The Canadian cult-classic comedy troupe The Kids in the Hall have returned, this time streaming in a brand new series on Amazon Prime Video. All five members of the troupe, Dave Foley, Bruce McCulloch, Kevin McDonald, Mark McKinney, Scott Thompson have reunited.
Former back in 1984, the troupe landed their big break on network Canadian television (it’s a big thing, trust us), when their one hour 1988 pilot was turned into a full series for the CBC. The sketch comedy show ran from 1989 to 1995 creating 102 episodes, entirely on the CBC in Canada, and split between HBO and CBS in the US. American viewers often saw alternative versions with more controversial sketches swapped out. All seasons and spin-offs have been produced by SNL show runner Lorne Michaels.
In their first episode back, the Kids open on jokes about their Brain Candy movie and reintroduced two characters, Don Roritor (McKinney) and his assistant Marv (Foley). Now that the film has broken-even, Roritor has the Kids dug up and returned to the airwaves. And by dug up, they are literally pulled from a grave by Paul Bellini, a series writer, who returns as one of his original Hall characters, man clad in towel. From the first episode on, there’s a good mix of jokes referencing their past, Brain Candy, their advanced ages, their home base of Toronto, returned characters and fresh new skits in their off the wall comedic style.
Like many rebooted series, a good part of the hype is the nostalgia for old-time fans. The Kids in the Hall deliver on this with familiar characters and jokes. Often compared more to Monty Python’s Flying Circus than SNL, The Kids in the Hall always had a good mix of returning characters and random one-off skits throughout its run. And characters that became house-hold names have started to return for this sixth series.
Monologues were a big part of the show, with some characters repeating throughout the series. One frequent monologue character starting all the way back in the pilot was Scott Thompason’s ‘alpha-queen’ Buddy Cole. Buddy would often deliver his monologues from a gay bar, and was frequently pen-paling with Queen Elizabeth II, another character Thompson would also perform. Fans of Buddy (and his Queen caricature) are rewarded in the second episode skit, The Last Glory Hole.
The inclusion of Roritor and Marv, and continuing the Brain Candy storyline, helps weave the sketches together in a more meta and referential universe. The sixth series also ditched the studio (and studio audience), opting for location shoots. Thankfully the sketches standalone without the audience laughter.
Each episode does contain a video skit of ‘Friends of Kids in the Hall’ with other comedians playing the role of fans of the show.
After the initial run, the Kids made the 1996 film, Brain Candy, and an 8 episode narrative mini-series, Death Comes to Town in 2010. After Brain Candy many of the cast members found success in the US. Foley on News Radio (and A Bug’s Life, Hot in Cleveland). Mark McKinney was an SNL cast member from 1995 to 1997, and recently starred as store manager Glen on Superstore.
Kevin McDonald has a string of film and tv credits in the last two decades, including That ’70s Show, and voice acting on Lilo & Stitch, and other animated series. Bruce McCulloch has stayed busy on numerous projects often behind the camera, or behind a microphone—he even directed the Tragically Hip’s music video “My Music at Work.” Mark, Kevin and Bruce reunited as the Guards in the Hall for the 2006 Paul Feig holiday classic, Unaccompanied Minors. Openly gay Scott Thompson has split his time between Toronto and LA appearing on dozens of films and shows.