A Whole Lotta Kids in the Hall

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New York Times: HBO'S 'Kids' Getting Sharper on TV (January 6, 1991)

These article is property of its writer and publication and is reprinted here without permission.

By JOHN J. O'CONNOR, New York Times News Service

Article Text:

Back for a second season on Home Box Office is The Kids in the Hall, starring five Canadian men who have been performing together in Toronto since 1984.

These kids -- Dave Foley, Bruce McCulloch, Kevin McDonald, Mark McKinney and Scott Thompson -- are now well into or even beyond their 20s but, with Lorne Michaels (Saturday Night Live) as executive producer, their routines on these half-hour shows are as youthfully goofy as ever. They are Canada's version of Monty Python, a bit less wicked, perhaps, but no less wacky, right down to their ever-so-proper drag sketches.

These comics specialize in throwing wrenches into the most ordinary of situations.

In a recent episode, there are two couples having dinner together and celebrating nine years of friendship. Suddenly, one husband turns into a slobbering lecher, making passes at the other's wife and observing, with leering unrestraint, ''Thank God for old friends, eh?''

In no time at all, he is announcing, ''I'm going to undo your wife's dress and run my calloused carpenter fingers down her back.'' Just as quickly as the scene escalates into X-rated abandon, it returns to middle-class propriety and some pointless talk about lamps as house gifts. Curtain.

Basically, all five comics are clean-cut, boy-next-door types, which gives their off-the-wall humor an extra spin.

Foley is perfectly plausible as an earnest doctor except that his hospital smock is covered in blood. ''I've never really got the hang of the 'healing the sick' thing,'' he explains amiably. But, it seems, this doctor was always a popular fellow. How far can you go on charm? ''Well, pretty far, actually,'' he confesses.

With some help from Brian Hart and Norm Hissock, the Kids write their own material. This year the satirical barbs seem to be getting a bit sharper and considerably more nasty. That's all to the good, as is the occasional rock music supplied by a group called Shadowy Men on a Shadowy Planet.

Program: The Kids in the Hall

With: Canadian comedians Dave Foley, Bruce McCulloch, Kevin McDonald, Mark McKinney and Scott Thompson

Airs: Monday, 11 p.m., 4:05 a.m., Wednesday, 2 a.m. Friday, midnight Friday, HBO. Also various other times on Jan. 14-31; check daily TV listings.

1991 News and Sun-Sentinel Company


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