Howdy Interwebbers. I’m Matt Cohen, and I now apparently dig The Kids in the Hall.
I was too young to really appreciate what they were doing when the show first aired in the early nineties. I remember watching it, but also remember being extremely creeped out by most of the characters and sketches. It was just too much for a seven-year-old to handle. Over the ensuing years, I would occasionally catch reruns of the show on Comedy Central, and though I would laugh, I think a lot of that childhood “creepiness” still lingered in my mind. I still didn’t give it a fair chance. And yet, I was a huge fan of all the Kids individually, following their solo careers and really enjoying them.
And then I just kind of forgot all about Kids in The Hall. I would see the DVD in stores but always pass it by with a quick glance. It just wasn’t on my radar.
That all changed on Friday night. Long story short, I bought a ticket on a whim last week to attend the Kids in the Hall reunion tour stopover in Los Angeles. After work, I headed home, ate a quick burger (gotta love In-N-Out) and jumped in my car to head downtown to the famous Orpheum theater. This was my first trip to Downtown LA and thankfully my navigation system didn’t fail me. I parked in a lot (and was a dollar short… but the guy let me slide. Shout out to Julio.) and sat in my car for a few minutes. I looked around at the others attending the show. It looked more like an audience for a Phish concert then a sketch comedy show. Mostly folks in their late thirties, bearded (the men, ya mooks), plain looking, and reeking of marijuana. In fact, the parking lot looked like there was a fog machine behind every other car. This threw me for a loop. Keep in mind, I did no prior watching of the series before the show, so I really had no idea what to expect from both the actual comedy and the crowd.
What had I gotten myself into?
What bizarre and crazy sights was I about to witness?
To put it simply - Bizarre and crazy sights… Freaking HILARIOUS ones.
I took my seat in what is a beautiful and overwhelmingly awesome Orpheum Theater. A still of Kids in the Hall comedy CDs illuminated the screen on stage. The audience quickly filled into their seats, and at 8:10 P.M on the dot, a clip rolled. If you folks haven’t already seen it online, here it is. As the boys run out of screen on the clip, and the all too familiar theme song plays, they ran onto the stage, Kevin McDonald in a pair of “tighty whities” with an apple placed firmly in mouth. The place went absolutely wild, myself included. Here I was, not fully a “fan” of the troupe, standing on my feet and cheering loudly for their return. The crowd’s energy was infectious. I actually WAS psyched for this show now. I realized that I did like these guys, a lot in fact. The compounded bits and pieces I had seen over the years must have subconsciously gelled into an affinity for the show and its players. The first sketch soon started and the night was off.
I don’t want to go into each individual scene, because there were many, and frankly I don’t remember each one. The night kind of blurred into a haze of hysterics. In the following two hours, I saw characters old and new, some one’s I knew and liked, others, I forgot I knew and some flat out brand spanking new ones. The crew (as always, Dave Foley, Mark McKinney, Bruce McCulloch, Kevin McDonald and Scott Thompson) performed to the height of their ability, which in their cases is pretty damn high. Whether playing a normal average guy, or a sexed up Chicken Lady, the commitment of the performers never lacked - particularly Bruce McCulloch, who appeared to be having the time of his life on stage. Another interesting dynamic to the group is that there is no clear cut “leader”. In fact, I often found myself gauging the audience as to who their favorite kid was and, to tell the truth, each member got almost an equal amount of acclaim and applause (except for maybe Kevin, but that’s because he is everyone’s favorite awkward man-child and needs no further acclaim). Yes, some of the new sketches were a little bit lazy, but that is really not unique in the world of sketch comedy. Few troupes have been flawless (with the exception of perhaps Monty Python and Mr. Show, in my opinion) and the sketches that lacked had plenty of that Kids in the Hall brand irreverent and bizarre humor to keep the laughs flowing. Each member of the group also got a solo scene, which was nice, each differing vastly from their cohorts, my favorite being a narrative by Mark McKinney that caught me way off guard.
The format of the show was also something pretty great. Each sketch was preceded with a still photo and a sample of a high-energy song to keep the momentum rolling. There was hardly any downtime between bits, which also helped to give the show a sharp and concise feel to it. At a running time of about two hours, I for one never felt bored for a moment, and was quite sad when the show ended. And confused… Before the show there was really only one character I remembered from the TV run, The “I’m crushing your head” man. And yet, he was suspiciously absent during the show. That was, until the encore started. And it was well worth the wait. If the Kids are making a stopover anywhere near you, I definitely would suggest checking them out. I can promise you a night which like you’ve never experienced before.
Well, tis all for now, happy campers. Till next morrow -and, as always,”Keep em’ bagged and boarded”
-Matt Cohen is currently crushing your head.
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