- Aloof Big Brother: Towards Kyra.
- Big "WHY?!": His Catch-Phrase, naturally.
- Brilliant, but Lazy: He's very smart and uses his intelligence for his schemes, but is often disobedient and lazy.
- Butt-Monkey: Not to his father's extent, but often whenever he fails his schemes it'll end up being this. He also suffers through Kel's Flanderization in later seasons ("Fenced In", "The Raffle", and "Clothes Encounters")
- Catch-Phrase: "WHHYY?!" and "Mind your business!"
- Deadpan Snarker
- Fatal Flaw: His tendency to live right in the moment as opposed to thinking about the future is often why several of his plans go awry
- Foolish Sibling, Responsible Sibling: The Foolish to Kyra's Responsible.
- Get Rich Quick Scheme: His fondness of these drives the main plot of the show.
- High School Hustler as the theme tune says, you gotta watch Kenan, because Kenan be scheming! They usually backfire in the end, unless his scheme benefits others more than him.
- Jerk with a Heart of Gold: He's impulsive, lazy, and disobedient, but still cares out others around him, especially Kel.
- Only Sane Man
- Sensitive Guy and Manly Man: Manly Man to Kel's Sensitive Guy.
- Why Did It Have to Be Snakes?: He's afraid of rats.
- Annoying Younger Sibling: Is like a brother towards Kenan, but often annoys him with his careless decisions (especially in later seasons).
- Big Eater: Kel has eaten an entire Thanksgiving turkey in under a minute and ordered a hamburger, onion rings, corn, macaroni & cheese, and spaghetti & meatballs, at a Chinese restaurant
- Bilingual Bonus: Kel can speak English, French, Spanish, and Chinese (at least the Schniederverse version of Chinese)
- Break the Cutie: In "The Tainting of the Screw", "Mental Kel-Epathy", "Who Loves Orange Soda?", "Get the Kel Outta Here", and "Bye, Bye Kenan: Part 1".
- Catch-Phrase: "AWWWW, HERE IT GOES!"
- Childhood Brain Damage: Kenan once implies that Kel's lack of common sense (and otherwise intelligence) was the result of him being dropped on his head as a child.
- Cloud Cuckoolander
- The Ditz
- Dragged into Drag: A couple of times, Kenan's plans require a girl, which means Kel has to dress up as one. People can't seem to see through the disguise, either (even when he pretended to be pregnant!).
- Only Chris seems to noticed.
- Fragile Flower: He often cries whenever things go wrong for him (In "The Tainting of the Screw" note "The Lottery" note , and "The Raffle" note ).
- G-Rated Drug: Kel's addiction to Orange Soda. There's even an episode dedicated to everyone trying to break his addiction, and he suffers from obvious withdrawals.
- Genius Ditz: Kel scored a 98 (out of 100, on this show) on the IQ Test.
- Innocently Insensitive: Especially in seasons 3 and 4, where he's completely thoughtless to causing everyone's problems, but never insults anyone on purpose.
- In Touch with His Feminine Side: Sometimes. He joins Sheryl and her friends at their "book club" (though not the way he interpreted it), and he even wears a princess suit at a Comic-Con (as "Patty the Power Pixie").
- I Warned You: He always tells Kenan his plans won't work, but Kenan never listens and doesn't want to hear of it even when his plans do fail.
- Keet: He is very energetic and neurotic. Though the latter is often shown in earlier seasons. He even gets super excited over Crazy Betty's theme song.
- Kiddie Kid: He's 14-18 years old throughout the series, but often acts like he's a 6 year old on sugar high.
- Kindhearted Simpleton: Kel means well, despite his destructive stupidity/clumsiness.
- Large Ham: He dropped the screw in the tuna.
- Lethally Stupid: His careless decision often injure Roger (especially in "Get the Kel Outta Here").
- The Millstone: Many of Kenan's schemes fail due to him.
- Sarcasm-Blind: Often takes Kenan's sarcasms seriously.
- Sensitive Guy and Manly Man: Sensitive Guy to Kenan's Manly Man.
