The Five Stages of Fandom


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I love the fandoms I take part in. They’ve brought me happiness, frustrated me, helped me through bad times and made me cry all while introducing me to friends and ideas I would have never met otherwise. While Doctor Who is my family fandom; the one I will always come back to, I also have Supernatural, Firefly, South Park, Kids in the Hall, and the Walking Dead. Each of them have shown me something and helped me discover a bit more about myself.

Recently, I fell head over heels with the TV show Chuck, and like the other shows I fell hard. So hard in fact that I took a step back to look at the process, how I went from scoffing a show I knew little about (telling my partner Chris that no, I didn’t want to watch it and that it wouldn’t interest me) to watching five seasons in less than a week. As I stared, I noticed that the process for me was the same for every single show*. It also bore a similarity to the five stages of grief if I tipped my head the right way.

*Although I wrote this from a TV show point of view, you can easily replace TV show with book, movie or anime. If it exists there’s a fandom for it.

When a death occurs, it is believed a person goes through five stages: denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance. Some people will skip a step entirely, and each step may take a different amount of time for different people. With fandoms we begin with an event or a series of mini-events. Continue reading

Teamwork and Harold the Space Gerbil.


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I learned what teamwork was yesterday. I also learned that gerbils will be the only ones to survive when the aliens attack your spaceship.

The first part looks like the first line of an after school special*, doesn’t it? The second part looks like this:

Harold the Space Gerbil.

Harold the Space Gerbil. Survivor.

But I digress. I learned what teamwork was yesterday. I finally understand what people mean when they talk about sports teams and trust between players. I don’t enjoy sports and I still struggle to understand why others do. It took a theatre and a stage to understand teamwork and trust. That stage would house a scene that involved among many things, a space gerbil named Harold, played by me.

I’ve been taking public improv workshops at Rapid Fire Theatre since June this year (with August off). (I mentioned one of my improv classes in this post.) Most workshops offered end with a “workshop show” where all the classes perform in a showcase for their invited guests and each other. It’s kind of like a graduation. It’s a great, supportive atmosphere where lame jokes get big laughs and the applause and cheering is very enthusiastic. It’s a wonderful way to gently dip your toe into performing if you’ve never done it before. It’s also a prime spot to take risks with your improv and if you fail you don’t have very far to fall.

Last night was my third workshop show, and it was probably the most comfortable one so far. One of the reasons was because I was in a small class and I had more opportunity to get to know the other people in the group. My previous two shows were larger classes (between 13 and 16 people) where I felt I could easily blend into the background. If I can blend into the background I naturally do, unfortunately. In this class of six, I had worked with the other performers at least a few times and got at least a very vague idea of how they liked to play. There wasn’t the time to develop the level of trust and comfort that troupes have with each other but, there was enough time to feel like you belonged in the group and that they had your back. We were all learning together and although sometimes we didn’t recognize the cues that others needed help, we were right there to help when we saw them. In fact, on stage all that instruction from class just seemed to kick in and we suddenly didn’t need all those reminders to jump in from the back line (where other players wait) and help out when necessary during scenes.

The last scene of our part of the show was a “Scene Paint” where two players go up, get a suggestion from the audience and describe the setting and environment for the scene. We received “Spaceship or Space Station” and proceeded to describe a strange spaceship up in space, divided in half by a black line where one half is very clean and the other is dirty and covered in potato chip crumbs. The clean side was given unpacked boxes stacked against a wall, and right at the end I added an empty gerbil cage. Then, other players jump into that environment and do a scene using the objects and tone that has been “painted” for them.

The scene went really well, I think. It’s very satisfying to see players using what you gave them and watch them twist a world into something you never would have thought possible. The two astronauts after bickering about their sides of the ship were interrupted by two aliens who were intent on taking over. The scene was winding down to a close when I heard “what about the gerbil… hamster?” from the host. I was still in the back line and up until now I would have faded back and waited for someone else to take that offer. I barely do human characters well, could I even be a gerbil? Animal characters are strange and physical and while I’m strange I try not to show how awkward I am physically.

This time, however, there was trust. The teamwork element of improv finally made sense to me. I acted as gerbil-like as possible, taking off from one side of the stage to the other making a squeaky gerbil-like noise. The audience laughed. One of the players held his arms out and I ran over, (apparently this gerbil acted like a dog) he put me in the only space pod and launched it. Harold the gerbil survived. The scene ended and audience applauded.

After the show, everyone headed to a local bar for celebratory drinks and discussion. Post-show energy mixing with my favourite local beer being available, I was in a really good mood. When we were chatting, one of the level one students complimented my class (level two) and said we were really funny. He said he didn’t know how he was going to do that when he went into the class. I assured him that he would be great; he had been good on stage and he would only get better with time.

In the back of my mind, something hit me and I realized how happy I was that he had said “your class” instead of directing the compliment at me. For the first time, podcasting notwithstanding, my goal wasn’t to be funny and noticed. It wasn’t to take the spotlight, it was to help my scene partners be as funny as possible on stage. That improviser complementing the team; not me, meant so much. I think I would have felt like I failed somehow if he had pointed to me directly and said that I specifically was funny. I was funny because of how the rest of my class reacted to the gerbil offer. I only took a risk at looking like a complete idiot because I was confident my team had my back. Teamwork.

You know how sports teach kids teamwork and how to be strong and brave and confident? Improv was my sport. I learned how to not waffle and how to hold a conversation, how to take risks and actually be excited to fail.
— Emma Stone

I scribbled this post up last night and then I found that quote by Emma Stone this morning. I had so many feelings but my words now feel somehow validated. Also, I’m not sure if the Space Gerbil was actually named in the scene but I felt Harold was appropriate. Points to you if you understand the reference.

*If you are of the generation that has never had the “after school special” let me explain. It was generally a made for TV movie, often low budget, usually using teenage actors that talked about topics relevant to teens. Social issues or current events like drugs, dating, friendship and stress were explored in fictional stories that would teach a (usually) conservative value. Don’t do drugs, be nice to people, don’t pressure others into doing things they don’t want to do, etc. They aired in that strange 3-5pm time slot when parents were on their way home and teens were already off school. Degrassi and Degrassi Jr. High are great examples of TV shows that look at these situations and offer a far more realistic and entertaining product while still having the same style. -goes back to telling kids to get off her lawn-

Improv Induced Revelations: Women in Comedy


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“Name ten famous women!”

