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The Kids in the Hall

The Kids in the Hall is a Canadian sketch comedy group formed in 1984, consisting of comedians Dave Foley, Kevin McDonald, Bruce McCulloch, Mark McKinney and Scott Thompson. Their eponymously titled television show ran from 1988 to 1994 on CBC in Canada, and 1989 to 1995 on CBS and HBO in the United States. The theme song for the show was the instrumental "Having an Average Weekend" by the Canadian band Shadowy Men on a Shadowy Planet. The troupe made one movie, Brain Candy, which was released in 1996.

The name of the group came from Sid Caesar, who, if a joke didn't go over, or played worse than expected, would attribute it to "the kids in the hall," referring to a group of young writers hanging around the studio.

History

Before the troupe formed, Bruce McCulloch and Mark McKinney were working together doing Theatresports in Calgary, performing in a group named, "The Oddience" (Norm Hiscock, Gary Campbell, and Frank Van Keeken were also members and later became writers on the show). At the same time, Dave Foley and Kevin McDonald were performing around Toronto (along with Luciano Casimiri) as The Kids in the Hall (KITH). In 1984, the two pairs met in Toronto, and began performing regularly as KITH, with a rotating band of members, including Paul Bellini for a short time. When Scott Thompson was invited to join in January of 1985, the group had its final form. Also in 1985, Bruce McCulloch and Dave Foley appeared in the Anne of Green Gables series, as Diana Barry's husband and a former classmate of Anne's from Queen's College.

Not long afterwards, the Kids broke up for a short time when scouts for Saturday Night Live invited Mark and Bruce to New York to become writers for that show, Dave Foley made a poorly received movie debut with High Stakes and Scott and Kevin worked with the Second City touring group. They were reunited in 1986. After SNL's Lorne Michaels saw them perform as a troupe, plans began for a TV show. In 1987 Michaels sent them to New York to what was essentially a "Comedy Boot Camp", and in 1988 their show began airing on CBC Television. It was subsequently picked up on HBO in the United States in 1989.

Television show

Despite their SNL connection, the show's sketches were more reminiscent of Monty Python's Flying Circus—often quirky or surreal (and occasionally almost nonsensical), frequently utilizing drag, with very few celebrity impressions or pop culture parodies; the only recurring celebrity impression was of Queen Elizabeth II, played by Scott Thompson. A recurring character was a man, played by McKinney, who pretended to crush people's heads from a distance with his fingers. McKinney also played Chicken Lady, a (rather nightmarish) half-lady, half-chicken who spoke in a shrill voice, moved in chicken steps, and was easily sexually excited. Several sketches featured a flying pig, played by McCulloch, who amused bored people in long lines. Another sketch dealt with the musings of two aliens conducting anal probes on humans, wondering "What's the point of it all? Why does the great leader have us do this?" and reflecting that perhaps the great leader was a "twisted ass freak". Many of the sketches featured gay characters and themes; most of these sketches starred, and were written by, Scott Thompson (who is openly gay). The show was also notable for reflecting and dealing with the youth subculture of its times, and for incisive sketches about big business and family units.

The Kids frequently appeared on the show in their real life personas rather than as characters, and many sketches dealt directly with the fact that they were a comedy troupe producing a TV show (somewhat reminiscent of The Monkees television show). An example is one episode in which Kevin McDonald announced that if the next sketch (which he has written) is not successful, the others are considering kicking him out of the group. In another episode, Scott declares that he isn't gay anymore, which throws the other Kids into a panic, as they fear that the news will alienate the troupe's considerable gay fanbase.

Monologues were a staple of the show. Though Scott Thompson's Buddy Cole monologues are the best known, the other Kids performed many memorable solo pieces as well. Prominent examples include Dave Foley describing his positive attitude toward menstruation, McCulloch satirizing American cultural values with a mock-ironic speech praising the American lifestyle, Foley stating of how horrible a doctor he is, McCulloch addressing the person who stole the front wheel off of his bike (and later in the episode, the people who watched the thief take the wheel off of his bike), McCulloch recounting the night he and his dog -- whom he'd previously felt "nothing" for -- "connected," and in a gag reminiscent of Bob Newhart, a distraught McDonald calling a best friend's young son to tell him his father died tragically, only to have the child end up consoling him, even going so far as quoting famous philosophers on the ultimate emptiness of life.

The show originated from Canada, and the content was at times edited slightly for American tastes in one respect: sketches mocking religion were sometimes cut down or removed, necessitating the adding of material from other episodes to round out the half-hour. Some US channels censored the occasional nudity as well. The most controversial sketch was probably the final sketch of Season 1, "Dr. Seuss Bible", in which the story of Jesus Christ's crucifixion was told in the style of children's author Dr. Seuss.

Though the show occasionally featured guest actors (notably Neve Campbell and Nicole DeBoer, both of whom appeared well before becoming famous), the Kids played the majority of parts, both male and female, themselves. In contrast to Monty Python (where the members often donned drag to portray older women, but usually utilized women such as Carol Cleveland and Connie Booth to play female characters who were young and attractive), all the Kids regularly played both old and young women; the frequent cross-dressing would become one of the show's trademarks. This began during their stage show, because they found themselves writing female characters but had no female member to play them. As Scott Thompson explained, "The way we played women...we weren't winking at the audience...We were never, like, going, 'Oh, look at me! I'm a guy in a dress!' Never. We would always try to be real, and that, I think, freaked people out..."

End of the show and beyond

The final episode featured the show providing resolutions for several of its recurring characters, including Armada, Buddy Cole, and the secretaries of AT & Love. As the closing credits play, the cast is shown being buried alive, their tombstone inscription reading, The Kids in the Hall TV Show 1989-1995 (though the pilot aired in 1988). At the episode's conclusion, Paul Bellini, one of the show's writers, dances on their grave while uttering the last line of the series, "Thank God that's finally over! (Although Bellini appeared in many sketches, this was only the second time he ever spoke, and the first time he spoke while "in character" as Paul Bellini.)

