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

Review!

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.

brucefthebank

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.

See?

See?

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?


tally120

Watch on youtube? Please purchase the box set when you are able. (amazon.com/amazon.ca/amazon.co.uk [NTSC])

Kat in the Hall: 1×19

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Episode 19: Airdate: Tuesday May 8, 1990

The Sketches

Recurring Characters

Bobby

Bobby

Melanie

Melanie

Review!

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!


tally119

Watch on youtube? Please purchase the box set when you are able. (amazon.com/amazon.ca/amazon.co.uk [NTSC])

Kat in the Hall: 1×18

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Episode 18: Airdate: Tuesday May 1, 1990

The Sketches

Recurring Characters

Fran

Fran

Review!

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.

CANNOT DANCE.

See?

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!


tally118

Watch on youtube? Please purchase the box set when you are able. (amazon.com/amazon.ca/amazon.co.uk [NTSC])

Kat in the Hall: 1×17

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Episode 17: Airdate: Tuesday April 24, 1990

The Sketches

Recurring Characters

Headcrusher

Headcrusher

Brad

Leslie the Vampire Fag

Review!

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
Darcy!

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!


tally117

Watch on youtube? Please purchase the box set when you are able. (amazon.com/amazon.ca/amazon.co.uk [NTSC])

Kat in the Hall: Kids in the Hall LIVE!

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:D

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 KITHtour2015.com 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.

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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!

Review!

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.

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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.

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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!


tally116

Watch on youtube? Please purchase the box set when you are able. (amazon.com/amazon.ca/amazon.co.uk [NTSC])

Kat in the Hall: 1×15

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Episode 15: Airdate: Tuesday April 10, 1990

The Sketches

Recurring Characters

Buddy Cole

Buddy Cole

Mississippi Gary

Mississippi Gary

Review!

The episode leads off with Death Row, a sketch that earned itself a fan favourites commentary on the special features of the first season DVD. It’s not a very long commentary but it does mention the fact that Mark is playing Melanie with braces for the first time. As far as I could tell she is the only named character in this sketch, Kevin may be playing a version of one of his later characters but I couldn’t find a name for her. Scott is in the sketch too, a picture of him behind bars is held up by Bruce, described as the guy “with the unpredictable smile.” The whole sketch reminds me the slumber party from the movie Grease, if smaller and more high school production. It’s shot from only a couple angles and this works well for it. It also makes the characters seem younger, given Dave (the youngest) is 27 in this sketch and he still seems so much younger.

Remember how I talked about Mississippi Gary, blackface and my dislike of the sketch and the character? Well “White Guy” is sort of his origin story. The character is no longer in blackface and switches between his normal way of speaking, a rather rich sounding American accent and the put on accent of a Southern blues musician. In the stage production Vermont will be changed to Ontario. I love the lighting, atmosphere and the music in this sketch and the way the character gets into the music. I’m not the biggest Blues fan but I like a bit of it and when Joe Cocker died in 2014 I saw a few articles (like this one) remembering him. In these articles talk eventually shifting to appropriation and appreciation and looking at the differences. Ten years after this sketch aired the Onion hit the nail on the head with this article: Affluent White Man Enjoys the Blues and Causes the Blues. The Kids in the Hall have brought up topics that are still just as topical now as they were in 1990.

To rejection!

To rejection!

Speaking of topical… Bruce and Dave are two rich suave guys straight out of a film noir that probably get coated in more alcohol than they drink. It’s a simple sketch, made simpler by the PITCHER of martinis the woman pours (yes, I know it’s water doubling for gin/vodka but in a pitcher? Where is this mysterious place I can buy martinis by the pitcher?!) Simple and a good example of a comedy duo switching the straight man role back and forth as necessary between themselves. In my opinion, Dave and Bruce are the best of the Kids when it comes to making talking funny so this whole thing plays to their strengths. When Dave asks rhetorically if it’s a crime to love all women and Bruce says, rather deadpan, that yes it is in some places, Dave’s surprised and slightly worried expression is great. I think because they are both a bit pitiful it makes sense to have a woman bartender, which neither of them even look at the entire sketch. When Dave’s martini is poured at the beginning, keep an eye at how he doesn’t even acknowledge her as he sticks the glass backward for her to put the olive in. They “love” all women except the ones pouring drinks, eh? Splashing each other with drinks in a great closer perhaps indicating they’re both horrible people. Watch the end of the sketch as the audience is applauding, you can see Bruce say “I was a little high wasn’t I?” referring to his drink throw and Dave grins and nods with, “a little high.”

