SpongeBob SquarePants left Bikini Bottom for the Big Apple this weekend for his first New York Comic Con (NYCC) panel.

Nickelodeon is celebrating 20 years of SpongeBob SquarePants with the Best Year Ever, featuring multiple product collaborations, new episodes airing every Saturday, and lots more. And while fans learned fun facts, looked back on 20 years of the series, and were treated to a table read of a fan-favorite episode to truly celebrate SpongeBob Appreciation Day, the panel name had a double meaning: The cast announced a new, upcoming, half-hour special of the same name.

The panel featured voice actors Tom Kenny (SpongeBob), Bill Fagerbakke (Patrick), Clancy Brown (Mr. Krabs), and Carolyn Lawrence (Sandy), along with co-executive producers Vincent Waller and Marc Ceccarelli.

Scroll down for more deets about the special and other exciting things we learned about the iconic show.

1. SpongeBob Appreciation Day: Patchy’s Beach Bash! will air next year.

The special will celebrate SpongeBob’s No. 1 fan, me Patchy the Pirate. In the episode, SpongeBob’s biggest fans wash up on the island above Bikini Bottom to celebrate SpongeBob Appreciation Day. Hosted by Patchy the Pirate (Kenny), this beach bash features appearances by pop star Meghan Trainor, cult movie star Jon Heder, and actor Rob Riggle and counts down some of the greatest fan-voted SpongeBob moments.

2. SpongeBob episodes are even funnier in person.

The cast performed a table read of season-one episode “Suds” with the original storyboard art displayed behind them. The audience exploded with laughter multiple times throughout the read!

3. The cast loves SpongeBob memes.

The cast and producers use SpongeBob memes just as much as everyone else. Mocking SpongeBob, Sleeping Squidward, Evil Patrick, Blurred Mr. Krabs, and Coffee SpongeBob are some of their favorites — and I bet you know exactly which images each of these are.

“For me, it’s just so exciting that people take these images of these characters and make something new out of it. It’s kind of like dumpster diving found art. I just think that it’s cool that they repurpose this stuff for something totally different than what it was intended for, and it’s really funny. So, thank you, meme makers!” Kenny says.

Other pop culture moments that the cast loves the most is a SpongeBob-themed NASCAR racecar and a final Jeopardy question that was based on the show.

4. There will probably never be a SpongeBob crossover.

The SpongeBob characters are meant to only interact with each other because the show’s creator Steve Hillenburg always wanted the show to happen in its own universe.

“Steve [Hillenburg] was pretty adamant that Bikini Bottom be its own planet. … Yet another instance of Hillenburg’s brilliance is that he created a character outside the show who is a huge fan of the show that can do specials and host things and go on other people’s shows,” Kenny says.

5. The “My Leg” character didn’t originally have a name.

Bask in the power of the internet: The fans named him Fred. Name a more iconic duo than Fred and his leg. … I’ll wait.

6. We may never see SpongeBob get his boating license.

Don’t have high hopes for this one! Poor Mrs. Puff.

7. The cast appreciated SpongeBob: The Musical.

The actors were not involved with the production, but they loved the musical adaptation. It was challenging for those involved to create a world in real life based on a universe that was never meant to be real — but they pulled it off.

“I thought it was a great, loving tribute to the cartoon and the people who loved the cartoon,” Fagerbakke says.

Stay tuned for more SpongeBob Squarepants news and read more about the Best Year Ever here!

Photo: the Pop Insider