic proportions.

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