Buddy’s back! Have you missed him?

This time he’s only momentarily in his bar setting before being whisked away. This sketch we’re treated to some desert island Buddy, complete with fake seaweed on his head with Oscar Wilde. I encourage you to read up on kith25Oscar Wilde and why this sketch works so well and how they wouldn’t be able to stand each other for more than ten minutes. While you’re at it, find a copy of Stephen Fry playing Wilde in the movie “Wilde”, it has Jude Law and Orlando Bloom in it. (Have a trailer.) Otherwise this sketch is Buddy being sassy with a historical character and not much more is necessary.

Captain Alan, aka Mark pretending to be a cop shows Scott as an actual police officer and Kevin as a lady’s man. One of these things doesn’t happen often in Kids in the Hall. I like the little twist at the end following the long and drawn-out “secret handshake” as it would have been a lot easier to just have the cop apologize, maybe salute and fall for his trick.

Seeing a sketch title like “The Mechanic” should bring about any number of comedic thoughts. Seeing that Kevin is the lead in this sketch, all those thoughts should go out the window because you can be pretty sure that whatever you’ve thought is tame comparatively. In truth, however, the tough, manly mechanic with the golden locks isn’t THAT weird. What’s weird is how normal it’s treated by the other guys in the shop. This sketch shoves aside all the typical stereotypes of a car shop and turns them on their head. This is the way we would want our fellow employees to treat our decisions. kith23Clearly he’s given the go ahead in the combing decision, as he refers to his hair as the “shops” hair but he’s not treated any differently. Why is that funny? His decision to turn down Vogue magazine is also funny, but why is it funny? Is this another sketch that is just funny on the surface, and as you dig into it you realize there’s a serious message there as well? How dare they make comments about society?

Additional things to point out:
1. Dave isn’t in this sketch, maybe because he is the cute/young/pretty one?
2. Kevin’s choice in accents for this is great.
3. I love the polaroid-style glamour shots at the end.

The last sketch is, I’m sure, every parent’s nightmare as curious stranger becomes crazy stranger. I struggle with what to write about this sketch because it’s good and there aren’t any huge failings that I can exploit for words. The wigs are okay, Dave’s is particularly good and one that I believe is reused for a couple of his characters later on. I’m unsure who the driving force behind the sketch is, it’s an absurd idea grounded in reality so it could be anyone’s idea or a group effort. The normal idea behind it has always bugged me. I’ve always felt people stopping to look at other babies is weird, only slightly weirder than people who feel the need to stop someone walking a dog and ask to pet it. Dave’s character is good enough to keep her purse in a way that lessens the chances of it being taken but she lets just anyone poke around her baby? Strange world. The best parts are the dry lines at the end between Mark and Bruce:

Bruce: I don’t think we’ll ever have a baby.
Mark: It’s God’s will.
Bruce: I feel empty.
Mark: You are.

It’s not really funny at all, it’s sad but we laugh. It’s a nice contrast to the silliness of asking how many miles are on a baby or if it leaks or anything.

Next episode the Helens are back and we also check in with the Secretaries and the new guy in the office.


tally115

Watch on youtube? Please purchase the box set when you are able. (amazon.com/amazon.ca/amazon.co.uk [NTSC])

Kat in the Hall: 1×14

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Episode 14: Airdate: Tuesday April 3, 1990

The Sketches

Recurring Characters

Bobby & Laura

Bobby's Parents

Bobby’s Parents

Review!

Episode 14 is a Kevin heavy episode, which seems fitting given the Kids finally convinced him to join twitter (@kevinthekith) and as of the publishing of this he’s almost up to 4K followers! The Kids regularly call Kevin “the funny one” because he’s accidentally funny and in this episode he shows both his comedy chops and his flexibility working with the other Kids. He plays against Scott and Dave in two very different sketches. Dave and Kevin play off each other by bouncing back and forth. Dull Death is the perfect contrast of Dave taking no nonsense and giving no sympathy to a friend who clearly has died multiple times before, to Kevin who is experiencing something that any other person would find immensely interesting and getting no reaction in return.

