Fresh Out the Box. Stop. Look & Watch. Ready Yet? Get Set. It’s All That
In 1994 two shows premiered that would go on to define a generation.
It was a tale of two coasts.
In Los Angeles one centered around six caffeinated 20-somethings trying to make it in New York.
And in Orlando the other was a cast of characters with different races and personalities.
In sketch comedy there has been one main constant, Saturday Night Live.
There were those who tried like Fridays & Saturday Night Special and those who were more successful like In Living Color and later MADtv but SNL for 40+ years has reigned supreme.
At the time there were no sketch comedy show targeted towards children, the options were staying upto watch or tape the shows.
This changed when Nickelodeon added a new show to their lineup, All That.
Created by Brian Robbins & Mike Tollin they sought out to bring laughter to audiences across America.
For a decade it ran on SNICK, Saturday Night Nickelodeon, a 2 hour block that targeted teenagers from 8 to 10 pm.
Co-creator Mike Tollin brought on Dan Schneider as a producer for the first season.
Together they starred in ABC sitcom Head of the Class, most known for Mike Tyson’s girlfriend Robin Givens leading role.
This show was unlike any other that ran, most notably while the mainstream was having a hard time embracing the rebels that decade produced All That was one of the first shows that embraced hip hop.
From the very beginning the R&B group TLC had Left Eye perform the now iconic bars for the show’s opening theme.
Like SNL there were live musical guests who performed for the live audience and the consumers at home.
It was the introduction to a whole new demographic and gave children ways to feel apart of an artist’s movement.
And had an opportunity for the artist to see those who were supporting them.
Complete with prerecorded and live sketches these actors gave it their all creating memorable lines and iconic characters many love and cherish now.
From a clumsy yet violent janitor who’s catchphrase “I’m repair man, man man” to a sensitive lactose intolerant hero, Superdude.
Fans had semi education moments learning Everyday French with Pierre Escargot & Lori Beth Denberg taught Vital Information.
In the 10 years of the show running there was one constant Josh Server, similar to SNL’s journeymen Phil Hartman or Darrell Hammond, whether he was Big Ear, Detective Dan or any other characters he performed in over 100 episodes.
This show launched many careers in front and behind the scene.
Dan Schneider ended up recognizing the talents on this show and created platforms that fully showcased their talents to it’s potential.
The actors who portrayed Lester Oaks Construction Worker & Pizza Face went on to star in Kenan & Kel and the movie spinoff of the biggest sketch of the series Good Burger.
The fiery and opinionated girl who gave advice on Ask Ashley led The Amanda Show whose actors starred in Drake & Josh.
Before co-creating the Chappelle Show Neal Brennan was a staff writer for All That.
Media icon Nick Cannon went on to cross over as a movie & music artist making his own comedy show on MTV, Wild N Out.
After the first wave of stars branched off to their own projects the new comedians who took their place have seen success in other avenues too.
While Lor Beth Denberg was on Steve Harvey Show, Gabriel Iglesias was building his skills.
Giovonnie Samuels has been featured in Freedom Writers & Suite Life of Zack & Cody.
And Denzel Whitaker joined both of his namesakes in The Great Debaters.
In 2005 the show ended after it’s illustrious run.
There have been imitators of their style, most notably Disney’s Sonny With A Chance and later So Random but there is only one All That.
As the kids of the 90s grow up into adults of the this new millennium if nostalgia hits they can pull up to the TV with their Big Ear of Corn, turn on Nickelodeon’s The Splat and laugh.
So give a “round of sound” to one of the greatest shows of television: All That.