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On The Tonight Show, Kenan Thompson sends love to fellow Mighty Duck, Jussie Smollett

Kenan Thompson, Jimmy Fallon
Screenshot: The Tonight Show

Tonight Show host Jimmy Fallon spent the first minute or so of his interview with former SNL pal Kenan Thompson dispensing a backlog of congratulations. New babies, an Emmy (for the 90s R&B jam “Come Back Barack,” alongside Chance the Rapper and Chris Redd), a new animated movie, Wonder Park (he’s a beaver, alongside Ken Jeong), finally joining Instagram (two posts, 5,000 followers at air time), the Fallon-aided potential of a Good Burger 2 reunion with child star co-star Kel Mitchell (which might actually happen), and the recent reunion of the now-grown former teammates of the Mighty Ducks team/movie franchise.

“Speaking of,” interrupted Kenan, “We should send some love to Jussie Smollett,” referencing the violent, racist, gay-bashing attack that left the Empire star hospitalized on Tuesday. “’Cause he is a Mighty Duck,” said Thompson, reminding people of Smollett’s place in the kids movie hockey trilogy. Using Fallon’s “bigger platform” than Kenan’s 5,000 (now 16,000 by press time) Instagram followers to send out some love and support for the actor and LGBTQ rights activist, Kenan also urged people to send some love “to the universe, because this kind of madness needs to stop.” And, yes, to all you Ducks fanatics out there, while it is true that Smollett’s Mighty Ducks character Terry Hall never shared the ice with Kenan’s Mighty Ducks 2 and 3 character and knuckle-puck virtuoso Russ Tyler, you don’t fuck with a Duck. (As the movies’ tagline almost certainly was not.)


Circling back to a former co-star he most definitely did share many screens with, Kenan told Fallon how, as young Nickelodeon superstars, he and Mitchell were once gifted a pair of coveted Super Bowl tickets—not that they ever saw the game. Noting that he’s actually planning to attend this year’s game taking place in his home town of Atlanta, Thompson revealed that the cash-strapped young pair got dropped off at the gate in San Diego, found out the exorbitant prices people were willing to pay, got paid, and then “went to Chili’s and balled out.” So, if you were lucky enough to be at the San Diego Chili’s near the stadium on January 25, 1998, it was, as Kenan said, “chicken fingers for everyone.”

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Dennis Perkins

Contributor, The A.V. Club. Danny Peary's Cult Movies books are mostly to blame.