Series: The Kids in the Hall
(left to right) Bruce, Mark, Dave, Scott, and Kevin, quite possibly the five sexiest men in skirts.
"Hi there, I'm Scott Thompson, and for those of you who are wondering, yes, I'm the fag."
— Scott Thompson
"I've always considered
The Kids in the Hall's relation to its 'big brother'
Saturday Night Live to be somewhat analogous to the U.S.'s relationship to Canada;
SNL is bigger, flashier, and has more popularity (or at least more notoriety), while
KITH is smarter, subtler, and much more consistent."
Surreal, often transgressional Sketch Comedy
show in the vein of Saturday Night Live
and Monty Python's Flying Circus,
two shows to which it is often compared. The show was in fact initiated and produced by Saturday Night Live
mastermind Lorne Michaels. The show is often credited with kick-starting the Alternative Comedy
boom of the 90s.
The five man roster consists of Dave Foley, Kevin McDonald, Bruce McCulloch, Mark McKinney and Scott Thompson. Sketches revolved around a number of disparate topics but were just as likely to focus on the cast portraying themselves, albeit in odd situations. Monologues were given frequently. Guest stars were uncommon on the show and celebrities rarer still. The consistency of the sketches were quite variable and there was often a feel of being "in" on a jam session of talented comics in the process of finding out what worked and what didn't. For some, this enhanced the appeal of the show.
The hallmark of the series was that it was never afraid to go over the line when it came to people's comfort levels. The cast not only appeared in drag regularly, they often did so without any attempt to make the crossdressing the point of the skit. It was often bemoaned by Dave Foley that he looked so much better dressed as a woman... something that would form the basis of an episode of his later hit NewsRadio
The series did air in the United States but it may surprise some to know that, as shocking as the series may have been to many, it was still sometimes heavily edited for content, particularly for religious topics.
The KITH band ended their show in 1995, and afterwards produced a feature film, Brain Candy
, in 1996 to mixed reviews. The gang of five disbanded soon after, but recently regrouped to do several tours and, most recently, a miniseries ("Death Comes To Town
"). The series remains a popular and memorable viewing experience in reruns.
This show provides examples of:
- Acquitted Too Late: A governor is calling a prison to order a stay of execution because of some new evidence, but he gets a wrong number. While the other man looks up the prison's phone number, the governor looks at the time and realizes it'd be too late now.
- Affably Evil: The Axe Murderer. A pleasant smile and lovely manners even as he threatens to chop you up. See here, here and here for examples.
- Anal Probing: One sketch hangs a lampshade on this trope, giving us the page quote on the trope page. The alien wonders if his Great Leader is just some kind of seriously disturbed guy.
- As Long as It Sounds Foreign - Feelyat!
- Attention Deficit... Ooh, Shiny! - "Man of Destiny" - a sketch so expertly crafted it could have its own list of tropes.
- The Backstage Sketch - The show often did sketches where they played themselves, addressing their status as a comedy troupe with a TV show. For example in one sketch, Kevin in his Butt Monkey role frets that if his next contribution isn't good enough, the others will kick him out of the group.
- Bait and Switch
- Berserk Button - taken to an extreme in "Citizen Kane", in which a man's inability to remember the name of said movie (and refusal to accept his friend's suggestion of the title he was looking for) drives his friend into a homicidal rage.
- Bigger Is Better in Bed: In one sketch Dave is an executive who learns that one of his underlings (Scott) is a former porn star and is also massively hung. He immediately fires the man... and rehires him to lead the company's new adult film venture.
- Black Comedy - Sometimes.
- Black Comedy Rape - "What if... we rape Kevin?"
- Blackface: The Season 1 sketch "Tony Comes to Dinner", in which Scott plays the titular boyfriend. The makeup itself is never played for comedy, but rather his very pretentious girlfriend assuming every welcoming gesture her parents make is bigoted.
- Blatant Lies: They're lounge singers, not clearly insane people!
- Blofeld Ploy - Parodied by the bank robber in "Things to Do"
- Body Horror - the beard
- Bread, Eggs, Milk, Squick - A staple setup of several skits.