I’ve just been challenged to name ten famous women. I’m in my level 2 improv class, my class partner and I are doing an exercise that demonstrates how seven is a magical number. After seven items, recalling lists from memory gets remarkably harder. At the same time my partner is demonstrating how cheering for your partner for something as simple as a listing things helps build confidence and trust. He’s just breezed through my suggestion of ten things found in the ocean.

“Uh. Tina Fey?” I offer, suddenly everything is male. Actors as far as the eye can see.

“That’s one!”

“Jenna Coleman…”

He gives a skeptical look but counts it. I now know he’s not a Whovian.

“Amy Poehler? Is that her name, Poehler?”

He nods and cheers like I had just began an important speech for presidency. “That’s three!” He says, holding up three fingers. “Remember Kat just famous, they don’t need to be funny.”

“Carol Burnett, Rita Hayworth, Carol Lombard… um, oh! Audrey Hepburn!” He’s counting after each one, smiling and giving encouragements like “nice one” and “oh yeah, she’s awesome!”

Then I go blank. I start to notice the other people in the class are quiet; they’ve finished and are waiting for us. The instructor, always patient, gives us a few more moments before she asks if we’ve finished. “Yeah,” I reply, “Seven’s my limit.”

She asks what the topic was and my partner tells her. She reminds him that it was ten objects found in something like a cemetery, a mall etc., but it’s still a good topic for lists. She gives a small shake of her head though. It’s not directed AT me but it feels like it is. “Really? Only seven?”

She doesn’t know it but I’ve come a long way. A year ago my list of famous women would have been remarkably shorter. I only knew Tina Fey because I would stumble across her face on Saturday Night Live while trying to find the channel for MadTV. I don’t dare say that though. Instead, my response to my instructor (didn’t need a response, I realize later) is lame and I immediately regret it. “If he knew me better he wouldn’t have picked that topic,” followed by a nervous chuckle. I swear she gives me a look of pity.

This isn’t the first improv-induced revelation I’ve ever had; lately it’s been just one of many. The subject has dominated my thoughts lately. I have trouble passively enjoying something, when I get an interest in a topic my life gets filled up with whatever the topic might be. I read, listen, and watch it all the time. As comedy has always been a persistent part of my life, it seemed natural to bring improv into the fold. Improv is more approachable than stand up for me and I’ve given it a place for deep thinking and questioning.

It snuck up on me; the thought that I wanted to keep doing improv beyond the first class, maybe even aim to perform on stage. I went from just being concerned about getting on stage to worrying about the big picture. For one of the few times in my life I found myself thinking, ‘is there a point? How funny can I be? Women can’t be professionally funny, can they?’

Now I know several people who would slap me if I said that even jokingly, and here I was wondering if it was true. How could I, a woman, love comedy so much and think these things? After all, my female instructor is really funny, as is the former artistic director of the theatre. They were both on stage when I saw my first improv show and they were hilarious! Why would I think women couldn’t be funny or couldn’t be as funny as men?

Maybe, a part of me is just repeating the outdated line out of habit. That doesn’t make the line okay, but it would explain why I think it. The few (and it was only a few) female comedians I saw on the Just for Laughs showcases weren’t funny to me. I quickly developed a knee jerk reaction between women on stage and changing the channel.

Maybe it’s a matter of logistics. Let’s say you have 10 male comedians and 2 female comedians for a showcase. If the style of comedy I like is only performed by a small amount of comedians overall, it’s only logical that there would be more male comedians than female comedians that would catch my attention. There is a chance that neither of those comedians have that style. So, why only have two female comedians to begin with?

I had trouble naming ten famous women and I scramble to think of one female comedian I’ve seen on TV that mirrors what I think is funny. Funny to me is a comedian that plays with puns, tosses around words and ties your brain up in clever rope. Comedies like Are You Being Served?, Monty Python and Kids in the Hall sketches are great examples of this. I am learning through notes from my instructors that my improv style can often be a more logic-based wordy style. I have this style and I’m female, I can’t be the only one. Where are the female comedians that also have this style?

The question keeps appearing again and again, where are the female comedians? The female improvisers? I’ve asked male and female improv instructors I’ve encountered why so few women are present. They were all happy to talk about it and encouraged the discussion. Everyone had their pet theory. One theory was that there aren’t enough expert level female improvisers and when someone reaches that level it can be harder to keep them at the smaller theatres. Of the different theories people agreed on two points: women are as funny and as competent as men. A lack of female participation doesn’t start in those beginner classes, those seem to always be evenly split or with a female majority. Even in the higher-level classes there are plenty of women. On stage that isn’t the case.

Comedy is something I have never questioned until recently. I love it and because I love it I want it to get better and bigger. I want to be funny and I want to become the best improviser I can be. To become that I feel I need funny women to look up as well as the guys of my favourite comedy troupes. I intend to keep asking questions and wondering, just as I intend to keep improvising. So, here’s just one question:

Who is your favourite female comedian?

Kat in the Hall: 1×20


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Episode 20: Airdate: Tuesday May 15, 1990

The Sketches

That’s the full episode, the source I usually use didn’t have the last episode uploaded so I took matters into my own hands.

Recurring Characters

Thirty Helens!

Thirty Helens!

Nobody Likes Us Guys

Nobody Likes Us Guys

Buddy Cole

Buddy Cole

Nina Spudkneeyak


Warning: this review will have copious use of the “F-Word” so hide if that word bothers you. Or just read it anyway.

The episode starts as a good episode should, with a musical act done in bathrobes about a fat man across the road who sucks on his toes. With the scuzzy looking apartment (clean by this show’s standards) and the less than immaculate housecoats I’m guessing Mark and Kevin’s characters are slobbish jobless bachelors or perhaps older college students. How they could get anything done when they spend so much time watching the neighbours with their telescope? This makes the grime even more realistic. The sketch is over the top even before the first words are uttered, which bear the vaudeville undertones of a good double act. A double act that the Kids have mimicked and mocked before. The tune is simple but catchy and reeks of the kind of musical improv I’m learning about in my improv classes. Keep simple lines and repeat for maximum effect. I wonder how much of this is based on a couple lines that one of the guys might have come up with and then it spun off into a full length sketch. This piece also contains live material mixed in with the small piece of film material (of the fat man across the road). I know I sound like a broken record here but the show is beginning to take shape into what it will become in later seasons. The sketch ends with Mark playing with a fire extinguisher, he genuinely looks like he’s having fun and Kevin running around the table occasionally being sprayed by it.

