Keke Palmer is becoming the type of star she was always destined to be.
Sure, we’ve loved her ever since Akeelah and the Bee, but there’s a certain stratosphere she’s always deserved that Hollywood hasn’t quite let her attain. With the recent success of her viral internet moments and films like Hustlers and Nope, we’ve entered the era of Keke Palmer, the movie star. It won’t be long before she’s top billing in movies in the summers and in the fall. The powers that be are catching on, Palmer is a woman who is a box office draw with the talent to make a run during any awards season. This weekend she hosted Saturday Night Live, a job fit for true stars (and, um, Elon Musk).
SNL is a hit-or-miss show because the rapid pace in which it’s put together makes each episode beholden to the guest star’s comedic chops and radiant personalities. Suffice it to say, when Palmer came along, she showed up and showed out. Some highlights were her opening monologue, in which she confirmed ongoing rumors by revealing a baby bump, a sketch about Drake’s tendency to mention various women in his songs, and a wild skit about rambunctious fetuses acting up inside a womb. The most noteworthy moment of the night, however, might have been a rare Kenan & Kel reunion.
The sketch (dubbed "Kenan & Kelly") dreamed up a revamp of the beloved ‘90s sitcom—only in this reboot, Palmer fills in for Kel (as “Kelly”) and she’s hilariously bad at it. The way she overacts for comedic effect is perfect, and when Kel Mitchell does show up for a hot minute, the absurdity crests into a well-earned payoff.
It’s really a shame that Kel never got hired as an SNL cast member. Could you imagine two more decades of Kenan and Kel’s brilliant chemistry on that show? If only his disastrous audition went a little smoother. Maybe one day, those two will work again, but in the meantime, we have Keke Palmer to thank for reuniting them. And there’s always Good Burger, a genuinely great movie that punches well above its weight class. It’s not just some kids movie, but one of the greatest comedies of the ’90s.