Kel Mitchell at the Nickelodeon Kids' Choice Sports 2019 - Arrivals

Mayim Bialik Gets Real With Kel Mitchell About 'Life Lessons' On Breakdown

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By Kristin Myers on November 2, 2021 at 4:12 PM EDT

Mayim Bialik may be running for the new host of "Jeopardy!" but the star of the Fox sitcom "Call Me Kat" also has a podcast called "Bialik's Breakdown."

In today's episode, Bialik interviewed actor and comedian Kel Mitchell. Mitchell, now 43, got his start on the Nickelodeon show "Kenan and Kel" which ran from 1996-2000.

Describing himself as "the kid who did cartwheels on the way to the garbage can" in school, he revealed that he turned to acting for focus because he had "too much energy" in the classroom and would often interrupt class to perform impersonations of his teachers.

He started out on "All That" when he first started working with Kenan Thompson. They formed a fast friendship behind the scenes which eventually led to the development of their own show.

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Bialik Called Their Show 'Bold'

Bialik dubbed the show "significant and important in terms of visibility" because there weren't many shows that focused on Black families at that time.

Mitchell admitted that his parents were more cognizant of that than he was, but he admitted that he was "very much aware" of his status as a role model. He admitted that kids are still coming up to him even today saying how much the show inspired them to be able to see "two African-American boys...having fun on TV."

Bialik, who was also a child star after appearing in "Blossom," spoke with Mitchell about how he handled the fame being so young.

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Mitchell admitted to struggling to figure out if people liked him for his character or if people liked him for who he was as a person. "There were times when I didn't know who I could trust," he confessed, "  "...and that gave me a lot of anxiety."

Although he says he was "grateful" to leave Chicago for LA, he admitted that there was "a lot of anxiety" to find a good sense of self.

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Bialik Dubs Kel 'A Very Sensitive Person'

Mitchell latched onto "his faith in God" in order to help him through the "ups and downs in life." The grandson of a pastor, Mitchell found that religion has helped him throughout his life, but at one pivotal moment in particular.

He explained that, in 2006, he had friends that had been murdered in Chicago when he was in LA, his uncle had been murdered, his marriage was falling apart, and he got to a point where he wanted to "push the off button."

While was filming a movie in Vancouver, he didn't want to let people know he was struggling, and he "literally had a breakdown."

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While he was smoking on a balcony, he had an urge to jump. Before he did, he said he heard a voice telling him to go into the bathroom for the rest of the night. When he woke up on the bathroom floor the next morning, he decided to turn his life around.

Although he hadn't been doing hard drugs, he had been drinking and smoking marijuana. He told Bialik that he didn't get clean right then, but he started "the steps" to make that happen.

"There's no mistakes in life, just lessons," he said.

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Fan Reactions

Fans were overwhelmed by the honesty in Bialik and Mitchell’s exchange.

‘Celebrities are people too.’ That is the exact reason I am obsessed & thankful for this Podcast,” one fan wrote. “It’s because of this I realized I was suffering from severe anxiety & depression & now I understand that I’m more ‘normal’ than I thought. Thank you to all that are involved in making this Podcast happen.”

“I absolutely loved the episode,” another fan commented. “I can’t put into words how this touched me, this has moved me more than I thought this morning.”

“Wow, I really enjoyed this episode,” another wrote. “I admire Kel. Especially how he did not hold back on his faith, beliefs, and convictions.”

In Bialik’s last episode, she interviewed author David Poses about the intersection of addiction and mental health.

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