That’s the cold open and now after the title sequence we move to a nice, clean cut home with two couples. One of the couples will be shown again and Randy and Stu played by Kevin and Bruce will become a couple played by Kevin and Dave. Mark’s character of Nina will show up many more times and has already been shown as the Joymakers lady who helps to plan parties. This time they are here to celebrate an anniversary and learn (through flashbacks) how Stu and Randy met. This sketch shows that you don’t need weird and wacky right away, you can build on a simple premise and just introduce a few wacky or slightly off-key elements. Maybe a couple really did meet at a pie-eating contest, it’s not that wacky, but meeting at a public hanging in the 90s in Canada is a bit over the top. Mark’s Gunther character reminds me of Darrill whether this is accidental or not. Mark seems to often play the “old country” characters as does Bruce. Scott also gets a good chance to stretch his legs as the low-key straight man.

Sidenote: If you watched the pilot you’ll recognize Dave’s character as the overly sensitive guy who couldn’t keep a girlfriend because of his constant crying.

The other aspect that is noteworthy is the abundance of necking (making out) in this sketch. There doesn’t seem to be any “fake” stage kissing and the Kids have mentioned in interviews that a guy kissing a guy, in drag or otherwise, didn’t bother any of them. That kind of confidence shows through here, after all its just acting, sometimes covered-in-blueberry-pie-filling acting but acting nonetheless.

The Helens are back and they are spouting true wisdom! There is definitely a time and a place to show photos of your kids, never to me and nowhere around me. Then again I say that but we all know people are polite and considerate creatures and they’ll still put up with me flashing pictures of my cat Pepsi at any given opportunity.

Maybe I should be less of a hypocrite.

Maybe I should be less of a hypocrite.

Next, Bruce delivers a monologue entitled “Bank People” on the DVDs and “Fuck the Bank” by fansites. I much prefer the latter, it highlights the rather punk rock attitude the entire thing embodies. Bruce plays a guy who works in a bank and clearly hates his job and the people he needs to deal with on a day to day basis. He mocks the guy whose signature is degrading, the people on welfare who hobble in to cash their cheques and the old women who depend on the bank’s services. Anyone who works in the service industry knows these kinds of people and knows people like Bruce’s character who work in the industry and shouldn’t. A job is a job though but working at a bank is as close to “working for the man” as you can get without actually becoming a police officer or an elected official. The whole thing is full of witty little lines (we expect that from Bruce) some musical interludes where I once again point out the lack of dance ability in the troupe, and a backdrop straight out of the 80s. I don’t remember any place having any drink, “bottomless” or not for 25 cents in the 90s.


I like how this episode seems to drift back and forth between lower class, as low as the bachelors apartment in the first sketch to the low/middle class diner to more higher-end fancier backgrounds. Ok, the sketch with the “Nobody Likes Us” guys is set in the Keg (you can see the name of the restaurant in the door behind the woman’s shoulder) but it’s higher end-ish. In the “Nobody Likes Us” Guys are trying to impress with a double date that only has one lady to two guys. That lady is played by Deborah Theaker, an amazing Canadian actress who was not only a member of Second City in Toronto but also played Bruce and Mark’s parts with the Kids in the Hall while they were off galavanting with Saturday Night Live as writers. On IMDB one of the trivia facts mentions that during her time in Second City at one point the whole cast left her onstage alone and Scott Thompson stapled the curtains shut. This sketch is almost as frightening as the Guys perform bad magic and gross out the audience with a fake liver. I can only assume the fake liver is grape jello, just the right texture to wiggle and wobble while still being edible. I’ll admit that part of the sketch does squick me out a little bit. If my memory serves, this will be the last sketch with these two guys and what a way to go out.

Speaking of out, we move onto Buddy Cole and his sketch about being Canadian. Point me in the direction of another sketch that emphasizes how amazing Canadians are. Now point directly to a gay sketch about being Canadian.

“On my resume, my agent replaced the word gay with blond, and Canadian with outdoorsy. So I replaced outdoorsy with blousy. Which makes me a blousy blond.”

I’ll come right out and say it, I may have said it already, I’m not the biggest fan of Buddy Cole. I can appreciate why it’s funny and clever and why it was important to have a character like that. This sketch embodies all the good things and puts them together in a nice 4-minute package. Canadians need to be more proud about where they’re from instead of finding ways around admitting their Canadian. I’m sure there’s a lot more Scott Thompson truth in this Buddy sketch as well, Scott admitting the lack of good films shot or portrayed by Canadians, playing the best friend role and being mistaken as an American being like being mistaken as straight. The default shouldn’t be New York if you’re an entertainer and the default shouldn’t be straight. The way he ends the sketch with a little pout at camera after blowing his nose on a Canadian flag? Perfect. It’s just a piece of material people, not a magical blanket or anything.

Speaking of magical, that describes the transformation from Kevin McDonald to Buddy Holly or The Real Buddy Holly as some have dubbed the sketch.



While the swearing may or may not be entirely accurate, the basic facts of Buddy, Ritchie (played by Bellini) and the Big Bopper dying in a plane crash are true. There is even a theory that Buddy let his monkey fly the plane at one point. This hasn’t been proven of course, but it gives the sketch another level of something that lends itself well to comedy fodder. I know of the story, I know some of his work but largely what I know about Buddy Holly I know from sketches and stories and pop culture references. I will say Kevin does a fantastic job looking the part and a line uttered in this sketch is a very often quoted line from Season 1 of Kids in the Hall. “I’m fuckin’ Buddy Holly! That’s who I am!”

Helens again with more words of wisdom: Just like the Kids in the Hall, there’s no need to pick your favourite Helen. Do we really need a favourite Kid? (Yes.)