After the show ended its run, the troupe came together to produce a movie, Brain Candy, featuring a few characters from the show and many new ones. Although not a commercial success, the movie developed a cult following with their devoted fans.2000 North American Tour

In 2000, the troupe reformed for a successful North American tour, reprising many sketches from the show. The sketch line-up for the 2000 show was:
# AT & Love Reunion
# Mr. Heavyfoot Finds His Seat
# Buddy Cole – The Year 2000
# Cops!
# Daddy's Dyin'
# Head Crusher / Face Pincher
# Jesus 2000!
# Sir Simon Milligan & Hecubus in: The Pit of Ultimate Darkness ---
# Gavin: Painting a chair
# Comfortable
# Sandwich People
# Chicken Lady's Date
# Power of the Suburbs
# Bloody, Salty Ham
# Brian Monologue on having a party when Fran and Gordon go on Vacation
# Love Me
# Fran: Brian's Bombshell
# Jesus Christ Superstar
# Encore: To Reg

At some shows:
# Running Faggot
# The Poker Game

The tour was chronicled in a documentary, "Kids in the Hall: Same Guys, New Dresses," which followed the next year. This was then followed by the "Tour of Duty" and a DVD based on those performances, released in 2002."Just for Laughs" ("Juste Pour Rire") Comedy Festival

In July 2007, the troupe reunited to perform at the 25th Annual "Just for Laughs" ("Juste Pour Rire") Comedy Festival in Montreal, Quebec, Canada.

The Just For Laughs show premiered around 90 minutes of new material. While certain characters made reappearances (Buddy Cole, Mr. Tyzik and McKinney & McCulloch's "smooth-talking" salesmen) the rest of the show revolved around entirely new situations. Typically good humored, the group poked numerous jokes at their own recent weight gain and the middling state of their post-Kids acting careers (the show finished with the Mr. Tyzik, McKinney, mocking the mannerisms and careers of each member of the troupe, after which he promptly crushed their heads).

Sketches included (but were not limited to):
# The Kids planning a new show. For the opening they decide to rape Kevin to the theme from "Footloose."
# Bruce and Mark as salesmen promoting a device which can siphon fat from the American gut and use it to power SUVs.
# "Carfuckers": a group of mechanics who share a "love for which there is no name." Carfuckers was produced by an internet studio called "60Frames Entertainment.
#Gavin encounters Jehovah's witnesses. (One of two sketches recreated from the television show.)
# Dave and Kevin get drunk; Dave tells Kevin he has created a time machine with which he can "defeat last call."
#:Note: the "time machine" concept was used two other times during the show, to great comedic effect - the second featured Dave traveling back in time to receive oral sex from his wife (Bruce) (she would only perform the act on his birthday), and the third revolved around Dave traveling back in time to kill Hitler (Scott), but instead accidentally inspiring his hatred for Jews
# A Couple (Dave and Kevin) discover their friends (Scott and Bruce) have spawned a very hateful baby.
# Bruce and Mark as exceptionally literate rat catchers looking for a used futon.
# A Buddy Cole monologue in which he proposes that Jesus of Nazareth was in fact a homosexual.
# Kathy (Bruce) and Cathy (Scott) (the AT&Love Secretaries) Reunite for lunch in a restaurant, where Kathy extols the virtues of "tweeking" with Meth.
# Dave Foley being approached by a "fan" (Scott) while waiting for the subway.
# A Bruce McCulloch monologue about how skinny Nicole Ritchie is.
# Kevin performing a song in the three-chord structure which he has not finished writing as of the show
# Dave and Kevin fighting over an imaginary girlfriend.
# The Chicken Lady has Phone sex. (One of two sketches recreated from the television show.)
# Relationship woes amongst a gay couple (Dave and Scott) are placated with the help of another married same-sex couple known as Peter and the Professor (Kevin and Mark).
# Superdrunk: a superhero who stops crimes by drinking (played by Bruce), assisted by his trust sidekick, the bartender (Dave).
# Mr. Tyzik, the headcrusher, crushing the other four Kids' heads (as stated above).

The group also performed on January 26-27, 2008 at the SF Sketchfest On the 26th there was a retrospective and Q&A with the group. The group performed on the 27th.

On April 4, 2008, The Kids in the Hall embarked on their first major national tour in six years. The tour will run through early June 2008 and will include more than 30 markets in the US and Canada. The tour features some material from the 2007 "Just for Laughs" performance along with new material.

The 2008 tour closely mirrors the "Just for Laughs" performance, excluding the rat catchers, subway fan and Nicole Ritchie sketches. In their stead, Mark McKinney performs the monologue entitled "The Modern Hero" from Season 1 of the show, and a sketch is included featuring the entire cast in "This Is How I Danced In Tenth Grade."

It was recently announced on Telefilm Canada that there will be a new Kids in the Hall movie, entitled Death Comes to Town.

