The Underrated ‘Kids in the Hall’ Reunion That Time Seems to Have Forgotten
One of the best new comedies of 2022 was a show that technically first began back in the days when acid-wash jeans and cocaine reigned supreme. Amazon’s reboot of The Kids in the Hall found the boys/old men reuniting for a new series of sketches, many of which were as good as anything the comedy team has ever produced — like the one with the obstetrician who brags about his delivery room “drop average” between puffs of a cigarette, the masturbation-preventing nanobots for Zoom meetings or Dave Foley as the instantly iconic “Doomsday DJ.”
But even though the show was widely hyped as the triumphant return of the Canuck comedy legends, it really hadn’t been that long since the Kids in the Hall produced new material for TV. Sure, it was on a Canadian public broadcaster, not a streaming service owned by a megalomaniacal billionaire, but in 2010 there was The Kids in the Hall: Death Comes to Town.
Unlike the recent show, Death Comes to Town wasn’t purely sketch comedy but rather a narrative mini-series, more in the vein of their movie, Brain Candy (later repackaged as Don’t Look Up). Reportedly inspired by the British series The League of Gentlemen, Death Comes to Town is an eccentric murder mystery set in the small town of Shuckton, where the sleazy but beloved mayor is bludgeoned to death with his own remote control — and everyone in town is a suspect.
The mayor’s untimely demise draws the presence of the Grim Reaper, represented here as a bucktoothed motorcyclist in a leather Speedo, who continues to lurk aimlessly around Shuckton, hoping more folks will kick the bucket. The townspeople, naturally, are mostly quirky characters predominantly played by members of the beloved comedy troupe. And while many of them are new creations, there are also cameos from classic characters like the Chicken Lady and that towel guy. Plus, Bruce McCulloch and Mark McKinney’s familiar cop characters feature prominently in the story, attempting to crack the case by standing in traffic with a “Honk if you killed the Mayor” sign.
And, to be fair, the Grim Reaper did appear in the original series as well…
While not everything in Death Comes to Town holds up well (McCulloch donning an oversized fat suit to play an obese former youth hockey star, for example), it was also ahead of its time in some respects, narrowly predating the true crime boom and America’s obsession with small-town murder mysteries. It’s practically Mare of Easttown, but with more wigs and jokes about necrophilia.
In fact, what may be most surprising about Death Comes to Town is that it actually works as a compelling murder mystery and an astute portrait of a fictional small town — albeit one where the majority of residents look uncannily like the same five dudes wearing different outfits.
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