Now, here’s where things differ. Due to censors differences, let us say, if you had watched every episode of Kids in the Hall on Comedy Network or Comedy Central you probably wouldn’t have seen the last sketch of season 1 or a few other sketches sprinkled here and there in the five years the show was on. You also would have seen a few things in a different order. That’s why I go by the DVD release, just to establish a baseline. So some people may not be aware of this sketch at all unless you own the boxset. I happened upon it watching one of the live performances that had been posted to Youtube. They recreate this sketch for the stage, with a few differences in costume and who speaks which parts. The basic premise is the same. This sketch is Dr. Seuss Bible, where they retell the story of Jesus in a Dr. Seuss rhyming kind of way. Scott plays Jesus, Dave plays the storyteller, and Mark, Bruce and Kevin fill in all the other parts. Now this sketch was considered controversial to say the least just based on the subject material. The Kids do a good job trying to tone down that controversy, after all Scott plays Jesus straight and without any silly lines. They also decided to have him play the crucifixion straight and act like the nails actually hurt. In the live tour he goes over the top with how much they hurt but in the TV version he plays it painful but low-key.

Oh noes! Religious iconography!

Oh noes! Religious iconography!

In order to have a crucifixion, however, they needed to have a Seuss-style machine to do the crucifying. The creation of the crucifixion machine was the hardest part of this entire sketch. Bruce talks about in his book “Let’s Start a Riot” but essentially the people who made props for the CBC wouldn’t make the machine. To an atheist such as myself I don’t get what the big deal is but I suppose some could construe it as blasphemy. It had to be made by an outside crew and then brought into the CBC. Bruce would later take the prop home after the first season and leave it in the home of a woman he lived with. In all, the sketch is funny, clever with some great set design and creative ideas.

That’s season one. The show would technically be cancelled after that episode and then picked up again later on for season two. Season one took thirteen months to write and film so the Kids had to take a step back and reorganize to make another season that actually fit into a season length of television. We now know what the Kids are capable of and how their ideas and concepts can be brought to life on screen with some interesting direction. Most of the Kids were beginning to understand how cameras could be used to make things funnier and how they could play things up to them. There were still fights, disagreements and misunderstandings going on with the troupe but they settled things for filming. From here, we’re onto season two and the introduction of some of the most iconic characters.

If you have suggestions, ideas, concepts, things you’d like to see on this blog or just want to say how much you love Kids in the Hall, leave a comment! Also, I’ve been debating whether to move this to another blog all its own. Opinions?


Watch on youtube? Please purchase the box set when you are able. ( [NTSC])

Kat in the Hall: 2×01


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Episode 1 - The Hard Day

Episode 1 – The Hard Day

It took the Kids in the Hall thirteen months to write and record season one. It took two months for me to starting writing season two of Kat in the Hall after finishing season one. So, what are we waiting for? Let’s get on with it!

Sorry, wrong show!

Spring (video includes the opening titles)
Trucker #2
Hard Day
Off Swingin’ aka (Bim Bam Baby)
The Doctor
Bobby and the Devil

Recurring Characters:
Nina Spudkneeyak, Bobby’s Parents, Bobby

Season two starts with a nice Scott monologue complete with edgy twist. The twist and a decent size pile of mannequins make this funny and all in 38 seconds. Spring is short and a little dark, just like the season. It’s an excellent cold open, drawing people in and giving them a taste of Kids in the Hall.

Taste of Kids in the Hall like this?


In my review of the live show, months ago, I mentioned a sketch called Comfortable and the rendition done on stage differing here and there from the filmed version. The interview after the Nerdist version actually discusses how some sketches are succeed in one medium over the other. Namely, live lends itself to shenanigans. Such as that Scott trying his best to break every table that he had Kevin on. At least once he succeeded and when I saw them in Edmonton the table did jump towards the front of the stage. The filmed version setting doesn’t achieve the same level of raunchy hilarity that the stage version obtains. The director explicitly told Kevin and Scott not to draw too much attention away from Dave and Mark. That must have been really hard to do! The comedy comes with the nonchalant way Dave’s character is reacting to Scott’s character’s having sex with his wife. This is a great example of a sketch that even today gets big laughs perhaps because of how our view of sex changed from the ’90s.

The humor isn’t just the physical comedy though, it’s also in the word play and the way the characters treat each other. We can identify (to an extent!) with the way good friends act around each other that they wouldn’t do with acquaintances. They also may make lewder or less “PC” jokes. Dave’s joke of “the Salad Years” may be misconstrued as harsh but putting aside the fact that political correctness was not where it is now, Dave’s character was the guy in the coma! The glee when it says it is cute! Moral of this sketch is everyone is touchy about a different subject.

trucker2Mark is back in this little piece playing Bobby Terrence’s father at his trucking company. (We’ll see him again at the end of the episode talking about salt and flavour.) It’s a great little sketch and one that would work wonderfully in a variety show.It reminds me of the Parrot Sketch in parts because of the repetition and it being as memorable after you see it. It’s easy to learn and could be easily mimicked. Mark shows us that he truly has exceptional phone skills and gives me the impression that this was written by Bruce; I could be wrong.

Hard Day has all the elements for great comedy: bad Sci-Fi, models of planets, Kevin in a great costume and Dave wearing a bowtie. The fact that I believe Dave is an alien despite what he is wearing shows that a) I will believe things if you give me a reason to and b) I love Doctor Who.

Dave knew bowties were cool way before the Eleventh Doctor declared it.

The whole sketch starts with a discussion about tying bowties and Delfar 7’s (Dave) paranoia reaching a level where he believes he’s been compromised. I enjoy the fact that Scott has such a poorly tied neck tie and is so calm during the whole thing, it’s a nice contrast.

This contrast is replaced by Kevin’s snarky leader type of character and Kevin plays him very well. I wasn’t exactly sure if the character was supposed to be Dave’s boss or equal to him in status. Rewatching it, Kevin says he hired Dave but Dave definitely isn’t acting like an employee.

Costume and set are great, very typical sci-fi. The plastic sheets to replace paper is a bit much but it’s a nice choice to show they weren’t just going to call everything Space-thing. I imagine budget didn’t allow for futuristic computers and screens.

