Wizard World Comic Con 2011: Julie Benz Sounds Off About 'Dexter,' Billy Dee Williams Jams and Scott Thompson Forays Into Comics
Last weekend was Wizard World Comic Con's sophomore effort in Toronto, and there was a definite increase in attendance this time around (compared to last year). Though attendees were sparse on Friday evening, by Saturday the turnout was much more respectable, thanks to high profile guests like 'Dexter' and 'No Ordinary Family's Julie Benz, 'Kids in the Hall's Scott Thompson and Lando Calrissian himself -- Billy Dee Williams.
After all, where else could you hear Williams get his "William Shatner on" as he recited spoken-word poetry to a smooth jazz accompaniment in an exclusive live performance? Or hear Julie Benz reveal that 'Desperate Housewives' co-star Dana Delany was the best kisser she's worked with, topping David Boreanaz, Michael C. Hall and Michael Chiklis? Or maybe you would have liked to shout 'Penis!' in order to get an autographed photo of Scott Thompson. Or you could watch Chewbacca and Boba Fett argue over which ship is faster -- Slave I or The Millennium Falcon. (For the record, the Falcon won out.)
All that and more happened at Wizard World this year and luckily for you, we were there to report back all the geek-tastic highlights.
But no need to fret: the 'Kids' are back. And what's more, the 'Kids' are all right! (Sorry, we were sort of contractually obligated to make that joke.)
The trailer is very promising that we'll get some good ol' fashioned classic KITH, the way Mom used to make it. So far, it's only scheduled for air in Canada next month and even though I'm a big KITH fan, I'm not willing to endure a minute of Canadian winter to watch it. So they better get their collective asses to the U.S. in a hurry.
Canada's favourite cross-dressers are back for a new eight-part mini-series set to air on the CBC this winter. 'Kids in the Hall: Death Comes to Town' is a comic murder mystery based in the fictional small town of Shuckton, Ontario. All five Kids – Scott Thompson, Dave Foley, Kevin McDonald, Mark McKinney and Bruce McCulloch – play multiple characters, including, yes, the ladyfolk. McCulloch came up with the concept and took on the role of lead producer.
We caught up with Scott, Dave and almost Kevin (who dashed off for a bathroom break before the interview and never returned) and had a very random conversation about everything from the new mini-series to Kevin's toes to Agatha Christie.
Death Comes to Town is to be an eight-part comedy where the Kids (Scott Thompson, Dave Foley, Mark McKinney, Bruce McCulloch and Kevin McDonald) will each play multiple roles, possibly including some of the characters made famous on The Kids in the Hall sketch comedy show. I'm hoping the murderer kills people by crushing their heads.
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?
The news that The Kids in the Hall are working on a new Canadian TV miniseries should make comedy nerds everywhere happy. I know I'm excited, even though it might be a while until it airs in the U.S. (I'm kicking myself for not moving to Canada like I said I would after the 2004 presidential election.)
Mr. Dave Foley told the Canadian Press that all the original Kids (Foley, Bruce McCullough, Mark McKinney, Scott Thompson and Kevin McDonald) are writing an eight-ep miniseries for the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, the home of their original sketch comedy show. It sounds like their recent reunion tour went pretty well. The five-member troupe will star in the series, which Foley says won't be a sketch comedy, but will involve a number of comic characters.
It certainly won't be the only factor, but the choices made for just who makes up the celebrity panel will go a long way in deciding the fate of this latest incarnation of the classic show. With that in mind, here is the celebrity panel from the recently taped pilot: Sarah Silverman, Norm MacDonald, Bob Einstein (Super Dave!), Scott Thompson (Kids In The Hall), Rashida Jones (The Office), and Niecy Nash (Reno 911). Andrew Daly (Crossballs) is the host.
How does that lineup grab ya? To me, it's not bad. The Reuters article asks if Sarah Silverman is the new Brett Somers or Norm MacDonald is the new Richard Dawson. In a word, no. You just can't fight that kind of nostalgia. So many of us have seen the classic episodes so many times, and have such fond memories of them, that I don't think there is anything they could possibly do to begin to live up to the original.
When I wrapped up my interview with Bruce McCulloch -- executive producer of ABC's Carpoolers and a member of the legendary comedy troupe Kids In The Hall -- I asked him if there was anything else he might be working on. "Yeah, I'm going to have a heart attack next March, and I wanted people to know about that," he joked. For a guy who has worn a lot of hats in his career, nothing has kept him busier than being the boss.
Carpoolers, a single-camera comedy premiering on ABC tonight at 8:30 PM ET, is about four guys who use their carpool to explore what's going on in each other's lives. The show is McCulloch's brainchild, which means he's involved with everything from the writing to how many donuts will be on the craft services table. Yet he still has time to write and perform his own surreal works, as well as perform occasionally with the Kids, who have been together for almost a quarter-century.
I got a chance to speak to McCulloch last week, and we talked about what it's like to premiere after the season's most lambasted new show (Cavemen), what parts of himself he sees in each of his main characters, what it's like to work with Fred Goss and Jerry O'Connell (who spoke to our friends at AOL last week), and why the Kids have managed to stay together for so long. Highlights are after the jump, as well as an audio embed of the interview (35 minutes).
Man, how I miss this show.
Someone who attended the Kids in the Hall reunion performance at the Just for Laughs festival posted the encore on YouTube, and I've placed it below for your viewing pleasure. Some of the dialogue is difficult to make out, but fans shouldn't have any trouble figuring out what's going on. Mark McKinney reprises his role as the "headcrusher" guy, that wormy fella who loved to vanquish those he disliked by closing one eye and pretending to crush their heads between his thumb and forefinger. In the segment below, he kills off the other cast members (Scott Thompson, Bruce McCullough, Dave Foley and Kevin McDonald) for their poor career choices post- Kids in the Hall. In a final bit of inspired meta comedy, McKinney turns his wrath on himself.
But the price is right, around $14. The set will be released on August 29.
Buddy brought the funny as a few-minutes-long sketch on Kids in the Hall, but will he be enough to create an entire series? Well, I guess he's more material to work with than that "I'm crushing your head!" guy (who I still, to this day, imitate at random intervals).
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