Recurring sketches and characters

30 Helens Agree
30 Helens Agree was a recurring sketch featuring 30 women supposedly named Helen who would all agree on something ridiculous or arbitrary. For example, "Thirty Helens agree: If you have a good idea, you should write it down." One time they disagreed, but later agreed to disagree. At one point, only 29 Helens agreed that promptness was important (the thirtieth Helen was running late). The Helens appeared frequently throughout the first season, but did not appear in any subsequent seasons. According to Bruce McCulloch (in the Oral History segment of the Season 1 DVD set), 30 Helens Agree was his idea.The Axe Murderer
A character played by Dave Foley who approaches people for favours after he has obviously committed a brutal and grisly homicide with the axe he's carrying. Covered in blood, he makes polite small talk with people he runs into, casually admitting he is, in fact, an axe murderer. Before leaving, he amiably asks whoever he talks to not to tell anyone or "Chop chop!", accompanied by a chopping motion with his axe.Bauer
Bauer (played by Thompson) is a young stoner (presumably in his late teens or early twenties) who, in spite of his frequent pot use, is very well-spoken and insightful. In one popular sketch, he reveals to a friend (played by McDonald) that he's been having an affair with his married mother (Foley), which of course is very unsettling to McDonald. Bauer waxes poetic about the mother's beauty, then stands up, announcing he's got a woody. In another surreal filmed sketch, Bauer searches for some pot, leading him to some very strange places. Bauer first appeared on the show as the best friend of McCulloch's character Bobby Terrance (see below), but later became a recurring character in his own right.Bobby Terrance
Bobby (played by Bruce McCulloch) is a rebellious teenager whose love of rock-and-roll serves as the basis for most of his sketches. Bobby views rock as an expression of personal freedom, and always fights back when he feels like he is being denied that freedom. He is frequently in conflict with his parents, played by Mark McKinney (father) and Dave Foley (mother). He has also taken on a sarcastic jazz-loving teacher (Foley), and once even faced off against the devil himself (McKinney) in a guitar-playing contest. A pre-Star Trek Nicole de Boer appeared in three sketches as Bobby's girlfriend Laura.Buddy Cole
Cabbage Head
Cabbage Head (played by Bruce McCulloch) is a character whose most distinguishing characteristic is that instead of hair, he has cabbage leaves on his head. He also always smokes cigars and wears a red smoking jacket à la Hugh Hefner. He holds very sexist viewpoints, and spends most of his time trying to pick up women for sex, using his cabbage head in an attempt to garner sympathy and, hopefully, sex ("Hey - I'm the KING of the mercy fuck!" he declares in his first appearance). In one episode, he is shot in the head at a bar by an anti-sexism crusader (also played by McCulloch) and has a near-death experience; in this experience he sees God, who said he created Cabbage Head in his image, at which point God is revealed to have a cabbage for a head himself. Later we see Cabbage Head on a Christian talk show talking about his miraculous survival, although he continues to hold sexist viewpoints, as evidenced by his promotion of a "sacred wet T-shirt contest - er, I mean, baptism" he was conducting. Whenever anyone objects to his odd behavior, he always insists he is being persecuted for his cabbage head. "Why won't you let me forget that I have a CABBAGE FOR A HEAD?!?"
Cathy and Kathie
Bruce McCulloch and Scott Thompson played Kathie and Cathy respectively, two secretaries at the firm of A.T. & Love (KITH's catch-all business, and a play on AT&T). These sketches parodied the banality of office life, from guessing the sexuality of the new guy to dealing with an ex-stripper temp named Tanya (played by McKinney), whom the pair would talk about to each other in undertone, "Temp. Slut. Temp slut." Occasionally, sketches also included Kevin McDonald as another coworker and Dave Foley as their supervisor Elizabeth. In the middle of the third season, Tanya finished her term of employment and left the office amidst mock tearfulness from her coworkers; however, she reappeared in the fifth season, once again working at the firm as a temp. Though the women are coworkers with Danny Husk, another recurring character (see below), none of the women are shown interacting with Husk in a sketch at any point in the series. The final sketch of the series was about Cathy, Kathie, as they prepared to leave their jobs after A.T. & Love was sold.

