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Kenneth Ellen Parcell is a fictional character portrayed by Jack McBrayer in the NBC sitcom 30 Rock. A supporting character in the first two episodes, the show's producers see him as an example of a breakout character.

Primary character traits

Kenneth is a perpetually cheerful NBC page who carries his mother's middle name, and hails from Stone Mountain, Georgiamarker (the actual hometown of 30 Rock writer Donald Glover), where his father was a pig farmer. He exclaims as he passes out from strawberry poisoning in the episode "the Ones" that his real name is Dick Whitman. At some time during his childhood, Kenneth's family lived in a militia camp. After his father died, his mother's "friend" Ron moved in. It is heavily hinted that she had a sexual relationship with Ron, but Kenneth remains blissfully unaware of this. A graduate of Kentucky Mountain Bible College, Kenneth's favorite subject in school was science, "especially the Old Testament." He considers his best friend his mother, to whom he credits his persistent optimism, since she taught him that no matter how bad things seem, there is always someone else having a worse day, "like being stung by a bee or getting a splinter or being chained to a wall in someone's sex dungeon." At the end of one episode, it seems as though Kenneth had preserved his mother's corpse à la Psycho, but it is later shown that his mother is alive (the skeleton was a Halloween decoration, and his mother was talking to him on the phone). It is also later established in the episode "Kidney Now!" that Kenneth is the cousin of American Idol 2nd-season runner-up Clay Aiken.

Kenneth appears to be in his early- or mid-twenties (McBrayer is actually in his thirties), but it is implied throughout Season 3 that he is actually much older. He claims to have had his bird "Sonny Crockett" for over sixty years, and in a deleted scene of "Mamma Mia" it is implied that he is a veteran of World War II when he is recognized by an elderly man as one of his war buddies. Kenneth's actual birth-date would therefore be some time in the mid-1920s or earlier. When asked if he "wants to be a page forever," Kenneth darkly and nervously asks "Who says I have been alive forever?"

An awkward yet polite rube, he is always smiling, excited and happy to do his menial job, which many people do not understand. He has explained in two episodes ("Pilot" and "The Head and the Hair") that this is because he loves television so much. His love of television and his unending devotion to the NBC network are two of his most defining character traits. For example, he told Pete that he didn't want to "disgrace the peacock" in "The C Word," and, in "Corporate Crush," he was seen knitting a woolen bikini with the NBC Peacock on it for his grandmother. He has stated in "Believe in the Stars" that he only loves two things - "everybody and television." He also named his parakeet after Sonny Crockett.

Kenneth is generally well-liked at NBC, but has a determined nemesis in Head Page Donnie (Paul Scheer), who forced him to go through a humiliating series of tasks to get a new page jacket in "Rosemary's Baby" and who worked overtime to subvert Kenneth's application to work at the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing. In real life, McBrayer and Scheer are friends who have an acclaimed two-man comedy improv show together.

As seen in "Hiatus," Kenneth has a considerably less friendly and more violent cousin, Jesse Parcell, living in Needmore, Pennsylvania.

Role on the show

In initial episodes, it appeared as though Kenneth was not very familiar with some of Liz Lemon's staff, or even Liz herself. In the pilot episode, Liz refers to Kenneth only as "that NBC page." As the show progressed beyond its initial episodes, the character became more familiar with other staff of TGS with Tracy Jordan.

Kenneth is often shown creating his own ideas for rather unusual television shows and one (a game show called Gold Case) became a reality in "The Head and the Hair," though it turned out to be very ill-conceived and was promptly shut down. When he pretends to be interviewed by Conan O'Brien on the empty set of Late Night with Conan O'Brien in the episode "Tracy Does Conan," it is shown that Kenneth dreams of making "hit movies" with Zach Braff and that he is skilled at clogging to boot. In real life, McBrayer performed in numerous skits on Conan before being cast on 30 Rock. On the August 10, 2007 episode of Conan, McBrayer made a cameo appearance as Kenneth. He also appeared as Kenneth on the third episode of The Tonight Show with Conan O'Brien.