For those that know of Jack Harkness and his secret, are his recountings of death boring? Once someone has died and come back a couple times would you want to still hear about it?

While Dave and Kevin bounce off each other, Kevin and Scott compliment and contrast each other. They never conflict but I don’t feel the same give and take as you do with Dave and Kevin. Nothing wrong with their style it’s just different. At times it almost seems like Scott is acting more like Kevin who is then playing a character, rather than creating something from scratch.

If my memory is correct, this is the first time we see Kevin and Scott paired up in a sketch without a third Kid. The editors are parodies but, (and I’m sure my editor friends will correct me if I’m wrong) editors this tyrannical do exist to some degree in real life. Maybe they can’t actually rip up fire hydrants in here but they can do so in books if the story calls for it. The names are clever, a play on the words will and won’t, and their outfits are entirely opposite each other except for the wigs. I should also point out that the wigs are horrible in this sketch, almost to the point of dragging me away from enjoying it.

From editors to teenage love, we’re back with Bobby and his parents only to find out that Laura broke up with him! Oh, young love! Bruce does over dramatic teenager almost too well, if his book is any indication I’m sure he’s drawing from his childhood at some point. I admire his acting ability to not corpse (break out of character) when he’s going off the rails each time his parents mention Laura’s name. The Kid with the most songs gets another one and it’s right up there with the poetry song we heard when Bobby and Laura first met.

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As an aside, does Laura look familiar to you? That’s Nicole de Boer aka Ezri Dax on Deep Space Nine and Sarah Bannerman on The Dead Zone!

I love Dave’s mother character, she’s so quiet without being a pushover. Contrast that with Mark’s father character with his minimal lines saying so much just by standing up and then sitting back down when the mother gestures for him to do so. His monotone, “I don’t like anybody” could have been met a number of ways and instead it’s just acceptance. this is a wife who has dealt with this quite sometime. Without over-analyzing the family dynamic too much it’s easy to see that Bobby isn’t scared of his father; this is a family where Mom reigns supreme both in discipline and support. Knowing the Kids didn’t have the best experiences with their dads I wonder if this is on purpose?

The Editors come in to break the scene and tote away the parents, this is my favourite kind of linking sketch.

Both the “I lied” sketch and the “I’m a Cat” sketch show Mark monologuing in different ways. Although we see the rest of the troupe at the end they’re only there to bring about a “Cats-esque” vibe to the whole thing. This is one sketch I’m completely fine with not seeing during the live show. The cat sketch is good and Mark’s hair is excellent but now in the age of the cat meme seems all the more relevant. Now I just need to see a cat doing this sketch as a human. I would have never placed Mark as a cat person, he seems too bouncy to be a cat. Maybe Scott as the cat, given Scott has always owned cats.

One of my favourite group “Vox pop” sketches is My Routine. It reminds me of A Bit of Fry and Laurie sketches and all the wonderful things British comedy can provide. Just the perfect amount of strangeness mixed with their own individual personalities and all finished by them all ending the same way. You could argue that they’re all successful in their own ways, except maybe Bruce’s character who seems more hobo than actual golfer. Kevin is the most successful and of all routines his is the most normal. The only odd thing about his is that he goes down to the morgue to read his newspaper. Otherwise he’s successful and stays in shape and helps Mark’s pyromaniac character.

Mark, however, should get an award for happiest burn ward patient. How many painkillers did they give him?

Schoolroom rounds the episode off nicely and with an appearance from Bellini! Bellini makes an appearance in this episode playing a student, one of those “blink and you’ll miss it” lines at the end.

“I can make it four, Mr. Bellini!”

Dave and Scott are playing “teacher” and “his girlfriend” but I like to think these two characters sparked or were the foundation for Francesca Fiore and Bruno Puntz Jones, lovers that will be introduced later on in season 2 also played by Scott and Dave.