The character of Kathie appeared independently of Cathy in the first season, where it was revealed that she once dated Mississippi Gary (See Below.) A picture of him was on her cubicle wall in all subsequent appearances.The Chicken Lady
Mark McKinney played a half-human half-chicken who is completely oblivious to how freakish and terrifying people find her. In one episode, she flashes back to a moment from her adolescence when she is stuck in her room as the other kids have a party; one kid (who is expecting a sexual encounter) is thrown inside her room as a prank. In another sketch, she visits a strip club with her companion the Bearded Lady (played by Kevin McDonald), and loses her cool when a dancer known as Rooster Boy (Scott Thompson) takes the stage. Most Chicken Lady sketches revolve around her extremely strong sexual desires; her catchphrase is "Gotta get laid", and she is frequently seen having wild orgasms which are punctuated with an explosion of feathers.Danny Husk
A businessman, played by Scott Thompson, who was featured in a number of sketches. He is an executive at A.T. & Love, a company that also makes many appearances in unrelated sketches. In one sketch it is discovered that Danny used to be a porn star. In another, his armpit odor becomes a best selling product. In a third, he wakes up one morning and reads the newspaper, which states he has been kidnapped. In yet another, Danny is summoned to the office of his boss, who needs to be consoled upon discovering "brown stuff" oozing from his mouth. Husk is successful in his consolation when he tells his boss that there is "no need to see a doctor" since the substance is odorless, and therefore, not "poo-based." In many of his appearances, Husk serves as a straight man to the wacky antics of one of the others. In one sketch which takes place in a sauna, Husk is asked to comment on a pair of breasts a male colleague (played by Foley) seems to have suddenly developed. In another, Kevin McDonald plays a businessman on the verge of insanity who keeps putting salt in his eyes while Husk delivers a seminar in the background. Dave Foley had a recurring role as Husk's boss. Danny Husk ended up appearing in approximately a dozen sketches through seasons 1, 3, 4 and 5. Additionally, a variation of Husk, named Wally Terzinsky, appeared in the Kids' 1996 movie Brain Candy. Darcy Pennell
A lifestyle talk show host played by McDonald. Her guests include a French-speaking fashion designer named Christian Renoir and recurring character Francesca Fiori (Played by Thompson). Darcy has trouble pronouncing the names of her guests, such as saying "Christ-aan Ren-aah" when announcing her guest Christian Renoir. The audience is also practically empty. The theme song to the talk show goes "Darcy, Darcy, Darcy Pennell, she makes your life a lot less hell. Darcy!".Darill
A man (played by McKinney) named Darill (pronounced da-RILL), who never quite understood what was going on, but always tried to hold an air of sophistication around himself. Darill's strange mix of sunny good will, idiocy and pretense seemed to annoy everyone he met, although he was rarely aware of it. Famous Darill sketches involved him hosting a painting show on television, trying to wait tables in a busy patio restaurant, and joining the Big Brother program and mentoring an unreceptive boy. In the Feelyat sketch, Darill is a guest on a surreal, foreign-language game show and we learn that he is fluent in the (unspecified, although likely Dutch, as the show includes a wooden shoe "choir" and a news bulletin about the flooding of the Rhine is featured) language and excels at identifying objects by their feel alone. The background for Darill's strange behavior is explained somewhat in one sketch, in which we see a flashback of Darill as a child in Belgium, and the strange rapport he enjoys with his mother (whom he still lives with, much to the confusion of the date he has brought back to his apartment). One sketch also reveals that the only thing he ever daydreams about is a tiny oom-pah band playing on a windowsill. These daydreams inevitably lead to splitting headaches afterwards, leading Darill to a new daydream: that he is dying from a huge brain tumor. After the end of the Kids in the Hall television show, Darill appeared on Saturday Night Live when Mark McKinney became a cast member.Francesca Fiore and Bruno Puntz Jones
Francesca Fiore and Bruno Puntz Jones (played by Scott Thompson and Dave Foley, respectively) are a pair of fast-living, glamorous movie stars. Though they originally hail from South America, their films have a decidedly European flavor. Francesca Fiore is fiery and passionate, and tends to be very overdramatic and expressive in her actions. Bruno Puntz Jones (who always wears a white suit and a Panama hat) is very cool and reserved, but inwardly seems to share Francesca's spirit. Bruno occasionally likes to play Russian Roulette alone, a practice he refers to dismissively as "my little game." He is also prone to shooting people with little or no warning, usually when he feels Francesca is being threatened. The two always play lovers in their films together; they seem to be romantically involved in real life as well, though the exact relationship between them is not made clear. In one sketch, Bruno claims he and Francesca have been married since he was 12 and she was 26, which would also indicate Francesca is several years older than Bruno. According to the crew, Foley's character was originally named Bruno Puntz, but when the writers decided to change his last name to Jones, they wrote the word "Jones" in without deleting "Puntz," thereby accidentally creating the full name of the character.Gavin
Gavin (played by Bruce McCulloch) is a precocious boy whose chief personality trait is his tendency to ramble on incessantly about bizarre events that may or may not have actually occurred. Most Gavin sketches featured him confusing or annoying strangers with his bizarre wonderings; he once observed that he could eat an entire Bible, but it would take him "several days of munching and snacking." One sketch, however, saw Gavin falling in love with his babysitter (played by Kevin McDonald) because she actually understood him. Gavin has a tense relationship with his parents, once saying to his deadbeat father (played by McDonald), "You know who'd make a better dad than you? A bowl of dirt. Or a cat. Or anything. Anything at all." Gavin's mom was originally played by Mark McKinney, but her character was killed off and replaced with Scott Thompson as Gavin's stepmom. Gavin's look is very distinctive; he wears large, oversized glasses and is almost always seen sporting a baseball cap (which usually has either the Toronto Blue Jays or The Legend Of Zelda logo on it) and backpack.Gordon and Fran
Gordon and Fran (played by Bruce McCulloch and Scott Thompson, respectively) are a middle-aged couple. Gordon is very crotchety, and is usually seen complaining in any sketch he appears in. His wife Fran is well-meaning and slightly batty, but has a tendency to nag sometimes. The most famous Gordon and Fran sketch is probably "Salty Ham", in which Gordon blames his trouble going to sleep on the salty ham Fran served at dinner. The couple have a teenage son, Brian, who occasionally appears in sketches as well. Brian (played by Dave Foley) is sarcastic and somewhat rebellious, and is always eager to take advantage of his parents' generosity. Mark McKinney appeared in the sketch "Stinky Pink" as Fran's sister Barbara, who is referenced verbally in several other Gordon and Fran sketches. Kevin McDonald played Barbara's son, Sean.Headcrusher
He's Hip, He's Cool, He's 45
"He's Hip, He's Cool, He's 45" contained Bruce McCulloch playing a 45 year old man who would do odd things to "keep his cool" despite his somewhat uncool age. In one sketch he interviews a man for a job, first asking if the man wants to smoke a joint.It's a Fact!
"It's a Fact!" featured a young red-haired girl who would pop up in the forest and reveal a piece of information, then people who she mentioned would appear behind her doing something relevant to her fact. She would end by saying, "It's a fact!" and then run off. The running was filmed in stop-animated "fast-motion," reminiscent of programs on the then-exploding Nickelodeon network.

She appeared in only one sketch besides her "It's a Fact!" series. It was in the end credits of an episode where the Queen, portrayed by Scott Thompson, tried to make her jump into Lake Ontario while holding rocks by telling her that there was candy at the bottom, based on a belief that red-haired girls were witches, when the Queen was a child, as it was mentioned by the Queen in an "It's a Fact!" segment where the Queen delivers "the fact." The "It's a Fact!" girl had used "The Queen is so old she doesn't know her ABC's anymore" as a fact earlier in the episode.(Season 2, episode 11)

In one sketch, Mark McKinney dressed up as her and with great effort tried to do her job as she complained she deserved more money.The King of Empty Promises
A recurring sketch featuring a drab character named Dean (played by Kevin McDonald), who constantly promises his friend (named Lex, played by Dave Foley) items or favours to make up for his lack of follow-through on previous promises, his pledges punctuated with the phrase, "Will do." Whenever he is confronted about a promise he didn't keep, Dean's standard excuse for his behaviour is "slipped my mind."

