In 1989, five guys from Canada â€“ Dave Foley (“NewsRadio”), Bruce McCulloch, Kevin McDonald, Mark McKinney and Scott Thompson â€“ smashed theÂ airwaves with their untraditional way of thinking in “The Kids in the Hall.” A sketch-comedy series based on taking normal, everyday situations that rendered them into somethingÂ creativelyÂ funny, â€œThe Kids in the Hallâ€ pushed the envelope as much as they could along the way to sketch comedy superstardom.
The first season proved to be a great introduction to them because it provided a wide range of topics for them to spoof, including businessmen, secretaries, mundane conversations, religionÂ and the everyday concerns we all share.
The pilot episode introduced us to one of the best recurring characters, “The Head Crusher.” McKinney is delightful as the man that sits in a lawn chair, crushing the heads of passerby from a distance withÂ two of his fingers.
The troupe was diverse in the areas that allowed it to excel. Foley and McDonald were a great duo with a lot of chemistry together, working perfectly for them when they played best friends in a sketch. Their comedy was a throwback to old-school humor with a modern twist. Aside from that, Foley had a flair forÂ solo monologues, and McDonald was perfect at the slow comedic burn.
McCulloch and McKinney counterbalanced them by providing sharp, biting humor, spawned from more recent parodies of society.Â Not only that, but they often took high-risk sketches and created many recurring characters. Their separate styles of humorÂ occasionally resulted in some strange results, but the bulk of them were hysterical.
Thompson seemed to be the member with the most acting experience and that allowed him to play a wide range of characters. The most notable character is most-likely Buddy, who was a stereotypically gay bar owner. His monologues were often centered on the taboos of perversity. Funny and diverse, he seemed to appear in the most sketches.
The highlights from their combined chemistry allowed the show to pick up sketch comedy right where Monty Python left off. In the first official episode, McCulloch apologizes for having caused cancer and the ball starts rolling from there. “Sarcastic Guy” is a sketch in which a man naturally speaks with a sarcastic intonation, which makes himÂ very lonely at parties. “Citizen Kane” is a simple movie discussion that gets out of hand.Â “A–hole” takes the premise of what it is like to meet someone that is just a total jerk, that is followed immediately by a catchy little tune called “The Daves I Know.” “Running Faggot” is another catchy tune that’s pretty self-explanatory. “Joymakers” shows the hazards of trying to throw aÂ surprise party for businessmen.Â “A Place to Die” is the simple tale of a man who wants to die in the house in which he was born. The only problem is that he no longer lives there.
The highlights keep coming, with recurring and nameless characters that nobody likes. Another memorable skit is about a mass murder explaining why his job sucks. Another is based on a weird series of routines. There’s even a skit featuring an angry, drunken Buddy Holly on the night he died. The series then ends with Dr. Seuss’ Bible, which a proactive and hysterical spoof of the Bible.
Not all of the sketches are golden moments though, and with the exception of the head crusher, none of the recurring characters hit their high marks. Some of Buddy’s monologues are long-winded, and the Cathies were never that funny to begin with. It is expected that with each half-hour episode, one or two miss their marks.
The great, the bold and a small of amount of the stupid round out the first and extremely impressive season from one of the most irreverent comedy troupes. “The Kids in the Hall”Â are great to study for anyone interested in the world of sketch comedy, because they got it right.