Nickelodeon star Kel Mitchell will greet fans this weekend during an appearance at SlimeFest — the Coachella for kids (And, OK, moms and dads too).
The Chicago native and star of the Nick show Game Shakers stopped by the Morning Shift Thursday to chat with Tony Sarabia about his early acting career, including his time on Kenan and Kel and All That.
So, what is SlimeFest? The two-day music festival is being held Saturday and Sunday at Huntington Bank Pavilion at Northerly Island with performances from DJ and producer Zedd, rapper Flo Rida. And slime. Lots of slime.
In this interview, Mitchell talks about SlimeFest, his Chicago acting roots and how his big break was not on TV but on the back of a box of Cap’n Crunch cereal.
Slime, slime, slime (and music)
Tony Sarabia: So what is SlimeFest?
Kel Mitchell: It’s a cool fest where you can see musical acts that kids love. Flo Rida is going to be there and Zedd, the EDM artist. Liam Payne from One Direction, you know they’re all going in different directions now. They split up their doing their own thing. So he’ll be there and Jojo Siwa. The kids get to see musical guests, and then also there are obstacle courses there. And fun things to do for the kids all with slime involved. SlimeFest got started overseas around 2012.
Starting his acting career in Chicago
Tony: Was acting something you’ve always wanted to do?
Mitchell: You know what? It was something that I got into one summer. My parents kept me in the church and where we grew up there was also some kids going in the wrong direction. My parents were like we have to get this kid in the right thing, something positive. They sent me to eta Creative Arts Foundation and I studied under Runako Jahi. I had fun doing the summer camp and doing these plays. I was a bit of a class clown anyway. It was a way to channel that energy. Shout out to the arts and after school programs because it really changed my life.
Kenan and Kel, All That
Tony: How did All That happen, and that spin-off Kenan and Kel?
Mitchell: Yeah I remember the producers would see Kenan and I hanging out after we would film All That and in between breaks. And we were like brothers and we still are. And we would do all kinds of crazy jokes. And so a hiatus came up and they were like, well you know on this hiatus you all are not going back to your cities. We’re going to have you all stay and we’re going to shoot a pilot and we’re going to call it…actually it didn’t have a name at first. But they were like we’re creating a show about the two of you. And we were like, “Heck yeah let’s do this!”
Modeling for Cap’n Crunch
Tony: I didn’t realize you were just 14 when you started on All That back in 1994, but you don’t consider that your first big role?
Mitchell: No my first big role, I mean to me was modeling for Cap’n Crunch. I was on the back of the Crunch Berry box. They actually came to eta, the Cap’n Crunch crew. They said we want to take some pictures of kids and I got it. And they put me on the back of the box and I remember getting chased by girls. Like they had the box and they were screaming. I was signing Crunch Berry boxes. It was awesome. It was a fun time.
GUEST: Kel Mitchell, television and movie actor
LEARN MORE: Q&A: Chicago native Kel Mitchell returns home for Nickelodeon SlimeFest (Chicago Tribune 6/5/18)