Kevin McDonald mentions on the commentary that Dean is based on himself. He has been known to make promises that he would never follow through on, and even the Paul Simon album he mentions in the first "King" sketch was an actual promise he made to a friend that he never managed to fulfill.Mississippi Gary.
A Veteran (according to one sketch, octogenarian) Blues Man played by Mark McKinney. He first appeared in a sketch in which he talked about his failed relationship with Bruce McCulloch's "Kathy with a K" (as he called her) from the Secretary sketches and soon grew into a recurring character. Based on both his name, and his style of speech, some believe that the character is a parody of the blues guitarist Mississippi Fred McDowell. Gary, played in blackface by McKinney would always begin a long, blues-related story with the words "Now, I seem to remember a time..." in an deep Mississippi accent before launching into a harmonica solo or blues song. His songs include "The 'There is a Very Effective Heckler in My Audience' Blues" (in a sketch where Dave Foley, in the audience, points out that Gary actually has very little to complain about as he makes over $10,000 a night) and "Smokin' On the Night Train." In another Sketch, McKinney abruptly dropped character in the middle of a rasping monologue/scat session and explained that he really had no idea why he was pretending to be an eighty-year old Blues Man, but every time he heard the blues, Mississippi Gary emerged from a place deep within him. He then proceeded to injure himself doing the hambone (Juba dance).Mr. Heavyfoot (M. Piedlourde)
Dave Foley played an apparently French Canadian man who for reasons that are never explained possessed extremely heavy feet. The Heavyfoot sketches, which were short and contained no dialogue, usually dealt with the extreme difficulty his condition presented for him in everyday situations, such as putting on pants and walking around.Nobody Likes Us
Dave Foley and Kevin McDonald played two depressed men with perpetual frowns on their faces who spoke in whiny voices and always complained that people didn't like them. They would often engage in bizarre behavior, including hanging themselves in front of a banker's house (after she rejected them for a loan), eating earthworms on a bus trip (after singing the "Think I'll Go Eat Worms" song), and McDonald coughing up his own liver (and eating it) as a magic trick on a date.

Foley and McDonald have mentioned that they originally wrote the sketch on an airplane when their flight attendant was purposely ignoring them. Dave then turned to Kevin with a pouty face and said, "Nobody Likes us."The Pit of Ultimate Darkness (Simon and Hecubus)
"The Pit of Ultimate Darkness" was a sketch about a horror-themed show which tried to be scary but failed greatly at it. It featured Sir Simon Milligan, "a man possessed by many demons—polite demons that would open a door for a lady carrying too many parcels—but demons, nonetheless." Kevin McDonald played the Crowleyesque Sir Simon, while Dave Foley co-starred as Simon's manservant Hecubus, whose strong sense of mischief provided much of the sketches' humor. While superficially he appears to be Milligan's fawning lackey, even addressing Milligan as "master," he actually delights in annoying Milligan at every opportunity. For example, Hecubus once spoiled the ending of Presumed Innocent to Simon. At such times, Milligan will point at him and yell, "Evil!"

The other members of the cast would often rib Kevin McDonald and ask why he hadn't named the character in the Hecubus scene - knowing full well that the character was named Simon - as a reference to the fact that fans would generally only remember Dave Foley's part of the sketch. According to DVD commentary, McDonald was originally to play Hecubus, with Mark McKinney as Simon. However, McDonald lobbied for the role of Simon, and after winning it, insisted that Foley should play Hecubus. McKinney ended up appearing at the end of the first sketch as Satan, who would go on to become a recurring character in his own right.Police Department
Mark McKinney and Bruce McCulloch frequently appeared as a pair of OPP officers, who would often be seen standing outside their squad car. The officers would be engaged in some banal life commentary, while rarely engaging in actual police work. One such sketch featured McKinney describing a homicide and police chase in technical detail, only to have it be revealed that he is describing a movie he saw (rather than an actual homicide), and has no idea what the story is with the actual dead body the two cops are standing over. The characters originated in the full-length sketch "On the Run", in which the two cops try to pursue a group of escaped convicts without looking conspicuous. According to DVD commentary, McKinney and McCulloch, during a break in shooting that particular sketch, began to improvise several short scenes revolving around those two characters for fun; some of their improvisations were incorporated into the show, and proved to be so popular they became a fixture of the show. The cops have the distinction of being the show's most frequently used recurring characters.Prostitutes (Maudre and Jocelyn)
Scott Thompson and Dave Foley played a pair of prostitutes who would hang around street corners. Thompson's character (named Maudre) was blonde and had something of an aggressive demeanor, but with a definite soft side. Foley's character (named Jocelyn) was a brunette from Quebec who spoke in a French Canadian accent. While waiting for prospective clients, the two would discuss the various minutiae of their profession. In one sketch, the two discuss whether they would accept an offer from an extraterrestrial. In another sketch, McCulloch and McKinney's cop characters (see "Cops" above) attempt to bust them, but the cops' attempt at going undercover is very weak to say the least (McCulloch speaks to them in a stiff manner while McKinney stands in full uniform just a few feet away), and the pair see through them easily. Kevin McDonald made occasional appearances as their asthmatic pimp Rudy.Rod Torfulson's Armada featuring Herman Menderchuk
Rod Torfulson's Armada featuring Herman Menderchuk was a recurring sketch about a very bad garage band that had no hope of ever becoming real rock stars, but nevertheless took themselves very seriously and argued constantly about every aspect of the band's career, sound and look. The sketches starred Bruce McCulloch as Rod (the drummer), Mark McKinney as Herman (the bass player), and Kevin McDonald as the lead guitarist. A recurring theme of the sketches was how McDonald's character, despite writing and singing all the songs and being the only one with any real talent, was the least respected member of the group. (He is the only one whose name is not part of the group's name, and in one sketch, he is forced to begin paying the others a salary in order to avoid being kicked out of the band.) "Trampoline Girl" was just one of their many non-hits. ("She's a tramp, she's tramp, she's a trampoline girl...") In their appearance in the final episode, a "Rock and Roll Angel" (portrayed by Black Crowes frontman Chris Robinson) appeared from on high and showed them their wretched future ("You suck!"), but they still persisted in believing that someday they'd "make it".The Salesmen
McCulloch and McKinney played shady salesmen who would frequently give public presentations. Typically, McCulloch's character would appear in a public place giving a presentation of some sort on a product of dubious worth (such as a meat product called "Por-eef", a combo of pork and beef which tasted like cat food). In the middle of the presentation, McKinney, serving as McCulloch's shill, would emerge from the crowd and pretend to be an enthusiastic customer in complete awe of the product, even in situations that strained plausibility (such as McKinney pretending to be a sick child in a children's hospital). The scam would usually be successful, as each sketch ended with customers lining up to purchase the product and the two salesmen patting each other on the back.Sizzler Sisters
Foley and McDonald played two clearly insane people (although they always introduced themselves as "not two clearly insane people"), who wore large wigs (Foley - blonde, McDonald - brunette) and referred to themselves as Jerry and Jerry Sizzler, the Sizzler Sisters. They often referred to other people as "pricks." They were usually seen doing insane things, such as robbing a bank in order to make a deposit. In one sketch, Foley's character (whose real name is revealed to be Lister) is shown to have become sane after taking prescription medication, and that he had since married. McDonald's character (whose real name was revealed to be Jean-Pierre) came to Lister's apartment and attempted to persuade him into becoming insane again, which he accomplished by causing him stress and then withholding his medication. McDonald mentioned in an interview that he and Foley thought up the characters while running through the Kathie and Cathy beauty pageant sketch ("T.G.I.N.P.!"). Because they were bored, they started improvising that they were crazy people who escaped from an asylum; using the wigs (that they were wearing as background pageant contestants in the sketch) as their "disguises". They wrote the Sizzler & Sizzler sketch shortly thereafter.Steps
Three stereotypical gays sit on the steps of a café discussing current events - particularly those concerning the gay community. Riley (played by Dave Foley) is a feminine airhead, "Butch" (played by Scott Thompson) is a horny airhead who always talks about "hot" guys, and Smitty (played by Kevin McDonald) is an intelligent fop who is always exasperated by the other two.

