When we showed up at The Ryman for the Kids in the Hall, we knew the Canadian troupe would draw an older crowd given that they launched their sketch comedy in the late '80s. We got what we expected: mid-to-late 30s misfits (either inwardly or outwardly) who all looked like die-hard fans.
We paid $8 for an enormous beer and waited for those wacky dudes to take the stage. Finally, the projector started rolling with an intro—a previously filmed skit with the Kids sitting around trying to come up with new ideas for their audience members, who they felt needed to be distracted from their endless student loan debt. Eventually, they come up with the idea of raping Kevin McDonald, and as the badass Shadowy Men on a Shadowy Planet intro kicked in, out ran the troupe chasing McDonald around in his underwear. The crowd was ecstatic.
They started the show with a skit about the most horrible baby in the world, and from there on out, it was nothing but good times. We had no idea whether reprising old roles with new material would feel dated, mediocre or just lame, but it was as funny as ever. Bruce McCulloch brought back Gavin and the Kathies—one of whom is now addicted to crystal meth and loves "tweeking," and a new superhero character called Super Drunk—guess where his powers come from? One skit featured Foley and McCulloch as husband and wife lying in bed at night waiting for the husband's annual BJ on his B-day. Hysterical.
Scott Thompson, the most well-preserved of the five—brought back gay barfly Buddy Cole for a skit speculating on why Jesus was so obviously a queen. Mark McKinney brought back the Chicken Lady and the head crusher (for the encore), and Dave Foley and Kevin McDonald were hilariously in character all night. There were skits about menstruation, car-fucking (yep), an riotous infomercial about the Gut Spigot—where America can turn her obsession with cheese into fuel for her SUVs. There were Jehovah's Witnesses and a time travel machine that makes last call last longer—("I've made last call my bitch").
One of the most entertaining skits was "I Danced Like This" where all five guys broke down the evolution of their dance moves from 8th grade to 11th grade. It was all so much more irreverent than the TV series, with expletives flying as fast as the jokes, and the guys obviously hadn't lost their game one bit.
There wasn't a disappointment to be found, except that one lady in the balcony dancing around like an idiotic bimbo when McKinney (as the head crusher) took his handheld camera and panned the audience for crushworthy die-hard fans' heads. "Too easy," he said as the lens passed her by.
We were lucky enough to get aftershow passes, and we met all five guys backstage where they offered us beers (and opened them for us), chatted about the inspiration for skits, talked about the possibility of working on another movie together and were all-around the most well-mannered hosts we'd ever had. A plate of cheese sat unwrapped and untouched on the coffee table.