Off Swingin’ aka the Best Looking Man in the world is… well, watch it and see for yourself. On a commentary for the sketch someone mentions that the guy featured in that sketch really didn’t get work after it. It’s a great little sketch and one that is pure outlandish comedy that doesn’t need to say a word (other than the song) to get you laughing. Fair warning, the song is a horrible ear worm.

davedoctor This episode is chock full of monologues and one person pieces and Dave doesn’t disappoint. The doctor is one of my favourite pieces just because the entire thing is performed as though Dave could, at any moment, burst into laughter about the whole situation. It should also be noted that the blood on Dave’s face mask is on the wrong side. This is mentioned in a commentary and I will note it again. Maybe Dave is such a bad doctor that he gets blood on his side of the mask or it’s just an error. The sketch plays out like an improv piece, with someone suggesting “the worst doctor” as an occupation.

bobbyvdevilLast, but not least, we have Bobby and the Devil. This is the only Bruce sketch of the episode and Bobby Terrance pulls no punches! He may not want to take the garbage out but he can play the opening of Smoke on the Water with his eyes closed. The idea behind this piece is very simple and it’s explained in the sketch how it’s like David vs Goliath. It’s treated seriously but with a wink and a nod. Bobby clearly isn’t that good, it’s all in his head, but he commits to it and if there’s any doubt he doesn’t show it. Mark plays a great Devil and he’ll reprise that role later on and in the movie Brain Candy.

My first thought after seeing this was, this sketch reminds me of “Tribute” by Tenacious D who battles the Devil through rock.

However, that song came out in 2001 and this sketch came out in 1990 so I’m wondering if some inspiration leaked into band’s brains via Canadian comedy…

To sum it up, this is a great episode and a wonderful beginning to the second season. We’re seeing a little more maturity (in a format way) from all the guys and this can only get better as the season goes on.


Kat in the Hall: 1×19


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Episode 19: Airdate: Tuesday May 8, 1990

The Sketches

Recurring Characters






An interesting quote I heard on a comedy podcast attributed to E.B. White:

“Analyzing humor is like dissecting a frog. Few people are interested and the frog dies of it.”

I’d disagree with that, no frogs were harmed in the making of this blog. Just in case though, sorry Kermit, I have a review to conduct.

The penultimate episode. At the time this went out penultimate episodes and season finales weren’t as important as they are today. This was just another episode that some people would make a point of sitting down to watch and a lot more people would stumble upon it either the night it aired or years later on repeats. This is an okay episode and I say that despite the fact that my favourite Dave performance closes off the episode. It has some excellent highlights but it’s not as strong of an episode as others this season.

The episode starts with a sketch that is a lot like Crazy Love in episode 15. Dave, Bruce and now with added Mark are at the bar and two women seated a little distance away. The sketch is quick, silly and it makes guys who act like idiots at bars look like idiots. The first time I saw this it didn’t strike me as clever or interesting unlike 99% of Kids in the Hall sketches that do. The second time I watched it however, I think I finally got the joke; they were mocking the cat-calling behavior and the inability to see it as being stupid and pointless.

Island Boys is a strange, strange sketch and yet it works with some well-known tropes. As a Supernatural fan it was easy to make a parallel between this and the Winchester brothers. If it wasn’t Mark acting opposite Kevin I would think that Kevin and Scott wrote it (maybe he did such rules are not set in stone). The lines fit Kevin so well but it’s got this kind of dry, outsider sense of humor that we see in Buddy Cole sketches from Scott. Kevin plays the laid back brother and Mark the “proper” brother, again we are building off the double act format. The sketch surrounds the brothers living on an island presumably modelled off Hawaii or something similar and part of a group or tribe who hunt the Great White Shark.

Here’s a nitpick: I spent a good deal of the episode watching Mark fail at attempting to pretend to fix nets. Prop acting can be hard but shoving a stick through some net randomly isn’t very convincing. The Maritimer in me got in the way of focusing on what Mark was saying, just as the knitter does whenever I see someone pretending to knit as part of a character.

The brothers argue over family tradition and Kevin plays a brother who would rather be a tourist, who would much rather play trivial pursuit than stand the tests to become a man. In fact he failed those tests thirty-seven years in a row.

“Your competition is twelve, on average. You are 52 years old.”

52 years old. That’s how old Dave is this year (2015). I think they did a good job aging Kevin up for this sketch, he doesn’t look that much different than he does today.

Bobby’s back for Can’t Kill Rock and the sketch begins with what we think is a monologue by Bruce and evolves into a back and forth with a teacher played by Dave. I really enjoy this sketch and its put down of jazz even if the ending of rock still hasn’t happened. This was definitely written by Bruce and has all his trademark angry punk-rock feelings all over it. Dave further shows that he is the best at playing smiling, happy people who are inherently evil and delight in the misery of others.

Tarantula brings back Melanie, the same braces wearing girl we saw in the Death Row sketch. This time she’s fifteen and being lured by an artistic type, played so well by Scott. He just so happens to own two tarantulas, that we can hear talking. These two tarantulas voiced by Kevin and I think Mark (there’s nothing out there to confirm this, big thanks to Brian @gonzarro for the help figuring it out). The sketch is cute but in the end the critters don’t win. The commentary for this sketch also mentions that one of the guys killed at least one of the tarantulas. Whether or not this is true, I don’t know but it’s sad if it is.

When the Cat’s away, the mice will play. The old saying gives a basis for this montage-filled sketch that has Kevin and Dave frollicking across the world via train and plane on a non-stop partying spree while their girlfriends are away in Mexico. This sketch once again reaffirms my belief in the lack of dance ability the guys have but that’s what makes it fun. The two women playing their girlfriends do a great job, I was surprised two of the guys didn’t take that role, and it really plays up the exhaustion they feel after not only partying but then cleaning up. Would have been interesting to see more Canada-centric locations too.

Scott gives a brief monologue about wanting his foreskin back and does so in a brown turtleneck. I don’t need to say anything more.

Presented without comment.

