Few networks ran with their niche programming better than Nickelodeon did—particularly in the 1990s. With the whole of their content aimed exclusively at teens, preteens, and kids in general, it would have been easy for the network to deliver several one-note shows that passed through the pop culturescape and were forgotten as quickly as they aired. But while the great majority of TV shows that aired on Nick in the ‘90s may be long gone, an enduring and loyal fan base has insured they won’t be forgotten anytime soon.
Several Nickelodeon shows, from Double Dare to Rocko’s Modern Life, have either returned for a brief comeback or are currently in the process of getting rebooted. Others have simply failed to leave our memories—for many of us, weekend nights were SNICK nights, where we would listen to Clarissa explain it all before we totally became more afraid of the dark than ever. Put simply, Nickelodeon in the 1990s was comfort food, pure, pre-adolescent pop culture style. Considering our affinity for pop culture comfort food, we decided to take a look at what the stars of our favorite Nick shows of the ’90s are up to these days. Here’s Where Your Favorite Nickelodeon Stars from the ‘90s Are Now.
15. Larisa Oleynik (Alex, The Secret World of Alex Mack)
Girls loved Alex because she was cool, fun, strong-minded, and, well, she could turn into a puddle or literally disappear at will. Boys loved Alex because she was, well, a cute girl who could turn into a puddle at will. Much of Alex’s universal appeal came from her portrayer, Larisa Oleynik, who owned much of the decade after closing out the ‘90s with her role as Bianca in 10 Things I Hate About You. Oleynik possesses a silly, down to Earth charm that makes her all at once likable and relatable, and she has put that likability to good use since her days as a Nick star.
In recent years, Oleynik has had recurring roles on Pretty Little Liars, Hawaii Five-O, and Mad Men, where she played Ken Cosgrove’s wife, Cynthia. After her time as Alex Mack ended, Oleynik attended Sarah Lawrence College before returning to acting. Look for her in several lower budget films later this year, including Accommodations and Wandering Off.
14. Darris Love (Ray, The Secret World of Alex Mack)
Still best known as Alex’s best bud Ray, Darris Love has certainly branched out since his Alex Mack days. Love has remained in show business, appearing in numerous television shows and music videos. While he has never landed a lead/starring role since his days as Ray, he has had guest starring roles on Buffy, Angel, It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia, Shameless, and CSI, and he showed up in videos by Janet Jackson and Monica.
Love has also showcased his talents vocally, as he lent his pipes/rapping skills to 2015’s Straight Outta Compton. While Love can’t be seen in the film, he can certainly be heard—he provided the vocals for Tupac Shakur’s raps throughout the movie. He can be seen next in the short film Q.
13. Kenan Thompson (All That, Kenan & Kel)
SNL fans know all too well what’s up with this former Nickelodeon star. Thompson made a name for himself on Nick fare like All That and its spin-off, Kenan & Kel, where he honed his comedy chops and his natural gifts for physical comedy and pantomiming. After his days as a Nick teen star were over, Thompson continued making people laugh in multiple mediums.
Thompson has worked as a voice actor in both television and commercials, but most people know him for his work on Saturday Night Live, where he has been a regular cast member since 2003, hilariously portraying everyone from Charles Barkley to Steve Harvey to Whoopi Goldberg. Thompson married model Christina Evangeline in 2011, and they have a young daughter, Georgia. Those interested in hearing more of Thompson’s voiceover work can check him out in 2018’s Amusement Park, an upcoming animated comedy costarring Mila Kunis and Jennifer Garner.
12. Kel Mitchell (All That, Kenan & Kel)
The other half of one of Nick’s best duos has also worked steadily since his SNICK days. Kel Mitchell, like his friend and former costar Kenan Thompson, has also worked in the industry as a voice actor for nearly 20 years. Mitchell was nominated for a Daytime Emmy for his vocal performance as T-Bone in Clifford the Big Red Dog, and he also auditioned for SNL around the same time Thompson did.
Mitchell reportedly tanked his audition in front of Tina Fey, while Thompson went on to become on of the show’s staple stars, but that didn’t stop Mitchell from getting steady work. During recent years, Mitchell has returned to his roots, currently starring on the Nickelodeon sitcom Game Shakers as rapper Double G. He married an actual rapper, Asia Lee, in 2012.
