Kat in the Hall: 1×09

Episode 9: Airdate: Tuesday January 2, 1990

The Sketches

Recurring Characters

Kathie, Cathy and Tanya

Preacher Character

Weston Esterhazy & Virgil


So long 1989, hello 1990! Let’s celebrate by dying in the house we were born in, talk behind co-workers backs, explore our inner preacher characters and talk about some celebrities.

Stereotypical, over-the-top and weird characters are great sources of humour and the Kids in the Hall do them all very well and with seemingly no effort. Sometimes though, a simple deadpan character doing something persistently strange is always a treat. Dave does ordinary so well. He doesn’t need crazy costumes or funny voices to portray weird. instead he goes from just another guy you might meet on a street to one you could still meet on the street but you really hope you never do. This could be taken as an insult to the other Kids but one of the great qualities about the troupe is they all have their strengths which compliment and contrast the other members. Just as Scott can play overly masculine characters and old ladies extremely well, Dave takes a normal guy and twists him just enough.

The three parts of “A Place to Die” talk about the characters obsession with dying in the house he was born. This obsession logically translates into an obsession with dying soon to make sure the first part occurs. Although the first two links are funny, it’s not until Kevin’s character comes in and amps it up with some good old-fashioned physical comedy (complete with obvious dummy) that I really enjoy the sketch.

Now, “Secretaries” often called “Receptionists” is a whole troupe endeavour, we’re just setting the foundation right now. We’ll see Dave and Kevin’s office characters in later sketches.

More than once I’ve heard Bruce McCulloch say in interviews that Kathie was his favourite female (possibly favourite overall) character. Maybe it’s because she’s such a well-rounded character. Both Kathie and Cathy are strong female characters, even if Kathie is often worried about her weight, and Cathy talks about others behind her back. In fact, those kind of worries and flaws make them more human. There’s a foundation in Kathie based on Bruce’s sister but the flourishes and assertiveness, characteristic of Bruces’ characters, ground her as a solid character that exists in her own reality. Like Mr. Tyzic (Headcrusher) or Buddy she knows who she is and no matter what the world throws at her she’s able to respond to it. Cathy helps pick her up as good friends do even if it’s at Tanya’s expense. Speaking from experience office environments can be extreme and not at all healthy.

I don’t think anyone would argue that there’s unhealthy behaviour in this office but looking past that there’s the fact that it’s supposed to be humourous and not based entirely in reality. Still there are elements of this sketch that are positive both in and out of character. In the interview following this sketch on the Nerdist Channel, Bruce mentions (I’m sure Scott would agree if he was there) enjoying this sketch because he gets to relate to Scott on a lighter level. Unlike Kevin and Dave who have that kind of connection in many sketches we don’t often get to see Scott and Bruce playing against each other.

“All you gotta do is look down to the southern United States, you can see that televangelists and preachers are fast eclipsing rock and roll musicians as the drug-poppin,’ tax-weaselin,’ prostitute-pumpin’ bad boys of pop culture!”

The Preacher character sketch is a fabulous example of exploring a character by explaining a character. Many comedians have a preacher or over the top religious character and they can walk the line of too much; not funny and not enough; not funny. I would be curious to see other Kids do the same sketch with their own preacher character just to see the difference in approaches. Feel free to recommend other sketches that have this kind of approach, related to Kids in the Hall or not.

Weston and Virgil. I have tried so hard to like these characters. I try and I try and understand why they’re funny but it’s a pain for me to watch them. Maybe it’s because I know people like this and maybe it’s because they are such parodies of nerdy dweebs that try to act cool, whatever the case it’s not a sketch I can relate to or watch over and over. As one commenter put on YouTube, he’s still more attractive than Perez Hilton. I think that’s a given. I do like their friendship though and I’m always a sucker for a sketch with Scott and Mark. Like Kevin and Dave they are able to play off each other very well and their similarities make up for a stronger back and forth. Nice to see the sketch dated by the Rob Lowe mention as well as the pictures on the wall behind them both.

Teddy Bears’ Picnic is such a sweet little sketch with actors in roles we haven’t seen them play very much. We don’t often get Scott as the kid, usually he plays the father to Dave or Bruce’s kid role, although he is in bed so that helps with the height factor. He does an amazing job and hits whiny and annoying just enough without going overboard. I love the basic idea of a kid picking a kid’s story apart, (very realistic) and questioning a parent about something they’ve told them. Always question authority, kids. I’ll be the first to admit when I hear the Teddy Bears’ picnic I asked the same question about their bedtime; 6 o’clock, really?

Dave brings his usual attractiveness in a wig and dress to the sketch (he looks down right glamourous) and plays naive wife to Bruce’s stories. I enjoyed the fact that although the wife is naive she’s not a push over in the traditional sense:

“Don’t EVER contradict me in front of the boy.”

Also, if I had my mouth washed out with soup; good soup, not something like Italian Wedding soup, every time I swore I would swear a lot more. Mmm, soup!

KITHfan.org provides a simple, succinct summary for this sketch:

In short- The sloppy narrative, the non-believing son, and the all-too-believing wife.

Last week we had the Ping Pong sketches as linking between longer sketches, which works better?

Monday in episode 10, we’ll see the “Nobody Likes Us” guys and explore farmers with tails, drunk brothers and Vaudeville with a bad straight man.

Leave a comment!


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

4 thoughts on “Kat in the Hall: 1×09

  1. I honestly think Femme!Dave looks a little like Ingrid Bergman/Isabella Rossellini. That’s absolutely a compliment.

    It’s also the case that Dave’s charming, boyish good looks provide cover for his twisted imagination, which makes his demented characters seem even *more* depraved and unsettling.

    I have a Canadian co-worker who is 90% Cathy in appearance and mannerisms.

    This is another episode I’ve seen so often that sound bites from it echo around my mind like ringtones set off by a thousand everyday things. “Temp!” “Critics given to crit-i-cism” “What *weighs* more…” “This sloppy NARrative” “A little too much DEW to drink” This whole first season was on heavy rotation on Comedy Central and our VCR. Can’t wait for Monday and vaudeville, which is possibly my favorite thing ever (for a certain range of thing).

    Liked by 1 person

    • After googling who Ingrid Bergman and Isabella Rossellini are I completely agree with you. There’s a picture of Isabella I believe when she’s got the short haircut and their facial structures are very similar.

      Dave is also the one who enjoys blood and horror stuff the most too and maybe that helps add to the strangeness.

      All those bits would make fabulous ringtones, although “Temp! Slut!” wouldn’t be the most work appropriate.


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