Car Ride aka $300 Car is a Bruce sketch and one he talks about on a commentary at length. The car was apparently borrowed from one of Bruce’s neighbors and he told them it would be fine. If you watch the sketch you know that this isn’t the case. We get some interesting shots in this sketch, both on Bruce and through the windshield and outside as the car is going by. I’m fairly certain Bruce is driving the whole time too, so it’s another element that he has to concentrate on as well as the lines he’s spouting at camera. I’ll also add that although I don’t know exactly where this was shot, those roads look a lot like the roads I learned to drive on.

Now I’ve saved the best for last, and apparently the Kids thought the same way as it’s the closing sketch.

Look at that face! He’s playing with Scotch tape!

Monique the Pyromaniac is my favourite Dave sketch and it’s one I quote a lot at work. At least once I’ve slouched very far down in my chair when a coworker asked something of me or attempted to hide under my desk. The script is great but the little touches Dave gives the role just make it hilarious. We also know from the “Nobody Likes Us” sketches that Dave is the King of being pouty. This goes to very good use in this sketch. Mark and Scott are also on fine form and it’s possibly Mark’s best sketch in drag. Monique is just gorgeous. Scott plays the strong, stern employee very well and handles a fire extinguisher like a pro. I’m still amazed when he sprays the paper out of Monique’s hand before she could light it. Modern day health and safety would be all over the amount of fire being set on set, I can only imagine how lax those regulations might have been.

I’ll be honest, this sketch is flawless in my eyes. I could go on but instead I’ll just fangirl and you can watch it for yourself. Have some quotes:

Dave: Oh, so what if I did? Everyone likes a fire. And it’s Christmas.

Scott: Sir, we can’t afford to employ an arsonist. We’re an insurance company.

Dave: Well I don’t care.

Scott: Well you should care because people are getting worried.

Dave: Oh, well, they shouldn’t worry. I’m fine.

Scott: They’re not worried about you.

Scott: Sir, we are in a crisis and action must be taken. Whaddya say?

Dave: . . . vegetable?

Scott: WRONG!!! You’re going to have to fire her.

Next episode is the last episode of season 1! If you have thoughts about anything you want to see for Season two leave them in the comments!


Watch on youtube? Please purchase the box set when you are able. ( [NTSC])

Kat in the Hall: 1×18


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Episode 18: Airdate: Tuesday May 1, 1990

The Sketches

Recurring Characters




Have I mentioned lately how strange certain sketches can be? They aren’t strange in a “that made me think” kind of way. They’re weird in a “guy in a really bad leather jacket hugs a guy barbecuing kind of way.” Also, the word Super Garnish is used. Go put “Super Garnish” into Pinterest and examine the results, I’ll wait.

Yep. I’m sorry to suggest you do that. They didn’t have Pinterest back when this was filmed, but there were still minds to think up that monstrosity. Weird minds made the internet, the internet did not create weird minds.

This episode is a brilliant mix of strange, weird and wonderful just like the internet is. In this episode Kevin has the best parts, Bruce really lets his inner weirdness shine and Mark looks really good in pink hair. It really suits him.

Premise Beach parts 1 & 2 are cute little pieces that feature the most 80s beachwear I’ve ever seen, the house band Shadowy Men on a Shadowy Planet and two guys who can’t dance. If you’re thinking to yourself, maybe it’s just this sketch… no. The Kids (with the exception of maybe Scott) cannot dance.



But I digress. Premise Beach involves neat little ideas that are explained quickly and pack a comedy punch. I’m not a fan of the gift head one but I like the “meat hand politician,” if only because of the expressions on Mark’s face when Scott, dressed as Danny Husk no less, offers to shake his hand. How would that guy get gloves or mittens to fit? With a full-length sketch you would then take these premises and maybe expand on them more and more. I hope to never see either of them as full sketches, they just aren’t meaty enough.

The second Premise Beach leads into Shitty Soup and well, this sketch is among my least favourite. I see the appeal, I understand the humour but I just do not find it funny. It works as an excellent piece to set up Scott’s monologue though about Gay Entertainers and it blurs the line between it and Premise Beach. I think by this point all of the Kids were beginning to explore transitions between sketches and began to play around with the format of the show, (something that would be exploited in later seasons).

Stinky Pink involves the only recurring character this episode. Fran (Scott) is back, without Gordon, this time to help her friend Barbara who is dealing with a separation explain to her son Seanie (Kevin) why his dad won’t be living there anymore. I love the Fran character. She’s a strong, assertive older woman, a great example of what their goal was when it came to female characters. Kevin plays a great kid, it’s almost eerie how young he looks and sounds when he pitches his voice up and is wearing kids clothes. The actual thought behind the sketch is very basic and this is where the troupe shines. They take a basic idea and they don’t even throw it that far into left field. They take it and through dialogue and actions make it very funny. The pink hair, and THAT being the element that makes Seanie go over the edge is great. His dad not being around, that’s manageable… but his mother having pink hair?! The world has turned upside down! What will his friends think? It’s a great sketch with a great example of guys in drag vs guys playing great female characters.

Crouton is Bruce telling a story to kids about a giant crouton he had.

That’s the sketch, that’s the kind of genius the Kids in the Hall could perform. Watch it, be mildly disturbed by it, wonder what those kids think and then watch it again.

Olympics reminds me of a similar Olympics sketch that Monty Python’s Flying Circus did during their seasons on the airwaves. It has the same qualities as Silly Olympics but blended with the wonderful dry, weird humour of Philosophy Football. Mark’s commentary has a kind of Cleese feel to it, but it’s a bit lighter than Cleese’s intense delivery. It’s also interesting that they finally have Kevin playing an athletic role. It’s been said that Kevin in the most athletic of the group and yet he’s always referred to as the slow one, there’s references to his asthma, etc. It could be he was just the skinniest. The sketch also brings in another person who isn’t one of the Kids, feel free to tell me who plays the winner of the Shotput but you don’t often see someone with a feature spot who isn’t one of the give guys or Nicole de Boer (Laura).

The last piece looks filmed, it has an ethereal quality about it but it might have been just the way it was shot. It tells the tale of a man and his fly. It’s also a story about a man and a woman, but really the fly is the star. It’s got the usual Mark wit, mildly self-deprecating and slightly twisted.

The best kind of love letter.

The best kind of love letter.

This review is a kind of love letter to this season as we only have two episodes left. After that we’re onto the weirder, wilder, Chicken Lady-er, Pit of Penultimate Darkness that is season 2. Please keep leaving your comments and opinions!