11. Christine Taylor (Melody, Hey Dude)
The Bar None Dude Ranch was definitely made merrier by Christine Taylor’s sunny lifeguard, Melody. Taylor, who got her start on the Nick series, later became well known for her hilariously campy portrayal of Marcia in The Brady Bunch movies, along with a memorable arc on Friends (she played Ross’s girlfriend Bonnie—y’know, the one who shaved her entire head bald at Rachel’s suggestion?).
Taylor also branched out into film, starring with then husband Ben Stiller in films like Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story and both Zoolander films. Unfortunately, this past May, she and Stiller split up in an amicable separation. Despite any happenings in her personal life, Taylor is still doing fun and quality work. She appeared in several episodes of last year’s surprise hit, Search Party, and she can currently be seen in Little Boxes, an independent film costarring Nelsan Ellis in his final film role.
10. Irene Ng (Shelby, The Mystery Files of Shelby Woo)
Irene Ng’s resume is all at once diverse, impressive, and surprising. After playing brainiac Shelby, a young woman who paved the way for female sleuths like Veronica Mars, Ng stepped away from show business to pursue other endeavors. Ng earned a BA in Economics from Harvard, and went on to work as an international banker with Merrill Lynch for seven years, traveling the globe before leaving the world of finance for yet another endeavor.
In 2009, Ng, interested in providing her children with an opportunity to attend a school where they could speak and read Mandarin Chinese fluently, founded the Mencius Mandarin Preschool. Also certified in Childcare Management by NYU, Ng currently teaches Mandarin at the school, which is located in Connecticut. Grandpa Mike would be so proud!
9. David Lascher (Ted, Hey Dude)
A virtual staple on many ‘90s TV shows, David Lascher was all over the place after his role as Hey Dude‘s Ted McGriff ended. Usually playing the sensitive boyfriend type, he had memorable parts on shows of the decade such as Blossom, Beverly Hills 90210, and, perhaps most memorably, Sabrina, the Teenage Witch, where he played the scandalous college dude Josh, who broke up über-couple Sabrina and Harvey.
Lascher hasn’t spent as much time acting in the previous decade, although he did reunite with Sabrina costar (and fellow Nick star Melissa Joan Hart—more about her later) in Melissa & Joey, on which he had a multi-episode arc as Charlie, an old chum of Joey Lawrence’s character. Lascher has also branched out creatively, writing, producing, and directing his first film in 2014, Sister, starring Veep’s Reid Scott.
8. Kirk Baily (Ug, Salute Your Shorts)
Pass the sunblock, campers! What has Ug, the zany camp counselor of Camp Anawanna been up to, you ask? Since Nick’s early ‘90s cult hit, Salute Your Shorts, ended in 1992, Ug’s portrayer, Kirk Baily, has quietly become one of the most prolific actors in the business—although he hasn’t exactly been visible.
Baily has been busy lending his vocal talents to a vast array of projects, from Frozen to Big Hero 6 to Cowboy Bebop. Coupled with his vocal work in video games like Shadow Hearts: Covenant, his list of voice acting credits is longer than the Game of Thrones cast list. Baily has also done a lot of post-production work, doing the ADR (automated dialogue replacement) work on over 40 TV shows and movies. Guess Ug’s vocal skills were just the beginning!
7. Mike Maronna (Big Pete, The Adventures of Pete and Pete)
Self-professed infinite child Mike Maronna, who played one half of Nick’s best sibling duo ever, is still having tons of adventures. After Pete and Pete ended in 1996, Maronna became widely known for his role as they hyper-energetic Stewart in the Ameritrade commercials that invaded televisions in the late ‘90s.
Maronna has acted off and on since then, appearing in smaller parts in both TV and film, but he has largely been working behind the scenes for the past 20 years. He has worked as an electrician in television and film, working on Men in Black 3, Ugly Betty, and Elementary, to name a few. Fans of Maronna and those still obsessed with The Adventures of Pete and Pete, take note: Maronna cohosts the podcast The Adventures of Danny and Mike, with his Pete costar, Danny Tamberelli. Speaking of Little Pete…
6. Danny Tamberelli (Little Pete, The Adventures of Pete and Pete)
In addition to cohosting The Adventures of Danny and Mike podcast with his costar Mike Maronna, Danny Tamberelli can be found in another creative venue: the music world. Tamberelli is the singer and bass player for his band Jounce, a punk-rock hybrid based in New York. Tamberelli and his band toured the East Coast and Midwest this past spring, and their website displays a fun little reference to Little Pete.
