There Are Only Three Kenneths

But which is your favorite?

Left: Mike Coppola/Getty, Center: Mike Marsland/Getty, Right: Bobby Bank/Getty
No Kens Allowed

Every famous white person is named either Chris or Jennifer. This lends to a party game that is fun to play exactly once: Who is your favorite Chris and/or Jennifer? (Or, for those with more elevated taste, who is your favorite Jason?) For me, it’s Pine and Aniston, respectively, but that is not what we’re here to discuss. I have convened you all to this post to ask a much more important question, and also to make a demand.

The question is: Who is your favorite Kenneth? There are only three, despite what you might have heard. There is Kenneth Branagh, the Oscar-winning freak whose upcoming portrayal of Boris Johnson inspired this question. There is Kenneth Lonergan, another Oscar winner and also a very talented playwright. And there is Kenneth Parcell, a fictional character from the television show 30 Rock played by the delightful Jack McBrayer.

When I told my colleagues that there were only three Kenneths, they fought back. “What about Kenneth Cole?” That’s a name made up by DSW to sell leather goods. “Kenny Chesney?” Shut up! He doesn’t go by Kenneth, now does he? “Kenneth Starr?” I was born in 1995 so I don’t know who that is, does he have an Oscar? In any case, I don’t care. There are only three. That is my final word.

But which one is the best? There are cases to be made for and against each Kenneth being your favorite, which I will break down for you now.

Kenneth Branagh

David Livingston/Getty Images Entertainment/Getty Images

Pros: The British writer-director-actor is very talented when he wants to be, as evidenced by his work on films like Much Ado About Nothing, Henry V, and Hamlet. As you can tell from that list, his best work has been Shakespeare adaptations, and it has all been downhill ever since he stopped doing them. But at least he has been keeping it tight (sorry). The man looks great, which is a big plus for him.

Cons: He is addicted to making Hercule Poirot movies. Someone needs to stop him. Presumably Emma Thompson could have been the voice of reason in his life, but he cheated on her with Helena Bonham Carter and lost the world’s most perfect woman. Also, Belfast was kind of boring.

Kenneth Lonergan


Pros: Margaret is probably the best movie of the last decade. That should be enough, but he also wrote both Analyze This and Analyze That, which is pretty cool. He’s married to Gerri from Succession, making them one of New York’s most interesting couples (now that Mike Nichols is dead and no longer married to Diane Sawyer). Additionally, Chris Evans grew out that porn stache to be in Lobby Hero, a Lonergan play. We have to thank him for that. And isn’t it funny that Chris Evans has done Broadway? I digress…

Cons: There really are none here — he’s a very solid pick for favorite Kenneth. I guess the Gangs of New York script isn’t that good, but we all have our off days.

Kenneth Parcell

Pros: He’s funny :)

Cons: He’s not real :(

So now that you are armed with all this valuable information, you can make a decision as to who your favorite Kenneth is. Personally, I would go Lonergan, but I don’t want to sway your vote.

And as for the previously mentioned demand, here it is: We need a new Kenneth. No one is naming their baby Kenneth anymore. According to the Social Security Association, it was the No. 94 male baby name in 2000, and in 2021 it was No. 258. I want more Kenneths! Two of them are old and one of them is fake. We, as a society, require a new, sexy Kenneth. So if you’re pregnant and feel that your unborn child could be famous, reconsider naming him Liam or Elijah — we have enough of those. Choose Kenneth.