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April 17, 2014

Sketch Comedy Saturday: The Kids In The Hall

by Annie Wu, posted Jul 4th 2009 6:02PM
kids_in_the_hall
As a special Sketch Comedy Saturday treat, I will forgo the lengthy, typed-out, text version of me humming the Kids In The Hall theme song and get right down to business. This is one of those shows that are now considered classic sketch comedy (and Canadian comedy), so I feel silly for even having to profile them, but I am constantly surprised by the number of people whose eyes glaze over when I ask them if they've ever heard of the Kids. So ... Have you heard of the Kids?

Kids In The Hall was kind of, sort of like a Canadian Monty Python's Flying Circus from the late-80s/early-90s. Kind of. Sort of. All right, it's not entirely accurate but that's always the way I explain it to people that aren't quite as well-versed in sketch comedy history.

The show aired from 1989-ish to 1995, featuring the same cast members the entire time: Mark McKinney, Bruce McCulloch, Scott Thompson, Kevin McDonald and Dave Foley. Their history briefly intertwines with that of Saturday Night Live, most notably in the fact that producer Lorne Michaels was the one that got them started. McKinney was even a cast member on SNL for a little while.

Thanks to a hell of a lot of make-up and costuming, the guys played every age, every gender, every mutation, every crazy possibility. One of the first things I noticed while watching them as a youngin' was how their women were actually very lady-like. I'm not just saying this because Mark McKinney made a more attractive woman than I do, but their female characters weren't screeching caricatures like Monty Python's pepper pots. If you have any doubt in your mind about the Kids' feminity, just check out Bruce McCulloch's Tammy.

There were a lot of recurring characters and occasional pop culture jabs but most of the series was just surreal people doing surreal things. Even Paul Bellini, the show writer who would inexplicably show up in a towel every once in a while, became very important to the show's extra-strange tone.

It's definitely an acquired taste and you have to love surreality with a whole lot of camp to enjoy the group. There's no denying that they're important to know if you want to call yourself a sketch comedy nerd, though. Here are some talking points to fake it it, followed by some videos to round out your education: "I'm crushing your head!" (this is to be accompanied by a pinching motion between the index finger and thumb), "Wow! Dave Foley sure looked great in a black turtleneck, didn't he?" and "I would definitely go gay for Scott Thompson. Or Buddy Cole. Mainly Scott Thompson."







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Kenny

Ha! I love kids in the hall, and they are filming there miniseries in North bay..That's basically where I live! XD
And I love the "I'm crushing you head" one...Especially when that guy breaks his fingers... Kids in the hall are great, if only I were to ever meet them.... Doubtful....]=
I'm only 13, this show ended a year before I was Born...

August 30 2009 at 4:01 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Drex

I rember how I came to love Kid in the Hall, Comedy Central in the late 90's, I wish we could have that old Comedy Central back.. In the late 90s through 2004 they would air some of the greatest SNL episodes, Kids in the Hall, UCB and other random great short lived shows like TV Funhouse, Strangers with Candy, Gary & Mike, Undergrads and others.. Now all Comedy Central seems to air is a dying Reno 911 and the consistent half season flops like Half Way Home and Krod Mandoon.. I die a little inside when I turn on Comedy Central now..

July 07 2009 at 8:34 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Unknownloser

I went to see a movie called Brain Candy that was done by Kids in the Hall. This was my only exposure to Kids in the Hall, and my last!!

July 06 2009 at 9:43 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Anita

I loved Kids in the Hall and felt they ended too son. Irrationally (or rationally), I still covertly blame Dave Foley :)

July 05 2009 at 8:15 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Jim

"I am tired. I am salty. I require silence."

July 05 2009 at 5:51 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Mike

I think you mean Kevin McDonald. Michael McDonald was on MadTV or in the Doobie Brothers, depending on how old you are.

July 05 2009 at 7:17 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to Mike's comment
Annie W.

Oh, you are correct. Slip of the keyboard.

July 05 2009 at 9:40 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Zachary

I used to confuse Mark McKinney and Michael McKean all the time.

July 04 2009 at 7:15 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
deebopalula

LOVED Kids In The Hall. "I'm Crushing Your Head" -- I do that all the time to drivers in front of me who drive too slow or fail to signal. The funniest sketch I ever remember had something to do with a flying pig. Can't remember much of it beyond laughing my head off. These guys were a great troup -- e.g., I was happy to see any one - or all of them - appear in a sketch, unlike some comedy shows where some performers' appearance elicit a groan.

July 04 2009 at 7:11 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
BillS

Best KiTH sketch ever is the bad man and the pet donkey. Probably not safe for work:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HEXEByJVaO0

July 04 2009 at 6:43 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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