The 1990s were a golden age for orange soda. And the drink's most famous promoter wants to bring that glory back.
Kel Mitchell is building a new orange soda brand.
"I drink more water now," he said on ThePostGame Podcast from pre-Super Bowl festivities in Houston. "I'm a little healthier. Some teas and things like that. I do still love orange soda. I'm actually working on my own orange soda cause I've given orange soda a lot of money."
Mitchell, who gained fame in the 90s for his roles on Nickelodeon's All That and Kenan & Kel, is now star of the network's Game Shakers, a sitcom in which he plays a billionaire rapper. But Mitchell is still synonymous with orange soda.
"I do stand-up and people bring sodas for me to sign at the end of it," he says. "I'm working with a brand and I want it to be a healthy soda, a non-calorie soda because I work out a lot. I want people to be healthy. No calories, no sugar. It's very different. It still tastes good. This is the mogul side of me."
During Mitchell's first run at Nickelodeon from 1994-2000, he spent his working days at Universal Orlando, a pretty good deal for a kid age 15-22 during that time. Considering Mitchell and his castmates (notably Kenan Thompson) didn't have to be on set for all hours of the day, their free time was well spent.
"We could just step outside and ride the Back to the Future ride," Mitchell remembers. "It was pretty crazy. For a kid at that age to be able to do that between scenes and at lunchtime, it was pretty cool."
"We would walk the park and skip lines. We had the Nickelodeon Studios pass, so they knew. Security knew us. 'Oh, they're the kids from All That. Go do what you want to do. Go have fun.' Kids were just so shocked seeing us walk by. They had it so slick the way they did it there. They would take celebrities and stuff around another way. We would already be there while they're getting on the ride. We're getting in on the opposite side. They would go, 'Oh, how'd he get over there, but oh, it's Kenan & Kel.'"
As for his love for Back to the Future, Mitchell says he wants to star in a reboot. Asked if it should be called Back to the Future Part IV or have a new name, Mitchell jokes it could be called "Black to the Future." He says it could be made by Tyler Perry.
Mitchell and Thompson were a big draw in Central Florida at the time, but they took a backseat to a successful NBA team.
"We were in Orlando, so we were rooting for the Orlando Magic around that time," Mitchell says. "Shaq would always come to the set. Shaq and his family."
"First, he came to All That, and he would just visit because we were the hot thing in Orlando. It was like Orlando Magic, Kenan & Kel are in Florida. I had a dance battle against Shaq before. I know his family. They were really cool. They ran Orlando."
Mitchell remembers such musical guests as Usher and Britney Spears coming through the Nickelodeon Studios before their profiles blew up. Both artists can still draw crowds, but they are not producing the same caliber of music that they were in the 90s. Meanwhile, two other celebrities who hung out with Mitchell and Thompson are still performing at the highest level of their craft.
"They came out around the same time Kenan and I were doing our show," Mitchell says of Serena and Venus Williams. "We met them at a charity event. They're just awesome.
"They were kids. They were like, 'Oh, it's Kenan & Kel'. We were like, 'Oh, there's Venus and Serena.' They were there with their dad. They had their little tennis racquets and little outfits on."
Perhaps the best insight Mitchell gave during the podcast was his advice on how to deal with slime. Being a Nickelodeon star in the 90s meant a lot of green splashes.
"Sliming kind of always goes wrong because of where it goes," Mitchell says. "On the show Figure It Out, slime would come unexpectedly. It would get in places you didn't want it to be. And it would take a long time, you need a luffa to get a lot of the slime off.
"It'll stain your clothes. I remember I had this jersey I really liked that Nickelodeon gave me and we had a slime competition thing and it got on my jersey and it never really came out how it should have. It comes off shoes really good, like leather."
Mitchell is appearing at Nickelodeon events throughout the week, even dressing as his Good Burger character, Ed, for Super Bowl Opening Night.
— Jeff Eisenband (@JeffEisenband) January 31, 2017
Mitchell talked to ThePostGame from an orange SNICK couch (Saturday Night Nickelodeon) at Super Bowl Radio Row.
Nostalgia in Houston. I interviewed @iamkelmitchell on an old school orange "SNICK" (Saturday Night @nickelodeontv) couch. We talked about him and Kenan Thompson cutting lines at @universalorlando, being an Orlando celebrity with @shaq in the 90s, meeting teenage @serenawilliams and @venuswilliams and why he should star in a reboot of "Back to the Future." @the_post_game Podcast will be up momentarily. #kelmitchell #nickelodeon #snick #kenanandkel #allthat #gameshakers #superbowl