Watch on youtube? Please purchase the box set when you are able. ( [NTSC])

Kat in the Hall: 1×17


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Episode 17: Airdate: Tuesday April 24, 1990

The Sketches

Recurring Characters




Leslie the Vampire Fag


Hey! There’s a spider on your back!

If you saw that and only that on a page would you try to brush a spider off like they do in the sketch? It’s unlikely you would for a paper version but I think an audiobook might be enough to elicit a response. Yet in the show this new book is groundbreaking and we want to know why everyone is buying into this phenomenon. It’s a trick, a gimmick and that’s something that hasn’t changed since 1990. For this world that’s the new way you write a horror book and that’s one of the reasons this episode is fantastic. The devotion to the created world. A commenter on the IMDB page for this episode says it’s the quintessential episode to show what Kids in the Hall is all about. It’s true. This episode has a good blend of sketches, it shows how well they do absurd humour, they make fun of comedy sketches in a comedy sketch and while it doesn’t introduce Headcrusher you can see exactly what the character is all about. I had always thought Chicken Lady was the most well-known Kids in the Hall character but after talking with coworkers and friends about the live show, it seemed Headcrusher has that honour.

Dracula, aka After the Hockey Game is another (could be) controversial sketch. When the main character is called Leslie the Vampire Fag there’s bound to be a bit of eyebrow raising from certain groups and rightfully so. Scott begins his reign as Brad, a hockey loving hoser who keeps getting picked up by guys who want to have sex with him after taking him to a hockey game. The best part of the sketch is the fact that Brad doesn’t care that Leslie is a vampire. That part (that can get him killed) isn’t important. It shows the idiocy of caring if someone is gay so much they ignore something that is actually life threatening. It also mocks with the idea that this has happened multiple times and Brad still doesn’t understand what’s going on.

Any well-written sketch has a good chance at being funny but what if the sketch isn’t well-written, and is in fact missing vital parts? We all get stuck at a punchline, whether we write comedy or we’re just retelling a funny joke we heard, but do we really need one? Are punchlines necessary? The Middle twists attention and focuses it on the writing of the sketch, while at the same time using that as the material for the sketch. Wow, that sentence is confusing. It’s no wonder Kevin is involved in this, after all he teaches all those workshops now.

Oh wonderful Head crusher. This sketch spoke to me the first time I saw it. First, we have the Head Crusher interacting with someone other than to crush their head. Second, I always wondered as a kid what would happen if someone got a taxi, got out of the taxi and then ran inside and refused to pay. Could the driver chase you inside? Could he call the police? Nice to see the Kids had the same idea and even smartened it up with Mr. Tyzic. I disagree with the title though, that’s not his girlfriend; not in a romantic sense. I’m firmly of the headcanon that Tyzic has one true love and that’s Lorelei, the maybe woman he talks about in Tour of Duty that may or may not be the same character Kevin plays in that same sketch.

Now it’s Dave’s turn and we start to see what will become a rather obvious penchant for playing blood soaked and/or killer characters. Mass Murderer is a tame sketch compared to the equally horrific sounding Axe to Grind. From what he says, in this sketch he prefers a cutting implement and mentions a chainsaw and in a later sketch he brandishes an axe. The best part of this is you can easily start to feel sorry for the guy. We often see, whether in comedy or drama, although almost always the latter, but never stopping to reflect. He seems like a real person and it’s creepy! It’s like someone said, “Ok, let’s do a sketch about a mass murderer but we will never mention the ethics of killing a vast number of people. Just the strain, physically, it would take on a person. Combine that with Dave and his wide-eyed look and it’s funny but eerie at the same time. I’ve always found Dave played creepy the best, it’s that innocent face and seemingly soft demeanor. He looks like a kid and therefore, surely nothing bad can come from him. Children of the corn, people.

“It’s like what happened the other day. I – I had just finished ending a human life in a senseless act of violence, when I run into this old friend of mine from high school, and he says, “Hey, whatcha been doin?” And I think to myself, ‘What have I been doing? What am I doing with my life? Where is this leading? Am I going to be doing this at 50?'”

Vaudeville. I’ve never been hooked by the comedy that came from Vaudeville acts but I love that it inspired so many and gave the foundation for a lot of comedy acts. I’ll admit when I’m having a bad day some Burns and Allen, Buster Keaton or sometimes The Marx Brothers can be a nice change of pace. Kevin and Dave, however, loved these comedy greats and were doing their kind of shtick when Bruce and Mark met them in Toronto so it doesn’t surprise me that Kevin is in this sketch. I can’t do justice to it trying to explain it with words, watch the sketch and look at their delivery and the quick changes in emotion.

Kevin in drag. Has anyone ever argued that Kevin is the second most attractive Kid while in drag? (Dave is obviously the first, everyone knows that). If you do think that he is, feel free to leave a comment why but I’d argue that, like they mention in the commentary for Death Comes to Town, Kevin never plays the sexy characters. There’s an attempt at it with Rudy, the John for the hookers that we’ll see next season but really Kevin tends to play the mildly ditzy women with big poofy hair. He’s characters are always fantastic but he doesn’t play women like the other guys play. He doesn’t in this sketch either but that’s okay because he instead plays a great Ricki Lake/Sally Jessy Raphael-type talk show host. Even the theme tune is irritatingly catchy.

Darcy, Darcy, Darcy Pennell
She makes the whole day feel real swell
Darcy, Darcy, Darcy Pennell
She makes your life a lot less hell

Not only do we get a great host, we get a great irritating French fashion designer by the name of Christian Renoir and Brad is back to exact revenge on one of the guys who took him to a hockey game.

For the Ugly Woman.

For the Ugly Woman to highlight her ugliness.

I know everyone can understand what the guys are mocking here but it’s so damn refreshing to see it mocked. IF you have ever watched a runway show you know that most fashion, especially couture or high fashion isn’t for the normal, everyday person. It’s rare to find a fashion designer that even seems to like or know what a normal person is, let alone “ugly” people. It’s a great tie-in from earlier and wraps a great episode up neatly.

Well, what do you think? Could this be a perfect episode to show a new Kids in the Hall watcher? Recommendations?