In addition to his musical projects, Tamberelli has also done some pretty recognizable voice work for those who are fans of Grand Theft Auto—he provided the voice for GTA V’s Jimmy De Santa. Tamberelli also founded the fabulously named sketch comedy group, Manboobs Comedy. According to their website, they perform regular gigs in NYC.
5. Amanda Bynes (All That, Figure it Out, The Amanda Show)
Since her work in the Nick trifecta of All That, Figure it Out, and The Amanda Show, Bynes has had quite an eventful stretch, to say the least. After starring in the WB’s What I Like About You, Bynes found both critical and commercial success in films like Hairspray and Easy A.
Unfortunately, over the past decade, Bynes’ personal life has been publicized more than her professional one. Bynes made headlines in 2012 and again in 2014 for getting arrested while driving under the influence. Bynes has also been dealing with mental health issues, and she took a much-publicized break from acting in 2011, and hasn’t appeared in a film since 2010’s Easy A—which she was great in. She told People magazine in June that she’d like to start acting in television again, which we’re all for—she’s someone we wouldn’t mind seeing more of in the future.
4. Josh Server (All That)
One of All That’s—and Nickelodeon’s—most recognizable faces is arguably cuter than ever. The former star of Nick’s beloved sketch comedy series caused a stir last year when he Instagrammed some shirtless pics of himself, displaying a level of hotness heretofore unbeknownst to fans of Walter the Ear Boy from All That.
Server has acted off an on over the past 20 years, taking a brief hiatus from 2008-2012. He’s stepped up his performance output in recent years, however, appearing in several episodes of the cancelled-too-soon Amazon series Good Girls Revolt, where he played Ralph. Most recently, Server finished filming two independent films and one TV series. Server is active on social media, so he’ll likely tweet more info about his increasing array of projects. Shirt optional.
3. Melissa Joan Hart (Clarissa Explains it All)
One of the most recognizable faces of the network in the ‘90s, Melissa Joan Hart’s Clarissa was a spunky, fun character Nick watchers loved largely because she dared to be her original, mismatched, quirky self. The show made Hart a star, and propelled her to two more successful television series: 1996-2003’s (yes, it really lasted that long) Sabrina the Teenage Witch, and 2010-2016’s Melissa & Joey, in which she costarred with another ‘90s teen idol, Joey Lawrence.
Hart has also starred in a few ABC Family movies, as well as other television and film appearances, and she has also delved into other business ventures. In 2009, Hart opened a candy store in California (it has since closed) and she and husband Mark launched a clothing line, King of Harts. She is still first and foremost an entertainer, however. Also a director, Hart recently directed a reboot of The Watcher in the Woods, starring Anjelica Huston.
2. Adam Busch (Noah, The Mystery Files of Shelby Woo)
Let’s get this out of the way right now. What is Adam Busch, the actor who played Shelby’s best pal Noah, best known for? Destroying true love, dammit. When The Artist Formerly Known As Noah killed Tara on Buffy, nerds everywhere had heart-a-strokes. Busch’s turn as sadistic power tripper Warren is the stuff Buffy legends are made of, and it has arguably been his most standout role since his Shelby Woo days.
Busch has worked continuously in TV and film. He was also a regular on the TBS series Men at Work, and this past year, he appeared on several episodes of the USA network’s Colony. A man of many abilities, Busch has also produced and directed two short films, while serving as editor for one.
1. Shawn Ashmore (Jake, Animorphs)
Jake “Don’t Call Me Prince” Berenson led his fellow Animorphs in their battle against the alien Yeerks on Nickelodeon in the late ‘90s, and his portrayer, Shawn Ashmore, has become one of the more recognizable faces of any Nick show since.
Ashmore has had starring roles on screens both big and small. He is best known for his role as the Iceman Bobby Drake in four of the X-Men films, but more recently, he has delved back into television again, starring in The Following with Kevin Bacon and Conviction with Hayley Atwell. Ashmore has also worked behind the camera, serving as executive producer in multiple projects, including the 2010 miniseries Bloodletting & Miraculous Cures. He can be seen next in the upcoming films Acts of Violence with Bruce Willis, and Hollow in the Land with Rachelle Lefevre.
Which of your favorite Nickelodeon stars from the ‘90s did we miss? Tell us in the comments!
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