The Steps sketches commemorated a long-time touchstone in Toronto's gay community - a half-block long flight of six to ten stairs running along Church Street in the north end of the city's Church Wellesley Village. Throughout the 1980s and 1990s, the steps were a classic meeting place and hangout for gay Torontonians. However, in 2003, the steps were remodeled to remove their inviting long stretches. The local businesses at the top of them - including a Second Cup coffee shop, bakery, Subway and convenience store - felt the large number of street kids hanging out there and the increasing occurrence of drug transactions and prostitution was hurting their businesses.Tammy
Tammy (played by Bruce McCulloch) is a vapid teen pop star. Her songs (which she always sings in a breathy monotone) are lyrically very bland, repetitive, and somewhat nonsensical. In her first appearance, she was introduced as the protégé of Scott Thompson's character Buddy Cole, but at the end of the sketch he realizes that Tammy no longer needs his help. Tammy is known for her vague, noncommittal replies to questions asked of her, and for being seemingly incapable of any complex thought. Her hits include "Dance", "Perhaps", and "Ain't Gonna Spread for No Roses."The Two Geralds
McCulloch and McKinney played businessmen who shared both a first name and very similar personalities. Both Geralds are friendly to people's faces and condescending behind their backs. Despite the fact that they appear to work at different companies, they are friends who frequently phone each other and hang out together. Their conversation consists mainly of bouts of humorous negotiations and mockery of their associates or other business rivals.

