Stream It Or Skip It: ‘The Kids In The Hall’ On Amazon Prime Video, Wherein The Canadian Comedy Supergroup Exhumes Itself – Decider
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A full 27 years after their fifth season ended on CBS, the quintet of Canadians known as The Kids In The Hall have come back from their own televised burial, thanks to Amazon Prime Video ordering a sixth season of sketch comedy, eight episodes in all. A two-part documentary is coming next week, too. But first, we’re here to find out if at ages 59-62, Dave Foley, Bruce McCulloch, Kevin McDonald, Mark McKinney and Scott Thompson have still got it!
Opening Shot: A yard sale. Scott’s decked out as an aging hippie (big white-blonde wig, leather coat, white clothes and a necklace), walking among the items that he’s selling, coming upon two young women examining some of his artifacts.
The Gist: Ankle weights? People used to run with them. A Walkman? “This looks fun,” one of the women says. “It is,” Scott replies. The Kids In The Hall: Brain Candy on VHS? “This looks fun.” “Oh, it isn’t.”
Young woman: “Are these the same hilarious Kids in the Hall from the early 90s?”
Scott: “No! These are the rage-filled Kids in the Hall from the mid 90s.”
But she buys the video, anyhow, and the $1 sale (Loonie coin, because, oh Canada!) means the 1996 movie finally broke even, which broke the curse. Wait, what curse? Cut to Mark as Satan in Hell, punishing a man who’s texting. Cut to Mark doing a Lorne Michaels impersonation in a board room full of women, asking how gender parity can be profitable for me. Actually, that Lorne impersonator is Don Roritor, one of Mark’s characters from Brain Candy. And he’s rejoined by his assistant, Marv (Dave), as they’re stunned by this development.
“Who’s financing this time? The Devil again?” Marv asks.
“Well, sorta. Amazon.” Don retorts.
Just when you think it can’t get more meta, we cut to the “Man in Towel” (Paul Bellini), who walks out to the tombstone where they buried The Kids alive in the series “finale” back in 1995, and digs them up.
The credits roll, with the same theme song played by Shadowy Men on a Shadowy Planet, followed by a handful of sketches, one of which features two recurring characters from the initial 1990s run, one of which features gratuitous male nudity, one of which features a gratuitous celebrity cameo.
What Shows Will It Remind You Of?: Amazingly and unsurprisingly, it’ll remind you a lot of the first five seasons of The Kids In The Hall from way back in the early 1990s. Lorne Michaels still gets his name in the title credits as “Lorne Michaels Presents…” but KITH has never been confused for SNL. SCTV, maybe. Monty Python, definitely.
Our Take: They manage to rekindle some of everyone’s favorite recurring characters more than a quarter-century later. In the first episode, we see “Cathy and Kathie,” two of the employees at AT&Love, grappling with the new office policy that removes the final fax machine from the workplace. (In the other episodes, you’ll see and hear more from Buddy Cole, Danny Husk, The Head Crusher, Gavin, and The Eradicator, plus plenty of references to past sketches and hijinks.)
They poke fun at their age with a sketch picturing them as strippers in “Sixty and On The Pole,” as well as a sketch that has nothing to do with nudity, and yet, somehow, shows us two of The Kids in their birthday suits.
The only thing that doesn’t quite work, and easily stands out as unnecessary, is a recurring segment profiling a “Friend” of KITH, which in the first episode, spotlights Friend #511, Donavan from Manitoba (Pete Davidson). There’s one of these interstitials in each episode, each one a Friend in character, each one a famous comedian or celebrity in their own right, but none of them add to the episode. And anyhow, if you’re already clicking on KITH, you don’t need a celebrity endorsement, in or out of character.
Sex and Skin: FULL FRONTAL MALE NUDITY from Kevin and Dave in a premise where they’ve just robbed a store, and hope to evade police by no longer fitting the description of the clothed suspects.
Parting Shot: We return to Don and Marv at Roritor Pharmaceuticals.
Don: “We’re 97 minutes into a 22-minute episode….nice pacing, there, Marv. What’s the big idea for a hit character this season?”
Marv: “Well, Don. It’s us.”
And so Don celebrates by dancing over the closing credits.
Sleeper Star: Sorry, Pete Davidson fans. Although Pistol Pete makes a cameo in the first episode, it’s not much more than that. So the honors once again go to “Man in Towel” Paul Bellini. Bellini, a longtime writing partner of Scott Thompson, somehow still manages to steal scenes without saying a word, or dropping his towel.
Our Call: STREAM IT. The Kids have deftly handled the minefield which, these days, has proven to be maintaining a sense of humor into your 50s. Unlike some of their (and my) contemporaries in comedy, they haven’t lost touch with what works for them and with audiences as they’ve hit middle age. Maybe they truly are KIDS.
Sean L. McCarthy works the comedy beat for his own digital newspaper, The Comic’s Comic; before that, for actual newspapers. Based in NYC but will travel anywhere for the scoop: Ice cream or news. He also tweets @thecomicscomic and podcasts half-hour episodes with comedians revealing origin stories: The Comic’s Comic Presents Last Things First.
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May 15, 2022 at 09:04AM