- Breaking the Fourth Wall - From the "Sh*tty Soup" sketch: "What an awful waiter." "What an awful actor."
- Broken Heel - Parodied in the Zombie Apocalypse sketch to the point of Overly Long Gag
- Butt Monkey - This role was passed around by the five regular cast members depending on the sketch, but Kevin had it most often- notably in sketches 'behind the scenes' or when he addresses the audience as 'himself.'
- Bystander Syndrome: In one episode, Bruce reads "an open letter to the guy who stole his bike wheel," then reads another open letter to the people who saw this happen on a busy street in broad daylight and didn't do anything about it.
- Camp Gay
- Canada, Eh? - Dear God.
- Canadian Series
- Cannot Convey Sarcasm: Inverted in a sketch where Dave's character has a speech impediment that makes everything he says sound sarcastic.
- Contemplating Your Hands - the stoned shoeshine boy
- Contract on the Hitman - Parodied in a sketch, where a hitman is contracted to take himself out.
"Can you do it?"
"...I'm gonna need A LOT of money"
- Crosscast Role
- Cue the Flying Pigs - The Flying Pig sketches, in which the titular flying pig comes to entertain people stuck in a line.
- Department of Redundancy Department - Mark as the Chicken Lady in the "Chicken Lady Homecoming" sketch:
Mark: The memories, eh? They float in like ... like memories!
- Discriminate and Switch
- Does This Remind You of Anything? - Tammy's music video
- Don't Explain the Joke - Dave ruins a vaudeville performance of "Who's on First?" by figuring out the miscommunication and laboriously explaining it to his partner.
- That one's more of an inversion, due to the reaction of his partner who, after having had to deal with Foley ruining two previous jokes in similar ways, is bearing a very strained grin as he tries in vain to steer the skit back on course.
- Dream Within a Dream - the pear dream
- DVD Commentary - Some of the greatest ever. Highlights include an improv game during the closing credits of one "greatest hits" episode.
- Egocentric Team Naming: in a sketch about the three-man garage band "Rod Torkelson's Armada Featuring Herman Menderchuk."
- "El Niņo" Is Spanish for "The Niņo" - One sketch has Dave Foley as a stereotypical Frenchman talking about how beloved Kevin MacDonald is in France, where is is known as "Le Poopie," which is French for "The Poopie."
- Everything's Better with Cows - It was the night...The Night of the Cow!
- Evil Phone: Spoofed in one sketch. A guy refuses to answer the phone, reasoning it must be a wrong number. But as the phone keeps on ringing, it causes increasing hysteria in his friends. They convince themselves that something sinister about the call.
"Or it's a very wrong number. 42 rings? What kind of FREAK is sitting there by that phone?"
- Fashion Hurts - A fashion designer from the first season revels in this trope.
- Fat and Proud - One sketch had Bruce and Mark playing a pair of rednecks with massive beer bellies, and proud of them.
- Film Noir - "Man of Destiny", which also features a Sexophone at one point.
- Five-Man Band:
- Flamboyant Gay - Buddy Cole, played by the legitimately gay Scott Thompson. The troupe often dealt humorously with the topic of homosexuality in a variety of ways.
- Forced Perspective: "I'm crushing your head! Crush! Crush!"
- Freudian Slippery Slope - One skit has a businessman asking his secretary to write a letter for him. He is unable to speak five words without mentioning breasts in some way, and eventually forms a sentence almost entirely out of words for breasts.
- He can't dictate a letter to his next, male secretary without mentioning penises.
- Gender Bender - Bend? They pretty much broke it. The troupe would play roles regardless of gender, orientation, fetish, or species. This would extend to vigorous simulated sex with each other, rarely seen in other shows before then. In fact, they would only have real women portray a big part if it was deemed the part needed a level of attractiveness/style they couldn't hope to pull off, which only happened a few times. At least until they got a bigger budget for the last few seasons.
- Half-Human Hybrid: The Chicken Lady
- Hilariously Abusive Childhood - Daddy Drank
- Which led to Kevin being stalked for a while. See below for the link with Stalker with a Crush.
