Kenan Thompson And Kel Mitchell Open Up About Healing Their Decades-Long Friendship
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Kenan Thompson And Kel Mitchell Open Up About Healing Their Decades-Long Friendship

Kenan Thompson and Kel Mitchell, the comedy duo that defined the childhood of 90’s babies everywhere, are getting real about mending their strained brotherhood.

After 26 years, Thompson and Mitchell, both 45, are reuniting for their long-awaited return to the big screen in the Good Burger sequel, which premiered on Nov. 22. And while their bond has always seemed inseparable onscreen, the actors are opening up about the work they needed to repair their long-standing friendship.

"It was just kind of seeking an individual establishment because we were children when we met and then we grew into adults," Thompson shared in a PEOPLE exclusive. "We had yet to kind of discover what our adult life was like without work being involved."

"Not that it was forced, but you're forced to go to work every day. You know what I'm saying?" he continues. "So we wanted a version where we were able to decide for ourselves what we were going to be doing and pursuing kind of thing."

Thompson went on to tell the publication that "time" played a crucial role in rekindling their bond, acknowledging that it had been "ridiculously too long" since the two had been in contact.

Frazer Harrison/WireImage

For Mitchell, it was an hours-long phone call with his television companion that ultimately made space for them to express their grievances and reflect on their growth from Kenan and Kel as teenage years to their present adult selves.

"I think we had a conversation on the phone one time. I remember that conversation," the former child star said. "We talked for at least about an hour or two and just was like, 'Yeah, man.' We're talking about everything. And that bond was there, which I think is awesome. It's cool to see the dynamic of us as adults. Kenan and Kel as adults."

In 1994, the funny guys first captured our hearts and tickled our funny bones on Nickelodeon's hit sketch comedy series, All That. Their friendship led to the creation of the Kenan & Kel show and continued on to co-star in the 1997 film Good Burger as Dexter (Thompson) and Ed (Mitchell).

The two shared that at times, “being around each other started to feel forced... as opposed to we're excited to be on the show together and all that stuff" leading them to need space to figure out the next chapter of their dynamic.

Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic, Inc

"We had already done that. So then it was like, 'All right, now what?'" Mitchell adds. "So if we're going to be in a position where we're forced to work, we would want to be comfortable knowing that I am who I am, he is who he is, and we know who those people are. And then we know that they both work well together."

Like most friendships that stand the test of time, there are ups and downs that define the relationship and allow it to take on a new form. When reflecting on their bond, Mitchell says that it’s, "These are reminding moments," that matter the most.

"It's a brotherhood. We've known each other since we were kids. We both had our own journeys and journeys together. It's a friendship that has been [able to last] over a test of time, which is super awesome," he says.

Jeff Kravitz\ Getty Images

"We were so bonded when we were young because we spent so much time working. And we spent so much time hanging out together as well, because we were very similar in our families. We're so close," Mitchell continues. "But now since it's been a departure and a return, it's like there will never be another departure. You know what I mean? We've already experienced the mysteries of, well, what if I went off and you went off and you did this? We've seen what that is."

Although Thompson feels it’s "hard to put it in one word" just how much his friendship with Mitchell means to him, it’s clear that the quick-witted “dude” and his orange soda-loving bestie are back and better than ever.

"Now, there's no fear of it or there's no feeling of we're missing out on any kind of thing or whatever. It's such a pleasure and that guaranteed 'somebody's got your back' feeling at any given moment in the room. Everything is just easy."

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Featured image by Theo Wargo/Getty Images

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