The Kids in the Hall

Perhaps one of the most endearing and yet, completely random sketch comedy shows to ever be broadcast, The Kids in the Hall offered generous amounts of dark humor, surrealistic scenarios, and yes, a whole lot of acting in drag. All of this combined to make it a hit that has lived on perpetually in syndication, not to mention in the hearts of its loyal followers, ever since it was first broadcast on HBO in 1988.

The Kids in the Hall were comprised of five Canadian comedic performers – David Foley, Kevin McDonald, Mark McKinney, Bruce McCullock and the openly gay, Scott Thompson. The team was discovered while performing in Toronto by Lorne Michaels, a man who knew a thing or two about sketch comedy, having previously created Saturday Night Live. Noting that they had quite the loyal local following, he first produced a well-received HBO special, which led to the series. Being that it was a little too risqué for one of the three main networks, HBO provided a perfect home for their particular brand of dark humor.

How dark was it? Well, one sketch concerned two men who wander around together commiserating on how people don’t like them. The skit ends with the men hanging themselves. Another consisted of McCulloch misplacing a hairpiece and replacing it with a dead squirrel. Then there was the man who suffered from the deformity of having a cabbage for a head, and proceeds to use said deformity as a crude pick-up line. The Chicken Lady portrayed a woman who was half-human and half-chicken., the result of a sexual encounter between a farmer and hen. And, of course, few could forget the man who liked to pretend to crush people’s skull by looking at them through the perspective of his thumb and forefinger.

Further distancing the show from the typical mainstream offerings, the cast often performed in drag – and these guys could be darn convincing. Anyone who ever saw the “Tammy” character can attest to the group’s talent in this area. Also, homosexuality was a recurring subject on the series, with many of the most popular sketches written and performed by Scott Thompson, such as his popular and memorable “Buddy Cole” monologues.

The Kids in the Hall was often compared to the king of British sketch comedy, Monty Python. The quintet made it pretty clear that they were influenced by the iconic comedy troupe and, after a successful five-year run on television, they mimicked Monty Python by bringing the show on the road and performing live around the country. They also worked to produce their lone 1996 film, The Kids in the Hall: Brain Candy. Eventually the cast went their separate ways, working in various segments of the entertainment industry. David Foley, most notably, starred in the popular NBC sitcom News Radio, which ran for five seasons. That hasn’t stopped the troupe from the occasional reunion though, much to the delight of their fans. In 2008, they returned to the road for a 30-city North American tour. Two years later, they produced an eight-part miniseries that aired in Canada and the US, called Death Comes to Town. Scott Thompson also served as a correspondent at the 2014 Winter Olympics for Comedy Central’s The Colbert Report.

Whether they will perform in the future as a group remains to be seen, but The Kids in the Hall will always be remembered for being refreshing, deliciously devious, and enormously funny. For its efforts, it accumulated a massive fan base that remains loyal to this day and the original series won’t soon be forgotten. Then again, how easy is it to forget five hilarious Canadian men dressed in women’s attire?

If you count yourself among the many loyal fans of this unforgettable show, we hope you’ll take a moment to share some of your favorite memories of The Kids in the Hall in our comments section below.

2 Responses to “The Kids in the Hall”

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  1. Gina says:

    My favorite was Bruce McCullough singing, “These are the Daves I know.”

    Kids in the Hall was like a TV version of the comic strip The Far Side. Totally random, bizarre humor. It was an acquired taste. I acquired the taste in the first and second season, censored and aired on Comedy Central. I unacquired it sometime after that. Oh, well.

  2. Jeremy says:

    This is my favorite sketch comedy show of all time. However, I agree with the previous post about it being an acquired taste due to the fact that many of my friends think I am weird for loving the show.

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