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It’s hard to tell when this is set, presumably around the Cold War given the references and the ‘accent’ that Scott is putting on, but despite knowing nothing about the time period or place we can really engage in the story. The sketch is very quotable and shows a twist to Dave’s acting ability, his ability to switch back and forth with and without a stutter. The stutter isn’t played for laughs but his boring voice and topic is and it’s done well. So well in fact that Kevin’s student character falls asleep with his hand up and then slowly brings it down later in the sketch. We can always rely on Scott to bring in the drama and this has great melodramatic lines to play with, like this one after Dave tries to keep going comparing their love and the Cold War and fails:

“Darling! Don’t talk to me of thermodynamics, talk to me only of love.”

Swoon.

The Editors quickly come in to edit themselves out (how very tidy!) and episode 14 comes to an end. I’m curious whether or not this was meant to be a Kevin-centric episode or if it just happened that way. The past few episodes have been relatively balanced, with the exception of Bruce, and now we have Kevin in almost every scene. I’m probably created conspiracy where there is none… thoughts? As always leave them in the comments!


tally114

Watch on youtube? Please purchase the box set when you are able. (amazon.com/amazon.ca/amazon.co.uk [NTSC])

Kat in the Hall: 1×13

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Episode 13: Airdate: Tuesday January 30, 1990

The Sketches

Recurring Characters

Gerald and Gerald

Review!

I think it’s safe to say that we’ve all been lonely at one point or another in our lives. Episode 13 begins with “Signs of Loneliness” a sketch that seeks to be informative while delivering a whopping, weird punchline at the end. If you missed the signs you might honestly believe that it wasn’t a comedy sketch. Although the set-up is a little silly and the audience is laughing (they know what’s coming) it’s not until the baby arrives that we get a good laugh. That’s a sentence I never thought I would write in my life, ever. Mark is narrating, something he does exceptionally well and Dave is playing that soft-spoken gentle guy that I believe is his best persona. The rude, sneering driver we’ll see later in Fat Hitch-hiker is the other one he plays well but this is just so darn, cute. Dave’s cute in this if a little bit whiny and quietly pleading with whomever is on the other end of the phone.

Cut to the reappearance of the Geralds and this time they’re networking! It’s worth noting that although Bruce gives his name as “Nick” he’s referred to as Gerald as well. Mark’s Gerald has apparently done this before and Bruce’s Gerald is new to the business side of things. He plays the role well, as we’ve seen his negotiating tactics in a previous episode and he seems like a fish out of water. How he doesn’t know what a business card is, is beyond me. Their love of professional sports is also legendary.

Dave: I cheer for all the local teams!
Bruce: Really? They’re not as good as they *used* to be, I hear.

(Reminds me of Sportsball)

The Kids are known for their love-to-taunt feelings towards businessmen and that is plastered all over this sketch like cheap hair product. The “overdoing it” guy, the “merger” guys and the dry line Scott delivers: “I’m going to go stand a few feet over there now” all succinctly hits how foolish networking parties are. Between this and the bird-like businessmen in the Mr. Stevenson sketch we are starting to get an idea that no one in the business world is safe from multiple angles of mocking.

Our linking sketch is Mark playing weird plausibly. One of the reasons I think Bruce and Mark work together so well is they each love big, weird characters and while Mark can play a character that is strange he can also play a normal character like the guy in this sketch in a way that you laugh, but you aren’t really sure why. He’s not doing anything funny, persay, but the repetition and persistence makes you chuckle. While researching for some of the sketches in this episode I found a great article about the Lopez sketch from TV Geek Army called, “The Kids in the hall Seek Out Lopez.” Give a read and let me know if you agree with their thoughts.

I’m of two minds about Fat Hitch-hiker. One, I like the premise but two I don’t like the content. It’s structurally funny but I know if I have to preface the word funny with anything except not or very, it’s not very funny. I’m guessing it’s a Kevin and Dave sketch and I admire Kevin playing a guy getting taunted like this. Kevin used to be the “fat kid” as a teenager and during the 1980s he lost a lot of weight. It was to the point where people were worried he was becoming anorexic, he wasn’t (as he explains on an episode commentary). I know I would have issues playing Kevin’s role in this or even jokingly playing Dave’s role when a very good friend was playing the role next to me. Maybe it’s just not my cup of comedy tea. I do love the face Dave pulls at the end though, a weird kind of non-committed sneer. There’s a great article about Kevin and running that runningmagazine.ca published May 5, 2013 where this sketch was mentioned.

