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Review: Comedy legends Kids in the Hall bring the funny in reunion tour Special

By David Silverberg     Apr 26, 2015 in Entertainment
Toronto - When comedians embark on a reunion tour, nostalgia mainly fuels audience intrigue and ticket sales. But Canadian sketch legends The Kids in the Hall not only brought back beloved characters but also proved their comedy writing is as sharp as ever.
Get ready, North America. You're about to get your heads crushed.
If you can recognize that as a Kids in the Hall reference, you should be front row when this five-comedian troupe comes to your hometown, because they likely will be soon. The Kids (Dave Foley, Kevin McDonald, Bruce McCulloch, Mark McKinney, and Scott Thompson) are on a tour sending them from Toronto (where this reporter caught their Saturday show) to Denver in the next six weeks.
With a breakout hit show on Canada's CBC in 1988, the Kids in the Hall surged across Canadian pop culture, their catchphrases leaking into the U.S. and the U.K. When you hear the words "Chicken Lady" there's only one actor you associate with an erotically deranged female chicken - McKinney.
Kiddin Around
The big question for middle-aged sketch troupe shows is, do they have it? That it giving them cult-status cred. That humour so sharp it cuts you quick and you bleed laughter all over the place.
In short, the Kids are still alright. At their Toronto show in the Danforth Music Hall, the Kids brought back their classics, like the aforementioned Head Crusher, and the suburban couple plagued by an over-salted ham. McCulloch had us rolling in the seats as his Gavin character made an appearance in a 3-minuter, and suddenly it was the 90s again.
But it wasn't just old-skit karaoke; we were treated to some new sketches, like Dave Foley's perfect County Doctor, taking his sweeeet time to see a dying patient.
Strong writing came through in a new sketch about swinging, and the ending in a sketch about parenting was especially punchy.
And let's hand it to Scott Thompson for deftly flipping from a ravenous heterosexual husband in one sketch, to his flamboyantly gay monologuist Buddy Cole. Thompson was also the actor who broke character the least. Poor Kevin McDonald. He was losing it in the way you want SNL actors to crack up. A few smirks out of place, maybe a forgotten line. It was fun, and had the audience laughing with him.
It'll be interesting to see if the Kids tweak the show for American audiences during their U.S. tour dates. They do pepper many Canadian references in the show, from Sudbury Saturday nights to Moses Znaimer. It would be odd to see the Kids feel like they had to Americanize their humour, since their Canuck approach to sketch writing works is part of what makes them unique.
Seeing shows like these resemble peeking into a time capsule. Ah, so this is how Kids in the Hall could deftly play female characters like they were tapping into Monty Python at their prime. Oh, now THAT is a Death Comes to Town joke only their hardcore fans would get, a nod to the loyal. No matter your level of dedication to the Kids past or present, though, you won't regret seeing some of the sharpest most surreal sketch comedy around.
More about kids in the hall, Canada, Comedy, Laughter, Sketch
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