Other sketches

Anal-Probing Aliens
Two extra-terrestrials (played by Foley and McDonald) are on a spaceship orbiting the Earth. They have just abducted a redneck and are in the middle of inserting a probe into his anus. After a scream of pain from the victim, they erase his memory and send him back to Earth. They then proceed to have a coffee break, during which Foley's character begins pondering the point of what they do. "We travel 250,000 light years across the universe, abduct humans, probe them anally, and release them." McDonald's alien does not understand why the other is questioning the leadership of the "Great Leader." Foley's alien goes on to say that in the 50 years they've been doing this, the only thing they've learned is that "1 in 10 doesn't really seem to mind" and that he suspects their "Great Leader" may be "just some sort of twisted ass freak." Foley argues that they should at least probe political or religious leaders instead of "any idiot in a pickup truck." McDonald then suggests he should get a hobby, providing an example of his own: amateur rectal photographer. To which he offers Foley a chance to see his portfolio, when asked if he'd like to see it, Foley responds; "No, I would hate to!" McDonald retorts; "Fine screw you!" Foley responds in kind; "Well, screw you!" The sketch ends. Arms in a Tank
Workers (this is stretching the term) who are paid to keep their arms in a vat of dead fish, are shocked and appalled to find a machine replacing them. Much of the sketch's humour comes from the fact that it is not indicated why exactly one would be able to make a business out of such a seemingly unnecessary task as keeping one's arms in a vat of fish.Bike Tire Thief
Bruce McCulloch, as himself, reads an open letter to the unknown person who stole his bike's front tire. He then reads another open letter, this time to the people who watched the act take place and did nothing to stop it. The Cause of Cancer
Dave Foley, as himself, addresses the audience and informs them that the Kids have done something very unusual for a comedy troupe; while rehearsing this past week, they discovered the cause of cancer. He brings Bruce McCulloch on stage to explain more about it. With some reluctance, McCulloch finally admits, "I'm sorry I caused all that cancer." Comfortable
Two couples, after finishing a meal together, sit down to chat. One of the men (Thompson) unfastens his pants. His wife (McKinney) is slightly embarrassed, but the other couple insist that it's all right, that as old friends, they shouldn't feel embarrassed about doing anything in front of the others. Thompson proceeds to take the idea to the extreme, first flirting, and then finally engaging in intercourse with his friend's wife (McDonald) while her unconcerned husband (Foley) chats with Thompson's wife about his own impotence and his past experimentation with homosexuality. The premise is that anything is acceptable in the room. But McKinney's character confuses this with being free to be critical. So when she finally "lets loose" and admits to the other couple that she hates the lamp they once gave her as a gift, the party is ruined. The Eradicator
McCulloch plays a squash obsessed executive, who walks around wearing a black hood, and never reveals his secret identity, calling himself "The Eradicator", which he often yells in a high-pitched voice while he plays his favorite game.Hey You Millionaires!
The first sketch to appear on television, in the Rare Pilot Episode, Bruce McCulloch drinks some water and looks out the window to see three millionaires (Foley, McDonald, and Thompson) rummaging through his garbage cans out his window. He shouts, "Hey you millionaires! Get out of my garbage!" and, dropping the garbage, the three run away.Love and Sausages
One of the more surreal short films in the show, containing minimal dialogue and apparently set in a dystopian future society. It features a man (McCulloch) who works at a sausage factory and falls in love with a woman who works there kissing the boxes so they have the company's lipstick logo. Too nervous to talk to her, the man, who had stolen some sausages for his crazy, sausage-obsessed father (Thompson), leaves them on her doorstep and leaves. Knowing he can never lead a normal life while caring for his gibbering idiot father, he resigns himself to loneliness. Most likely a parody/homage to the David Lynch film "Eraserhead".
My Pen!
One sketch featured an employee (McCulloch) at a counter who loans a customer (McDonald) his ballpoint. After conducting his business, the customer absentmindedly pockets the pen and walks off. The employee sets off in a mad pursuit, all the while screaming "MY PEN!" (This nasal cry is sometimes heard in Canadian offices as a joke.) The employee chases the customer outside, in time to see him climbing into a taxi. He has horrific fantasies of the customer sticking the pen into his ear, using it to stab a bystander, and reinserting the bloody pen into his own ear. The employee chases the taxi down the street and, leaping through the air, lands on the vehicle, holding onto the passenger side door with his finger tips. After a drive around town, the taxi pulls over, the customer issues a cursory apology before returning the pen, after which the employee curls up with it in the street, and some of his co-workers come out with a comfort blanket to collect him. The sketch ends with another customer asking for the pen, only for the audience to see that the employee now wears a large, weighty helmet with a chinstrap and a chain attached at the forehead, the other end of which secures the pen. This short film, as well as many other Kids In The Hall shorts, was directed by Michael Kennedy. Reg
Five men (played by all the Kids) are sitting around a campfire in a junkyard. They are all reminiscing about a dead friend named Reg and all the good times they had with him. Throughout, they toast "to Reg." Although they start out talking about typical things such as his generosity and ice skating skills, they slowly reveal that they in fact ritualistically murdered him. The sketch is mentioned in the last episode, were children take the roles of the Kids and reenact the beginning of the sketch, with the camera zooming out to reveal the scene is being played on a TV, and McKinney notes how far the Kids have come since the show first aired "all those years ago". Running Faggot
Bruce McCulloch and Mark McKinney sing a song about a "great folk hero", "Running Faggot" (played by Scott Thompson). Running Faggot aids various people while running through the wilderness, including a boy whose puppy is hungry (Kevin McDonald) by suggesting he feed it puppy food, and a gunman surrounded by "ten thousand angry Indians on all sides" by asking if he had ever thought of "talking".These Are the Daves I Know
While singing a song, Bruce McCulloch walks around a city block, introducing the camera to his many acquaintances called 'Dave'. One of these Daves, Dave Capisano, is unfamiliar to McCulloch, who sings "I hardly know him", then looks vaguely uncomfortable for the rest of the song's lyricless measure. Trappers
Foley and McDonald play colonial era French trappers (named Jacques and Francois, respectively) who paddle a canoe through the cube farm of an office building in a modern-day city, hunting businessmen and women for their pelts (their expensive designer suits). Upon seeing a maimed businessman hobble away after chewing off his own leg to free himself from a bear trap, Foley's character instructs McDonald's character to let him go, as his strong spirit may one day make him vice-president. At night, the trappers make camp around a campfire in the office and promise each other not to over hunt this new game like they did the beaver in times past. At the end of the sketch, Foley and McDonald paddle their canoe to a local clothier owned by Thompson, and reveal their bounty, including "many fine Armani" from "yesterday's kill." They like to sing the song "Alouette" (which appropriately enough, originated with the French-Canadian fur trade). Foley and McDonald would later reprise the characters opposite Scott Thompson's Buddy Cole in the episode-length sketch "Chalet 2000".Whole Lotta Milka (aka Nervous Break[fast] Down)
Kevin McDonald plays a middle-aged man who goes insane after finding out his wife is cheating on him. In the sketch, he gets up in the morning and while sitting at the breakfast table, comments out loud to his son on random things he reads in the news paper ("Earth-quake-a... Whole lotta shaking goin' on down there..." and "What's number one in the chartsssss? Bell Biv DeVoe..."), slowly repeating the word or phrases each time ("Gonna have some... corn flakesssssss. Gonna have some... corn flakessssssss."). He then proceeds to have Corn Flakes with a "whole lotta milka", which means filling the cereal bowl with milk to the point where it overflows. After proclaiming that he is going to fix the car and that he can't fix the car without "a whole lotta milka," he then goes outside into the garden and waters the plants with the rest of the milk.

