Saturday Night Live has been an institution on TV for over 40 years. For a shorter window of time, All That provided a more kid-friendly version of the show. All That featured a cast of young stars who acted in weekly sketches. Occasionally, it featured A-list celebrities as well. Over the course of its run, it featured a number of incredibly talented performers who would go on to have successful careers.
Throughout its run, the show created a number of iconic characters. Some were totally essential to the show's success, while others were more peripheral, but still quite hilarious. The humor on All That wasn't always hugely sophisticated. Still, the show could make you laugh as well as any show on the air and now it's getting itself a reboot for the kids of today. Here are 15 iconic All That characters we'll miss on the new version.
Advice shows were all the rage in the '90s before YouTube blossomed and filled that hole. On Ask Ashley, Amanda Bynes played a young girl whose job it was to dole out advice to those who had questions for her. Unfortunately, Ashley was a little bit too short-tempered for the job.
Whenever she gets an obvious question, she starts to lose her cool. Unfortunately, she gets quite a few questions that have pretty obvious answers, so she spends most of her time upset. It's a beautiful, simple conceit. What if someone you relied on for advice also had rage issues? It's the kind of comedy that really never gets old.
Another Amanda Bynes character, Gina was a co-host of Whateverr!. She was a classic valley girl. Today, this parody would be played out. When Amanda debuted the character, though, it was in the wake of Clueless, which reintroduced us to the valley.
Gina was a parody of a parody, and she worked surprisingly well. Valley girls are inherently quite funny, and Amanda was always more than willing to overcommit in order to sell a part. Gina returned season after season on All That, and that's because she was a hugely successful parody of a kind of girl that we now see all over pop culture.
Good Burger is one of the most iconic sketches in the history of All That, and Ed is what makes the sketch tick. Played by Kel Mitchell, Ed is a fairly clueless cashier who nonetheless has a number of iconic catchphrases.
No matter how specific you are with your order, Ed will always find a way to mess it up. He's the hapless counter clerk taken to its extreme. Ed works because he's someone everyone has encountered. He's trying his best, but his best just isn't good enough. He may be an idiot, but there are few idiots that are easier to love than Ed.
A lot of All That's best characters are simple twists on very familiar ideas. Superdude is just Superman, except he's younger, and he's also lactose intolerant. Played by Kenan Thompson, the character is incredibly dweeby when he's out of his suit, and he's surprisingly sensitive even when he suits up.
The sketch isn't overly clever, but it doesn't need to be. Superdude is a great example of how silly All That could be, and how often it let its brilliant young stars do whatever they wanted. Superdude was a Superman parody before superheroes were the force they are in our pop culture today.
If you ever wondered what an all-male version of The Spice Girls would look like, look no further than The Spice Boys. In particular, look at Sweaty Spice. He's a Spice Boy, and he never stops sweating. As Wikipedia puts it, "he constantly perspires."
There are things about celebrities that most people are uncomfortable with. In making one of those things a Spice Boy's defining feature, All That created an awkward, beautiful character that Nick Cannon brought to life perfectly. He didn't have a ton of characters on the show, but with Sweaty Spice, he made his mark.
Pierre Escargot is still one of the most patently absurd things that Kenan Thompson has ever done, and that's why it works so well. In this sketch, Kenan plays a Frenchman who sits in a bathtub in a raincoat and teaches his audience how to say bizarre things in French.
It's brilliant because every detail is perfect conceived. It feels in part like a forerunner to "Whattup with That," which Kenan does frequently on Saturday Night Live. If you're looking for true absurdity, there's no one better than Kenan Thompson. He's been doing sketch comedy his whole life, and he's better at it than pretty much everyone else.
Librarians share one quality in common: They're quiet, and they'd like those who use the library to be quiet as well. Ms. Hushburn, a character played by Lori Beth Denberg, is quite loud, but she still hates when other people make any noise. She's a hypocrite, and in the right circumstances, that hypocrisy can be quite amusing.
From a kids' perspective, Ms. Hushburn is a reminder of every adult who told kids they couldn't do something that they themselves did regularly. Adult hypocrisy can be incredibly frustrating, and Ms. Hushburn allows us to laugh at it so that we don't scream our lungs out in fury.