- Too Dumb to Live: Particularly in later seasons.
- Took a Level in Dumbass: Turns from just a clumsy teen who lacks common sense to turning into literal sitcom version of Patrick Star in seasons 3 and 4.
- Trademark Favorite Drink: "Who loves orange soda? Kel loves orange soda! Is it truuuue? Mmmmmmhmmmm. I do I do I do I do-oo!"
"I enjoy ham."
- It is implied in "The Tainting of the Screw" that his favorite food is ham.
- His female persona from "The Honeymoon's Over", Kelly, loves root beer.
- Butt-Monkey: Tons of examples, including the Christmas Special where he was beat up by a robotic Santa Claus while all the customers sat back and watched not even knowing it's a robotic dummy.
- Character Tics: His eye twitches whenever there's trouble. Though it was only shown in the pilot episode.
- Cloud Cuckoolander: Is very eccentric and has constant dreams about stuff like animals and even being afraid of sandwiches and bunny rabbits.
- Momma's Boy
- On the other hand, there's literally no proof his mother actually exists beyond things Chris says. Kenan himself states that he's never met her and Chris's house contains no photos of her, despite them living together. Almost like a lampshade, Chris's fish is called "Norman" ala a certain famous serial killer who also imagined his mother's continued life..
- There was one episode with some proof: he puts Kenan in charge of the store because he has to take his mother to get her feet scraped. He later shows up with the bag of "foot dust."
- Noodle Incident: He has a boatload of them, all involving his mother.Kenan: Lumberjack school?
- Terrified of Germs: Shown in "The Cold War" when Kel has a cold, though justified as he runs a grocery store and that's where Kel was.
- Token White: Ever notice he's the only white guy in the show?
- The only white main character at least. There are plenty of white extras and minor characters on the show.
- Why Did It Have to Be Snakes?: He's afraid of rabbits (big ones) and sandwiches. Though he no longer fears the latter.
- Bald Black Leader Guy: Of the Rockmore family, anyway.
- Butt-Monkey: Second only to Chris.
- The Chew Toy: Poor Roger can never get a break.
- Expy: Has similar traits with George Wilson and Squidward Tentacles.
- Iron Buttmonkey: And HOW!! This guy has been tumbled down the stairs, hit in traffic, smashed by a rock, shoved out of a window, and even suffering a concussion while jumping out of the window to chase Kel in all one day, and somehow this guy is still alive.
- Jerkass Has a Point: His animosity towards Kel is extremely understandable since he often injures him.
- Jerk with a Heart of Gold: He is far from an Abusive Parent, but is just very impatient with Kenan, and especially Kel. He does try to be protective towards Kenan (especially in The Movie).
- Kick the Dog: Roger telling Kel "he was never his friend."
- Laser-Guided Karma: He taunts Kel along with Kenan for not being able to drink orange soda for a week, and Kel (though accidentally) throws a filled orange soda bottle at his head.
- When he refuses to let Kyra have a turn finished "his" sugar cube whitehouse (though it's Kyra's project), Kel imitates a move from an action movie, and accidentally destroys "his" sugar house.
- Scary Black Man: To Kel, anyway.
- Sitcom Arch-Nemesis: Kel is his.
- Why Did It Have to Be Snakes?: He's afraid of ladybugs.
- Noodle Incident: When she was in college during The '70s, she once streaked in public.
- Only Sane Woman
- Reasonable Authority Figure
- Annoying Younger Sibling
- Berserk Button: When some other girl takes an interest in Kel.
- Bratty Half-Pint
- Clingy Jealous Girl
- Demoted to Extra: She is absent during the entirety of season 3, and only made a few appearances in season 4.
- Foolish Sibling, Responsible Sibling: The Responsible to Kenan's Foolish.
- Precocious Crush: She has one on Kel.
- Stalker with a Crush
- Academic Alpha Bitch
- Expy: Mindy in the later show Drake & Josh.
- Nerds Love Tough Schoolwork
- Recurring Extra
- Straw Feminist: She once gave a presentation on a book titled, Women, Better Than Men. It was 45 minutes long.