Next time it’s episode 18, we’re nearing the end of season 1!


Watch on youtube? Please purchase the box set when you are able. ( [NTSC])

Kat in the Hall: Kids in the Hall LIVE!


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We interrupt your regularly scheduled Kat in the Hall to bring you something different and far closer to home. The Kids in the Hall came to Edmonton, Alberta (May 19, 2015) to play in the Northern Jubilee Auditorium. I would have loved to have more pictures of the sketches especially with how close I was (first row) but I got caught up in watching the show which is infinitely more important. Pictures are courtesy of their respective owners. Thanks folks!

Although the live show was a mixture of old and new sketches we did get a few sketches we’ve already covered on this blog:

Country Doctor Sketch
Gordon & Fran – Salty Ham
Running Faggot

The new sketches were brilliant and up to the high quality we saw in the five years of the show.

After the cut there will be discussion of the show including details about the new sketches, if you’re going to be seeing the show or don’t want spoilers then it’s best to skip it until that’s not an issue. The videos I’ve linked to are all from other cities performances and will be replaced if I find Edmonton ones.

You can still get tickets and I highly encourage you to do so. Check out for the remaining tour dates and ticket information.

Monday, we’re back on track with episode 1×17: vampire fags, mass murderers and the Head Crusher returns.

Big thank you to my beloved Chris <3 for everything, especially pictures when I had no idea he was taking them and Amanda Tonnessen who is awesome and uploaded so many live sketches to youtube and reassured me that I would be ok and meeting Bruce would be awesome.

Continue reading

Kat in the Hall: 1×16


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Episode 16: Airdate: Tuesday April 17, 1990

The Sketches

Recurring Characters

Thirty Helens!

Thirty Helens!


First of all, I want to say thanks to everyone who has been liking and commenting and reblogging thus far. You’ve all been a huge boost to my writer’s ego and helping me keep up this project even when I’ve not wanted to update or even look at a computer. Good news! Tomorrow I get to see Kids in the Hall live AND thanks to some quick ticket buying I snagged VIP tickets and get to meet the Kids after the show! Yes, I will try to get pictures.

Now on with your regularly scheduled review…

This is a fantastic episode and one that brings together Rivoli-esque sketches staged with minimalistic backgrounds (Is He? and Manny Coon) with more beat poetry Bruce or maybe Mark sketches like Bass Player. We still haven’t seen a full length film piece, and with the Thirty Helens the Kids are starting to play with film, format, and the cameras.

“How did this happen?” is a great reveal gag, letting your mind ponder the possibilities of what might have happened long before you actually get to see the end result. Mark, one of the best character actors emotes well and I would love to see the reason behind this. To be fair the title of the sketch is the same question that the audience should be asking themselves when they see his predicament.

“The mother, the father, the serpent, the priest. The foreman, the woman, the widow, the beast…”

The Secretaries are in my top 5 ensembles that the troupe plays. Seeing Bruce and Scott play off each other, something that doesn’t happen nearly enough, is always a treat but then you add in Mark as the annoying Tanya and Kevin as another secretary to round off the group. At this point Dave isn’t playing his boss figure like he was in the earlier sketch but steps in as Howard, the new to the office guy whom all the girls are talking about. This is a sketch that was done bigger and better on the stage, it’s featured in the documentary “Same Guys, New Dresses”, that shows the troupe behind-the-scenes. They continue asking if Dave’s character is gay or not, making up more and more outrageous and foolish names for heterosexual and homosexual. This brings us to a question: is this sketch offensive? I’ll admit some of the names they come up with for the stage show were risque but this seems like G-rating material comparatively. Both Cathy and Kathie seem to know that it doesn’t matter if Howard is gay and even make a point of acknowledging that fact. It’s human nature to want people and to hope that they are compatible with you if you find them desirable, demanding or expecting them to change is not. I think this sketch does a great job of showing both sides of that.


From Cathy to Manny Coon, Scott flips a switch and goes from a female secretary to a lecherous old painter man. The whole sketch is a monologue, the focus is on Scott but it’s interesting to watch the subtle reactions of the older people sitting behind him throughout. I like to think they aren’t actors, that they’ve just hijacked some university’s graduation ceremony and run with it.

Now my favourite sketch of this episode: “Bass Player.” If we set aside the fact that bass players aren’t the least favourite member of a band; drummers are, we have a catchy little sketch that has Kevin doing a great bit of beat poetry and Bruce playing what I can only assume is the three chords he knows how to play on a bass. It’s interesting they had Bruce playing given Dave is the only one of the troupe that can properly play guitar. Bruce mentions in his book that he picked up a few chords playing his father’s Beatle Bass. If you’re wondering yes, that’s Shadowy Men on a Shadowy Planet, the house band that played during their performances, playing in the background at the beginning and end.

kith27 kith28

If you too are a bass player and suffer from the pangs of loneliness, someone has graciously taken the time to write down the bass tab for the sketch: here

I’ve talked a lot about wigs in the past fifteen episodes and this one will be no different. The Goddess of Compensation wig that Kevin wears in this episode is fantastic! The actual idea for this sketch I believe is Bruce’s and he uses it again in his Young Drunk Punk series on another construction site. I’m sure Kids in the Hall weren’t the first or last to use that idea for a sketch, the very system screams to be exploited. I can’t speak to the differences between worker’s compensation now and then but it doesn’t seem like much has changed except for the amount of paperwork and the size of the televisions. Scott also gets a big shout-out playing what I think will become Idiot Boy or at least is a character like Idiot Boy. The line Mark’s character shouts: “Not the hook end, you moron!!” gets me every time.


Last but not least we have a weird, strange, odd sketch called “Power of my Cock”. Features Bruce in the bathroom (you don’t actually see him) and Kevin as a housewife trying to get him out of the bathroom. That’s where my understanding of the whole thing ends. It’s hilarious to watch Kevin’s performance and it’s the first sketch to be censored that I’ve found. Additional comments on this sketch is more than welcome.

Pulled together with Thirty Helens Agree, this is a fine episode with a nice diversity of types of sketches and pairings. We’re on the home stretch of season one!


Watch on youtube? Please purchase the box set when you are able. ( [NTSC])


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