As seen in the episode "Blind Date," Kenneth is a very good poker player due to the fact no one can read his thoughts, since, according to Frank, "he doesn't have any." In a high-stakes game with Jack Donaghy, Kenneth was goaded into betting his job and lost. However, Jack gave him his page jacket back and told him that he wasn't really going to fire him, but just wanted to remind him that he could. Jack then informed Liz that "in five years we'll all either be working for him... or be dead by his hand."

Kenneth often acts as Tracy Jordan's personal assistant, even going so far as to get him nachos from Yankee Stadiummarker. He is sometimes seen trying to impress or emulate Tracy, even wearing Tracy's chains when he wins them in a card game. A running gag with him seems to be someone taking his sandwich, which both Tracy Jordan and Jack Donaghy have done.

"Up All Night" hints at the possibility of romance between Kenneth and Cerie. In "The Aftermath," they are seen dancing together on "Tracy's" yacht. Kenneth's innocence is a running joke. After insulting Jenna to get her to eat, Jenna instead starts to enthusiastically kiss him and Kenneth later tells Jack Donaghy that "I guess we have to get married now." Kenneth hosted occasional parties that no one but Liz ever attended, until a series of lies about music stars and celebrities turned one such party into such a destructive bacchanalia that Kenneth sternly reprimanded the staff for their behavior, and then said he would never host another party again.

In "Episode 209," it is revealed that Kenneth had "a 'coke' problem during his 'Wall Street days.' " This is revealed to mean that he used to work at Blockbuster Video and was addicted to Coca Cola around the time that the film Wall Street was popular on home video.

In "Episode 210," Kenneth tries coffee for the first time and is immediately hooked. When he sees himself in a mirror, he becomes depressed because he realizes he has broken a promise to his mother that New York Citymarker wouldn't change him. Kenneth leaves to return to his mother's home, but returns during the show-ending musical number, singing that he missed the Midnight Train to Georgia because the train actually left at 11:45PM and he was misinformed about the time.

In "Episode 214" Kenneth reveals during the drinking contest against the Teamsters that unknowingly he had alcohol before, what he calls "hill people milk" and, because he has been drinking it "since [he] was a baby," he has a very high tolerance, managing to keep up on his feet while the Teamsters and the writing staff become completely wasted.

In the Season 2 finale "Cooter," Kenneth is determined to be a page for NBC's coverage of the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing. Head Page Donnie tries to ruin his chances by giving him false information and setting up a phony menial task so that Kenneth will miss the application deadline, while Jenna and Pete help him finish the application and get past Donnie. Kenneth gets his application in and is shown, in the episode's last scene, sitting in a Beijing hotel room with an attractive woman. She says something in Chinese that catches him by surprise (it is shown earlier in the episode that Kenneth speaks Mandarin fluently), and then an armed man bursts into the room and Kenneth says something else in Mandarin in a shocked but resigned way, as the episode and season ends.

Religious and political views

Kenneth is very religious. Although his specific denomination isn't mentioned, it seems to be an extreme sort of Charismatic Christianity. He often doles out folksy religious advice, for example advising Pete to think of God to prevent him from cheating on his wife in "Black Tie." It is revealed in "The Fighting Irish" that his religion is called "Eighth Day Resurrected Covenant of the Holy Trinity". His church (which was in the basement of a Cuban restaurant) has a fire-and-brimstones preacher, who scared away Tracy when Kenneth brought him there. It is revealed in "The C Word" that he attended Kentucky Mountain Bible College, where he studied television theory, and where the Old Testament was a part of science class. In "Black Tie," Kenneth referred to Footloose as the movie where "those evil kids won in the end." Also, he reads the Bible in German, because it is the only way "to get all the versteckte Bedeutungen (hidden meanings)." In "Episode 210," he says he doesn't drink any hot beverages, for that's "the Devil's temperature."

In "Subway Hero", Kenneth reveals that he has no political views since "choosing is a sin." Instead, he always submits write-in votes for God. However, according to Jack, those count as Republican.

Critical response

Slate Magazine named the character as one of the reasons they were looking forward to the return of the show in fall 2007.

In 2009 McBrayer received an Emmy nomination for his work as Kenneth.


  1. '30 Rock,' Solid Enough to Rebuild a Thursday Foundation
  2. episode "Greenzo"

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