The Donut Shop, whose proper title is No Regrets is a quick little sketch with a pretty simple message. Kevin wants all the donuts, Bruce thinks everyone is a pig, Mark tells him off (in a very absurd way) and Bruce for some strange reason agrees and goes back to his video game. Let’s be honest here, the best part of this sketch is Dave in the background with the strange hair and a small little teacup in his hand. Whoever decided that he should don that wig is a comedic genius.

See?

See?

Amongst the Lopez sketches with solo Mark comes solo Kevin with the Lamp. I’ve said before I don’t really like to say something is very typical of one of the Kids but this is Kevin’s forte. I admire his ability to do this whole monologue as though he’s talking on the phone, first to a woman and then to a child. It’s great to see how his mannerisms change depending on who he’s talking to. As ludacris as the premise is (the guy with only three fingers reached up to pull down a SEVEN FOOT, TWO HUNDRED POUND LAMP?) it’s really about a guy that no one likes and who leans on people too much. When a six year old, incredibly smart child, puts you on hold and then hangs up on you, maybe you have a problem? The fact that this guy is the boss of any group of people is astonishing to me since I can’t picture him moving up the corporate ladder at all.

“Oh, mom, by the way, I’m becoming an Indian woman.”

Indian Woman puts Scott in the spotlight and I watch it and find myself going back and forth between laughing (Johnny and Hadji? Really? I wonder where they got those names from…) and thinking how it reflects on culture today. I’m sure people feel like they grew up in the wrong culture, choosing to adopt the culture of somewhere else instead of what they may have been raised in but that is a choice. Being transgender is not a choice. Does this sketch offend people? Is it mocking being transgender in any way or the ease in which John becomes a woman? This whole sketch is a step beyond drag and into something else. I can’t comment beyond that but I welcome your thoughts. Even if I often don’t find Scott’s sketches as funny as the others they always, without fail, make me think. I applaud that in any performer.

Then we wrap with Lopez, who arrives home to see his house on fire. This is why I’m glad cellphones exist as now it’s easier to just call your friend when you arrive at his home and he doesn’t seem to be there. I do wonder if Mark’s character lost his job though, since he didn’t go to work. A perfect place for fanfiction…

We’ve now finished Disc 2 if you’re playing along at home on your mega-set. Favourite sketch? Opinions or comments? Have a favourite character that still hasn’t been introduced? Leave a comment!


tally113

Watch on youtube? Please purchase the box set when you are able. (amazon.com/amazon.ca/amazon.co.uk [NTSC])

Kat in the Hall: 1×12

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Episode 12: Airdate: Tuesday January 23, 1990

The Sketches

Recurring Characters

Gordon and Fran

Gordon and Fran

Weston Esterhazy & Virgil

Kathie, Cathy and Tanya

Review!

First off, something awesome happened a few days ago that I’m still over the moon about. A friend of mine, Andre, went to see the taping of “Unmasked” a show hosted on SiriusXM at the Village Underground in New York and featured all five Kids. Andre offered one of his tickets to me. Obviously, flying out to New York for a taping isn’t realistic (even if I wish it WAS!) so I thanked him, told him how jealous I was but declined. Interrobang! ran an article about it and there’s a few clips to listen to on their page. Otherwise it looks like you need SiriusXM to listen. From everything I’ve heard and read, it was a fantastic show and all the guys were on top form. After the show they had time for pictures with the audience. A few days after Andre sends me a link to this picture:

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Click to embiggen

It’s a bit hard to read even if you enlarge the picture but that sign says “Read The Kat in the Hall blog!” He originally wanted the guys to hold the sign but they told him he had to be in the picture. More importantly he explained what the blog was. He told the Kids in the Hall about my blog! From what he told me when I asked what they said in response, they were pleased and especially so because I’m Canadian. He also told them I’d be at the Edmonton show (May 19th) and would be doing the Meet & Greet. I know it isn’t realistic and I know it won’t happen, but it would be so nice for them to remember the blog when I meet them later this month. Regardless, thank you Andre!

Now onto episode 12!