- According to the Audio Commentary, the drinking dad was based on Kevin's actual father - some lines were real (others were made up). Call it catharsis.
- Hired for Their Looks: A sketch had Dave as a business man unable to fire a French pyromaniac named Monique because she's beautiful, even as she's igniting things in his office.
- Hunter Trapper - parodied, on dry land with businessmen's expensive suits as the goal rather than animal skins.
- Hyde Plays Jekyll
- I'm a Humanitarian: "I am not an experienced cannibal!"
- Insane Troll Logic: In one sketch, a guy has an argument with his wife and she locks him out of the hose and refuses to let him back in. He wins the argument by declaring that from now on the inside of the house is the outside and the outside of the house is the inside, which makes her the one who's locked out. She protests, but he says that the house is in his name so he can do whatever he wants. So she actually goes along with this and starts demanding that he let her in.
- Inspirationally Disadvantaged: the Oscar Bait sketch; 3 of the 4 actors nominated have some sort of handicap, including one with a railroad spike through his head. The fourth actor played Hamlet. It ends up being a three-way tie, with the Hamlet actor being left out.
- Irony: Scott Thompson is quite openly gay but aside from Buddy Cole and appearances "as himself" in a few sketches he often portrayed straight characters while the other cast members took the "gay' roles.
- Jail Bake: A skit made use of this trope, and adds dramatic tension with the guard asking if he can have a piece of cake, while the prisoner's friend sweats, hoping the guard's knife doesn't touch the saw inside. Of course the tension is then taken to ridiculous heights with the guard eating most of the cake without finding the saw, leaving an obvious saw-shaped piece of the middle of the cake. The guard looks full and is about to give the cake to the prisoner, but then he decides to have one more piece... * clink* And then the kicker: the prisoner was getting out later that day and just wanted to make sure he wouldn't be late for an appointment, so he gets released while his friend gets locked up.
- Jerkass With A Heart Of Gold: Dave Foley in the skit where he welcomes a new guy at his company by telling horrible lies about him to the boss. Every single one of those helps him to connect with the boss and other employees and be accepted as one of them, such as telling the boss that the new guy sacrifices people to Satan, the boss cheering that everyone at the company does that and inviting him to the weekend's ritualistic murder. At the end, he punches the new guy in the stomach... who doubles over in pain and finds a fifty dollar bill on the floor.
- Jesus: The Early Years: A skit showed examples of Jesus' carpentry work - it turns out he wasn't a particularly skilled one.
- Little Known Facts: "It's A Fact" girl
- Littlest Cancer Patient: "Hi, Doctor. I'm... Cancer Boy."
- Madness Mantra - "whole lotta milka..."
- "Seven things on my list, seven things on my list..."
- Magical Queer: Buddy Cole in some sketches, sometimes employing actual magic (or at least sparklers).
- Man Child: Bruce tended to play these. His monologues tended to be grown men with overly naive and idealistic views and prone to flights of fancy. Notable examples are "If Elvis was my Landlord" and "Romeo and Juliet"
- Mistaken for Profound: Mark, Bruce, and Dave are sitting on a roof. Mark and Bruce take turns saying some things about the moon, Mark says something about romance, and Bruce says something like an angry beatnik poem. But when it's Dave's turn, he doesn't know what to say and just blurts out, "Gee, I wonder who owns that moon". Bruce and Mark act as though it's deep. Dave just shrugs and the skit ends.
- Naked People Are Funny: The heart of a few skits, like one where an employee at a meeting won't stop giggling while going over his report, leading to the revelation that he wrote the whole thing while naked, much to the disgust of everyone else there.
- Nightmare Fuel Station Attendant: The Chicken Lady, (natural) omelet-producing skills and all.
- No Bisexuals
- No Party Like a Donner Party: Lamp Shaded in one sketch where Dave is on trial for eating 112 of his fellow passengers after getting stranded on a plane. He tries to convince the judge that he was starving and desperate to survive, but it turns out the situation was not as dire as he claimed.
Judge: We're not talking about a plane crash in the Andes here, sir. You never got off the runway. We are talking about a delay! You are the sole survivor of a 35 minute delay!
