NBC’s Kenan: Does It Bring the Funny?- Junkie Recap and Review

Kenan Thompson’s Kenan is a sitcom about a recently widowed popular morning show host, stepping into his newly found position as a single father raising two young daughters, while trying to deal with this ultimate life-changing dynamic.

Created by David Caspe (Happy Endings, Black Monday) and Jackie Clarke (Happy Endings, Undateable). “Kenan” premiered on NBC February 16. It centers around Thompson as the main character, with fellow comedian and SNL writer Chris Redd, Kimrie Lewis (Scandal, 2 Broke Girls), and real-life sisters Dani and Dannah Lane, who portray Kenan’s daughters, which round out the main cast. Also, veteran actor Don Johnson (Miami Vice, Nash Bridges) appears in the pilot as Kenan’s happy-go-lucky father-in-law, Rick, who may or may not have a bit of a gambling problem.

Thompson, who has clearly earned his way in the entertainment industry from childhood up until now, is undoubtedly extremely talented. His quick wit and outstanding comedic timing have been his keys to success from his early days on Nickelodeon’s sketch-comedy series All That, to movies such as, Good Burger and Fat Albert, to his current accomplishment of SNL fame since he joined the cast in 2003.

Thompson’s talent and funny ability were the reasons that piqued my interest in seeing him star in his own self-titled comedy series. But, on the first viewing I will honestly say that pulling a laugh from me was like trying to squeeze blood from a damn turnip. No laugh, no chuckle, no giggle, no titter. No nothing.

Although the show probably tested well to even be picked up by NBC in the first place, it was pretty lackluster on the comedy front. I’m sorry. The jokes just weren’t hittin’ like I’d expected.

The show opens in the early morning hours with Kenan jumping out of bed with his two young daughters, scrambling around the house, juggling to get them ready for school, while trying to get himself ready for work. While Kenan was organizing the girls’ backpacks in the living room, Rick (Don Johnson) abruptly enters, startling Kenan to let out a yelp-like screech, while holding an upside-down saxophone, saying that he thought that Kenan was an intruder in his own home. Kenan turns to Rick, looks down at the instrument and asks Rick what he planned on doing with that. Rick’s come back was that he was going to hit the guy over the head and tell him, “sax to be you”. See what I mean, straight out of the gate, the jokes were weak.

The show continues with the same low energy comedy with mediocre storytelling and lack of chemistry between the actors. Even Kenan’s energetic, doesn’t-know-when-to-shut-up single brother Gary (Redd) doesn’t make the show any funnier. Gary just comes off as annoying and all over the place with no real purpose on the show. Then, we get to see Kenan at work as an Atlanta morning TV show host on “Wake Up with Kenan“,  and there’s nothing exciting nor entertaining to see on that front either. It’s comes off as dry and forced. Kenan ends up getting in trouble with the network after making some politically incorrect statements on-air statements while trying to tell a birthing story about his late wife. Check out the clip below:

While I felt that the introduction of “Kenan” could have benefitted from better writing and comedic timing, I’m still not down for the count. I’m going to give it another chance on the upcoming episodes, with high hopes that it will improve over time.

Have you watched “Kenan” on NBC?  If so, what did you think?

What do you think?

Written by LaToya Anitri


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