We have a lot of recurring characters this episode and the first appearance of a future recurring character Ms. Ferguson played by Dave. She’s a strong, independent and snarky higher management type person for A.T.&Love who wants little to do with the other women that work for her. That said she seems to have a slightly softer side in this episode, reassuring Kathie about when she too “turned over”. As someone who’s worked as an admin assistant/type-all-the-things person I wish we had something to show how many words you’ve typed, I would have turned over a long time ago. It’s funny to see the parallels to a car turning over, being so excited and then after it happens there’s nothing. It seems like a huge moment for that brief second and then it’s just a number. Really like the sets for this sketch too, it’s a shame they downgraded for later “Secretary” sketches into a more cubicle style.

Mood Swing brings back Gordon and Fran, the Salty Ham family and this time we get to see somewhat of a playful side of Gordon. I refuse to believe he doesn’t know exactly what he’s doing the moment he starts bothering Fran while she’s in a good mood. At the end when he gets her to call his sister I see it as a little bit of an apology for what he did. Yes, Fran’s sister is the one on the short end of the stick but at least Fran isn’t in the bad mood anymore.

It’s a very real dynamic they’re playing with here and very likely something everyone who has been in a relationship with someone else would have encountered in their day-to-day lives. As an aside, I love that Gordon is eating crackers and Cheez Whiz. I wonder if the pickle was going to be incorporated somehow. Cheese and pickle, while being very British and to some degree very Canadian is more importantly, very tasty.

Billy Dreamer parts 1 & 2 seems so very Kevin and Dave. I don’t really like to label something as being “very so and so-esque” but I’ve done it quite a few times already. This is weird with a side order of, what was that? Have you ever daydreamed about something slightly better than what you already have? What’s the point of daydreaming if you don’t go big? The sky isn’t even the limit; there is no limit! I will admit Kevin plays the character well and his ability to pull funny faces is given it’s time to shine. On one of the commentaries Kevin remarks how one of the directors didn’t like him and told him to “stop pulling funny faces all the time,” Kevin gets upset and replies, “but that’s what I do!” He does do it well though.

It should be known that of all the Kids, Dave is the one that actually knows how to play guitar. Bruce learned how to play a bit of bass when he got older and I believe Mark can play piano but Dave is the guitar played. Knowing this, the sketch is a lot funnier especially as he tunes the string tighter and tighter until it snaps. I wince every time the string snaps, partially because of the sound and partially because thanks to horror movies I have a fear of one of those strings snapping and whipping someone in the eye. I’ll give Dave credit, he doesn’t flinch when they snap.

“Nope, for me, rock’n’roll music, and excuse me if this is corny, just gives off too many bad vibes.”

There’s elements of the Country Doctor character in this “Dave” character and I like it. I also like that the transcript for this sketch says that he: [breaks the guitar a la Pete Townshend.] Very specific.

From Pete Townshend to “Who’s Gay in Hollywood?” Weston Esterhazy & Virgil are back and this time they are discussing the celebs of the time who might, maybe, could be gay. I bounce around whether I like these two characters and it might just be the physical representation rather than the premise of the character that makes me uncomfortable. Mark and Scott do a wonderful job portraying them, especially because they look very different from their normal selves. I’ve never really thought of either of them as geeky at all (not compared to Dave, Kevin and Bruce at least, who seem to have their geekness about certain things very evidently on their sleeves.) It’s a very well put together sketch and one that includes all those little liability lines to make sure that no one sues for slander.

Then there Skoora the gentle shark who doesn’t want to maim you, but has to because she’s a shark. It’s in her nature! This was clearly a play on Jaws and the hysteria surrounding it and the fact that people honestly seem surprised that wild animals hunt humans when the humans tread on their turf. Why is that shocking? Hunters hunt! You can’t blame a wild animal for trying to get food or protecting its territory. It does a great job of dancing on the line of parody and just another good sketch. As another layer the guys are all playing themselves, or rather a version of themselves, using their own names.

skoora

Bruce and Scott as the two marine biologists who each lost an arm and an eye are great, how they keep helping each other as though they were one person. The gruesome newlywed couple also gets a mention if only for the make-up and special effects. I’ll also point out that the “special effects” ie. water and fake blood when Dave was being maimed by Skoora behind the bar were just cheap and crude enough that they worked really well. We don’t need to see Skoora, we gather all the information we need and imagine her in our minds.


tally112

Watch on youtube? Please purchase the box set when you are able. (amazon.com/amazon.ca/amazon.co.uk [NTSC])

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