Wednesday, May 14, 2008

The Kids Were Alright

This is from a 1996 Deseret News movie review of Kids in the Hall Brain Candy in which Chris Hicks concluded: "Yes, it's sick, twisted and silly, and it's all played very broadly in an off-the-wall style. And there are some undeniably clever set-pieces here and there - but most of the time it's also extremely tasteless.

Granted, tastelessness can be funny - but these guys revel in being nonstop, in-your-face tasteless at the expense of humor or insight.

... Rated R for wall-to-wall profanity and vulgarity, sex, nudity and drug abuse."

Perhaps that can explain why Kingsbury Hall was only about one third full last night for the Kids in the Hall's "Live As We'll Ever Be" tour. Chris Hicks' age-old curse? Or actual tastelessness?

But those who shelled out big bucks and bravely took their seats found the group's wall-to-wall profanity, vulgarity, sex and drug abuse was gut-bustingly funny. (No nudity, but perhaps that wasn't a downside.)

Scott Thompson's gay bartender Buddy Cole made an early appearance with a gentle nod to the local faith and then brazenly argued why Jesus was gay. As a parting shot, he "baptized" the front rows with what was left of his cocktail. When they next brought out a jug supposedly full of liquified human belly fat, my companion, who didn't know much about Kids in the Hall, got nervous and whispered to me: "Are these guys like Gallagher? Should we move back?"

That lack of awareness is a problem. KITH is not that well known anymore (unless you're a Comedy Central devotee and even then ...). The Kids in the Hall come from the Land Up Above ... Canada. And they came into prominence with their edgy Monty Pythonesque TV show in the late '80s and early '90s. But infighting and artistic differences eventually set them apart, and they went on to solo projects where they've toiled somewhat in obscurity.

Coming together again, they're like lasers. Yes, Chris Hicks, they're even insightful. They've aged well and are still quite crushable if you let your mind wander. Maybe it's seeing them play sexy gay and straight characters as well as convincing (not campy) women in drag. Even the Chicken Lady, played by Mark McKinney, as a phone-sex operator who talked dirty like a chicken might if it could, had a certain come-hither spark. Ping-pong balls shot out of her feathers into the crowd at her climatic moment. "My babies!" she cried out.

The two gossiping secretaries, Cathy and Kathy—played by Scott Thompson and Bruce McCulloch—with Kathy extolling the virtues of tweaking crystal meth to keep her weight in check, was possibly the funniest sketch if one had to choose.

Mr. Tyzik, McKinney's bitter headcrusher, showed up at the end, zeroing in on members of the audience with his camcorder and crushing their heads between his fingers. He even found ghosts in the empty seats, calling them the spirits of righteous religious folk who stayed away, and of course, he squished their little heads.

Most in the audience would likely concur: Kids in the Hall need to get their blips back on the radar. Take your vitamins, guys, and bring us more tastelessness soon. (Jerre Wroble)


  1. I was second row at the Kids In The Hall show, and I was not at all dissapointed with how amazing it was!

    Oh and for the record, for my money it doesn't get any better than Bruce McCulloch in Brain Candy as the depressed rocker Grivo, and then his hopped up on happy pills folk singer Grivo later in the movie. It's comic genius as far as I'm concerned!

  2. "Not that well known?"
    Maybe you should have people who are "well known" about comedy write about comedy instead of people who obviously are not. I was there. It was more than 1/3 full, and they were great. But just like most art, music or culture too cool for Utah, and clearly too cool for you.

  3. Piss off, anonymous. If you were such a comedy expert, you'd be publishing reviews instead of anonymous, snipe-y comments on other publications' message boards.

    Maybe you should pull your head out of your ass before posting every useless thought that comes into your head. And if you had any balls, you'd sign your name.

    Gen-Xers know about Kids in the Hall, but a lot of Baby Boomers don't. So it's perfectly valid for someone having just discovered Kids in the Hall to write about how funny they were. (Brandon Burt)

  4. Brandon, did you forget your medicine today?

  5. Ok you little smartass. My name is David. I'd put my last name but for shit heads like you who "blog all day." I posted as anonymous because I dont have time to "sign up" to be a "registered comment journalist" like yourself, I have an actual job making twice the money your rag makes. Finally, no, it's not valid when you run an entertainment magazine to have someone inexperienced write about something they don't know. Kind of like asking you to write about editorial content. Now go back to your 4 x 6 cubicle and pound out some more drivel and prattle. There's a literary reference for you, but then again, you're a "Gen-Xer" you wouldn't know.


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