Mavis and Clavis are old people played by very young people. The concept of young people playing old people is always funny, and it's doubly funny when those people are actual children as Kenan and Kel Mitchell were at the time. Together, the two of them gave young people a way to deal with their grandparents in all of their strangeness.
Mavis and Clavis's physical appearance was part of the humor. The two of them look like old people parodies, and they talk as if their mouths are filled with marbles. The characters are admittedly simple, but they work because of Kenan and Kel's commitment to them — and their iconic chemistry.
When All That was on the air, Oprah was at the height of her power. She was hosting a daily talk show and she had enormous influence over the culture. Because she was so popular, she was also one of the easiest parody targets out there. Leave it to Kel and All That to take on that task.
Kel played Okrah, an obvious riff on Oprah, and imbued his version of the character with all of the same sensitivity that Oprah had on her own show. The idea of laughing at a man in drag is a little uncomfortable today, but that's not where this sketch ends. Kel developed a real character.
Fictional detectives are never bad at their jobs. They're always swaggering, smart, and one step ahead of the criminals that they're supposed to be stopping. As Detective Dan, Josh Server gave audiences a chance to wonder what it would be like if detectives were overly confident and constantly wrong.
Detective Dan wasn't just an overconfident idiot, though. He was also clumsy and generally incompetent. In every sketch, it was clear that the rest of the officers were simply humoring, and would get back to their actual work once he left. Detective Dan was a hypermasculine idiot, and in that way, he was way ahead of his time.
Randy Quench is one of the few late-season All That characters to make this list, but he's simply too good to ignore. Played by Jack DeSena, Randy loves fires and heat. He's a fireman, so his job is technically to put out fires, but he loves them way more than he should.
It's a genius conceit, in part because we all know how dangerous fires can be. Randy rushes into the danger, though, not because he loves it, but because he loves fires. It's an irony that's too sweet to ignore, and Jack's enthusiastic portrayal of the character only makes it better.
Sometimes, the things that children find funny are incredibly stupid and more than a little surreal. In the case of Earboy & Pizzaface, we get an excellent example of both of those qualities. Pizzaface, in particular, is hilarious. As his name suggests, he has a slice of pizza for a face.
What's more, Pizzaface is quite sensitive about that fact, and about almost everything else as well. What made him iconic as a character (beyond the hilarity of the sight gag) was that they decided he would be insecure about his pizza-face. He's a self-aware weirdo, and for some reason, that only makes it better.
Much like Randy Quench, the Repairman is actually pretty good at breaking things. Whenever something is broken, he enters by blowing a hole through the roof and attempting to fix it with a sledgehammer. As we all know, sledgehammers aren't the preferred tool for most jobs when something requires fixing.
Kel played the character and did an amazing job highlighting just how destructive Repairman was, even in spite of his desire to fix problems. As he shouts his own name, he carries destruction behind him. He's like the angel of death if the angel of death was totally unaware of his own actions.
Randy is the kind of chef that every kid wants to be. He's obsessed with chocolate, and he's willing to put it into just about anything. Randy is another classic Kenan character, and he's one who parodied the cooking show genre 20 years ago. There were plenty of cooking shows on the air then, of course, but Randy still felt ahead of his time.
Throughout the sketch's run, Kenan would have various guests come into his kitchen. One episode featured Chris Farley as Chef Farley, a die-hard ketchup lover who invades Randy's kitchen. Cooking with Randy was a staple of All That, and it wouldn't have been anything without Randy himself.
Saturday Night Live has "Weekend Update," and All That has "Vital Information." Because All That was only a half-hour long, the show couldn't actually be a full newscast about the week's stories. Instead, it was more like a parody of newscast parodies, one that told some succinct jokes to perfection.
Although she was technically playing herself, Lori Beth Denberg was indeed the best host that "Vital Information" ever had. Her sheer enthusiasm and quick wit meant that she could handle basically whatever was thrown at her. She was a very gifted performer and a huge part of what made "Vital Information" so good.