Kat in the Hall: 1×19

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. (amazon.com/amazon.ca/amazon.co.uk [NTSC])

One thought on “Kat in the Hall: 1×19

  1. I’ve been waiting and waiting for this one, only to find it’s riddled with more memory holes for me! “Island Boys” is probably on my mind at least once a week. “Whereas I look forward to the ascendancy of Jazz!” occurs to me quite frequently. “Everyone is so flammable,” also comes up a lot. There was a guy in the booth next to us at a Thai place last night doing the exact same “Seduce an underage girl by praising her” technique as in “Tarantula”. But I’d swear on a stack of Gary Larson Far Side cartoons that I’ve never in my life seen any shots of “Mutilated” or “Car Ride”.

    “Island Boys” has one of my favorite Kevin characters, simply because I am myself a Quizboy. New Hampshire Public Television. 1987 and 1989. You can look it up.

    When these were coming out, I was definitely on Bobby’s side. Now it is I who hold the flute (metaphorically). The sketch still works for someone who has come to appreciate the J-word.

    Dave’s childish boss is… sublime. Everyone’s timing is spot on in that sketch. It’s a tiny window into the future of comedy. So great.

    Liked by 1 person

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