|Thirty Helens agree: The Kids in the Hall is a funny show. (Mr. Tyzik, the bitter Head Crusher, however, may not agree.) The no-holds-barred sketch comedy is also strange, silly, profane--occasionally even profound. The five Canadian writer-comedians behind it, Dave Foley (NewsRadio), Bruce McCulloch (Superstar), Kevin McDonald (That ''70s Show), Mark McKinney (Saturday Night Live), and Scott Thompson (The Larry Sanders Show), formed the troupe in the early 1980s. Naturally, they weren't really kids, but boyish-looking men in their twenties and thirties. SNL's Lorne Michaels produced the series, which lasted for five seasons, and aired on HBO, Comedy Central, and Canada's CBC. It garnered three Emmy nominations and was followed by the theatrical cult classic The Kids in the Hall: Brain Candy (1996) and several tours.
The Toronto-based team took more inspiration from the absurdity of Monty Python--and the craziness inherent in everyday life--than the topical humor of SNL (on which celebrities, politicians, and pop culture are frequent targets). Each 30-minute installment features short, punchy skits (some filmed in advance, some before a live audience), men in drag, and no special guest hosts or stars (musical or otherwise). During their small-screen rein, the Kids took aim at everything from mainstream comedy and corporate culture to sexism, bigotry, and pretension. Many of their best-loved characters first appeared during the 20 episodes produced between 1989-1990. They include the 30 Helens (30 Helens standing in a field agreeing about something or other), Tyzik (McKinney), rockin' Bobby (McCulloch), bickering Fran and Gordon (Thompson and McCulloch), chatty Cathy and Kathie (McCulloch and Thompson), the "Nobody Likes Us" guys (Foley and MacDonald), and the acerbic Buddy Cole (Thompson).
Canadian underground heroes Shadowy Men on a Shadowy Planet provided the icing on their spicy little cake with their wistful surf-rock theme "Having an Average Weekend." --Kathleen C. Fennessy