Episodes

Miscellaneous facts

  • Almost all money bills shown on the show are the now out-of-print Canadian $2 Bill. A sketch where this is very prominent is "Danny Husk Is Kidnapped".
  • As the show was produced in Toronto, there are numerous references to the city's professional sports teams, the Blue Jays and the Maple Leafs.
    • A running gag on the show involved the phrase "took me to a Leafs game" being used as a euphemism for an attempted male-on-male sexual encounter. The gag originated in a sketch in which Scott Thompson ironically played a homophobic man who took offense at another man's (McKinney) attempt to seduce him by taking him to a Maple Leafs game: "Every time I come to this city, some guy picks me up at the bus station, takes me to a Leaf game, gets me pissed, then tries to blow me. Why can't people like me for me?"
    • In the sketch "Gezbo, The Video-Selling Clown" the kids are asked if they like Roberto Alomar, then a Blue Jay.
    • In one sketch, Bruce McCulloch's recurring character of Kathy the secretary (see Cathy and Kathy above) discusses becoming a booster for the Blue Jays and their third baseman Kelly Gruber. The sketch was shot while Gruber was still a Blue Jay, but by the time it aired on television, Gruber had been traded to the California Angels. The Kids acknowledged this at the end of the sketch by showing a placard thanking Gruber for his contributions to the Blue Jays' 1992 World Series championship.
    • In one sketch, Bruce McCulloch plays a character known as the Cincinnati Kid who comes to a bar looking for the Toronto Kid. The bar patrons claim never to have heard of such a person until Mark McKinney, clad in a Blue Jays hat and a Maple Leafs jersey, steps forward and identifies himself as the Toronto Kid.
  • In another running gag, the Kids would often have characters in sketches randomly debate Shelley Long vs. Kirstie Alley on Cheers. According to DVD commentary, this was a reference to actual debates Kevin McDonald and Dave Foley would have with each other during writing sessions.
  • Kurt Cobain, lead singer of Nirvana, was a big Kids in the Hall fan and an acquaintance of Scott Thompson. Following his April 1994 death, his Seattle managers sent Thompson a picture of Cobain when he was seven years old. Thompson, as Buddy Cole, displayed this picture on his burning bar (the picture was not burned) on the final episode of Kids in the Hall, during the "Buddy's Bar Closes" sketch. All five members of The Kids In The Hall also attended Cobain's public memorial service.
  • Kevin, Dave, and Mark appeared in a music video as the "Mixed Nuts" for the rock group Odds for their song "Heterosexual Man." "Mixed Nuts" was one of the names that was suggested to the Kids before they decided on Kids in the Hall. The Odds appeared in a fourth season bumper with Kevin visibly singing the lead vocals to "Heterosexual Man." Bruce McCulloch appeared in and co-directed the video for "Make You Mad" with Lisa Mann. Scott Thompson was to appear on the video for "Kings of Orient (We Three Kings)" but was ultimately scrapped by Warner Music which in turn burned off the last Odds record on their contact with a "greatest hits" album.
  • The show included many subtle slights against the Canadian sitcom Learning the Ropes which debuted the same year as Kids in the Hall. Dave Foley has jokingly referred to the series' wrestling disposition as "The Hulk's excrement".
  • A common misconception is that Michael Ian Black appeared on the show, but he did not; he was actually on MTV's The State. Dave Foley joked about this during Black's first appearance on Celebrity Poker Showdown. This mistake is made due to the resemblance between Michael Ian Black and Bruce McCulloch
  • The ensemble gathered for a reunion on the animated TV show Lilo & Stitch: The Series in the 2003 episode "Fibber: Experiment 032." Kevin McDonald regularly voices the character of Agent Wendy Pleakley on the series, and for this particular episode, where Pleakley's family comes to visit for a supposed marriage ceremony, Scott Thompson voices Pleakley's mother, Bruce McCulloch voices his sister, Pixley, Mark McKinney voices his brother, Bertley, and Dave Foley voices the priest hired to officiate.
  • The Chicago Comedy Trio Hey you millionaires took it's name from the first sketch of the show.
  • The Kids continue to work on each other's projects. For instance, in Bruce McCulloch's new project, the ABC series Carpoolers, both Kevin McDonald and Dave Foley have small roles in single episodes, and Scott Thompson has a recurring role as the leader of a rival carpool.
  • The cartoon "Invader ZIM", which featured Kevin McDonald as the Purple Tallest, had many homages to Kids in the Hall.
  • Kevin McDonald, Bruce McCulloch, and Mark McKinney appear in the 2005 film "Unaccompanied Minors" as three security guards posted in a hallway guarding a room. In the films credits, they are listed as the "Guards in the Hall".

DVD releases

A&E Home Video has released the entire series on DVD in Region 1 for the very first time. On October 31, 2006, they released a 20-Disc box set of the complete series entitled The Kids in the Hall: Complete Series Megaset 1989-1994. The HBO special pilot is scheduled to be released on DVD on August 14th, 2007 through Medialink Entertainment, a VDI Entertainment Company, in two editions: a regular edition and a special "Headcrushing" edition. It has never been released on home video before. Medium Rare Entertainment has released a UK region 2 best of DVD September 24th 2007. Rights to Kids in the Hall are owned by Broadway Video A tour-exclusive DVD was released as a part of the 2008 Kids in the Hall "Live As We'll Ever Be!" tour. Produced in cooperation with Crackle™, the DVD features the 50 minute Kids in the hall retrospective and Q&A held on January 26th, 2008.

DVD Name Ep # Release Date
Pilot Episode (HBO Special) 1 August 14, 2007
Season 1 20 + 2 best-of episodes April 27, 2004
Season 2 20 + 2 best-of episodes November 16, 2004
Season 3 20 + 2 best-of episodes October 25, 2005
Season 4 20 + 2 best-of episodes May 30, 2006
Season 5 21 + 1 best-of episode October 31, 2006
The Complete Series 101 + 9 best-of episodes October 31, 2006
Kids in the Hall: Brain Candy
(1996)
2002
Kids in the Hall: Same Guys, New Dresses 2000
Kids in the Hall: Tour of Duty 2002
SF Sketchfest Tribute: The Kids in the Hall 2008

Recognition

On June 3, 2008, it was announced that the entire group would receive a star on Canada's Walk of Fame.

Notes

See also

External links

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