- Noodle Incident: One involving a beaver is mentioned during the "Trappers" sketch. "WHERE WERE OUR HEADS?!"
- Not really, since they're heavily implied to be French-Canadian voyageurs, and mention that they "must take care not to deplete the stock".
- Not Now, Kiddo
- One Steve Limit: Averted with the Geralds and Cathy & Kathy.
- Also "Fifty Helens Agree" and the song "These Are The Daves I Know."
- Perspective Magic: "I'm crushing your head!"
- Poke the Poodle - The Pit of Ultimate Darkness
- Postmodernism: The "Raise" sketch is pure, undiluted postmodernism at its best.
- The Power of Rock - Satan and Bobby
- Private Eye Monologue - "Man of Destiny"
- Real Song Theme Tune: "Having an Average Weekend," by Shadowy Men on a Shadowy Planet, who also contributed other music to the show.
- Reminiscing About Your Victims: Played for laughs, naturally, in a scene where a bunch of buddies recall a dead friend.
"It really makes you think about the fragility of life."
"Not really. Remember how he struggled at the end?"
- Right on Queue - Flying Pig
- Rockers Smash Guitars - Dave after failing to prove folk was better than rock.
- Rock Me, Asmodeus! - Satan, a recurring character, once had a rock battle with a kid in a garage band.
- Running Gag - So many. The show even ended its run on one, with a bit of a Lampshade Hanging.
- Sarcasm Mode - A sketch revolved around a man who is stuck in Sarcasm Mode.
- Serious Business - The game of squash to The Eradicator
- Sketch Comedy
- Stalker with a Crush - Kevin had his own—and she went so far as to send him a cassette full of stalker songs, most notably Every Breath You Take.
- Studio Audience - "Screw you, taxpayer!"
- Subverted Rhyme Every Occasion - the "Dave's I Know" song
- Suicide as Comedy - A sketch had a hit man hired to kill himself.
- Tap on the Head: Deconstructed and parodied in the sketch "Hillbilly's Problem". A farmer gets his head kicked in by a cow while reaching for a penny, affecting his depth perception and leaving him mildly brain-damaged. His sons, seeing it as like a case of Easy Amnesia, attempt to replicate the accident to bring him back to normal. The blow just kills him instead, and they bury him in a shallow grave.
"I don't know what went wrong... always seemed t' work on The Flintstones
- That's All, Folks! Final episode 'Thank God, that's finally over!'
- Those Two Guys: Mark and Bruce as two recurring Ontario Provincial Police officers who always seem to notice everything at the crime scene except the crime.
- Those Wacky Nazis: The censored "Hitler [Blanks] A Donkey".
That's not just a bad man. That's Hitler, and he's [Censor Bleep
]ing your donkey."
- The Topic of Cancer: An early monologue by Bruce McCulloch had him apologizing to everyone for "causing all of that cancer". He says he did it because he "didn't realize it was such a horrifying disease" and he was "just on a roll".
- Trade Mark Favorite Food - SAUSAGES!
- Trope 2000: "Chalet 2000"
- The Trope Kid - "The Toronto Kid"
- Umbrella Drink - The Girl Drink Drunk.
- Video Inside, Film Outside
- Vomiting Cop: Parodied in one sketch, as the cop vomits over not only a dead body, but mundane things at the same scene like an expired parking meter.
- Wham Line: "Oh, I almost forgot. We will be requiring that you turn in your security passes, your coffee mugs - oh, and your wigs!"
- Who's on First?
- Wimp Fight - Dr. Cooper and Don Roritor's fight in Kids in the Hall: Brain Candy. Corrinda Gablechuck and Heather Weather's "bar brawl" in Death Comes to Town also qualifies.
- Zombie Apocalypse - Brilliantly deconstructed in a sketch parodying zombie horror films, with an apathetic couple being chased by two bored-looking zombies who are easily killed by the female's ever-respawning shoes. What makes this even funnier? This was before the big boom of Zombie Apocalypse media that would flood the market in the 2000's
Mark:(Deadpan)...we're safe, but for how long.