15 Trivia Tidbits About ‘The Kids in the Hall’
Sketch comedy icons The Kids in the Hall returned to the small screen last year with a brand new series on Amazon Prime Video, presumably because Canadian public television never made billions of dollars selling merchandise to lazy people. Of course, the Kids have been around for literal decades, which is thankfully more than long enough to supply us with numerous pieces of fascinating trivia, such as…
They Got Their Name From an Old Sid Caesar Joke
Where did these full-blown adults get the name the Kids in the Hall? Well, it came from comedy legend Sid Caesar, host of Your Show of Shows, who reportedly “used to have gag writers who were waiting to feed lines to him, and they were called ‘kids in the hall.’”
They Have an Honorary Plaque at a Toronto Club
The Kids in the Hall’s early home for live performance was the Toronto club The Rivoli, which as of 2022, boasts a plaque denoting this moment in history.
An Early Live Sketch Was About a Gun-Store Robbery
When they first started doing live alternative comedy, one of their early sketches, called “The Gun Store,” was about “a gun store being robbed by a guy with money.” Thankfully, this was nowhere near the peak of their sketch-writing abilities.
Lorne Michaels Didn’t Laugh During Their Show
Michaels ended up producing The Kids in the Hall after catching their live show. Clearly, he was a fan, but at the time, he responded by not laughing once. Although to be fair, he “looked bemused several times.”
Monty Python Was a Huge Inspiration
The Kids in the Hall took a great deal of inspiration from another, less-Canadian sketch comedy group: Monty Python. According to Bruce McCulloch, “Their brain spoke to us. We liked SCTV, but their ideas didn’t obsess me the way Python’s did.”
Scott Thompson Based Buddy Cole on an Ex-Boyfriend
Thompson based his famous Buddy Cole persona on an ex-boyfriend, who “took on a larger than life character” and “was to not be afraid to be kind of a feminine gay man with crazy wild stories.”
The Chicken Lady Began as a Throwaway Joke in a ‘Freak Show’ Sketch
Speaking of iconic characters, Mark McKinney's Chicken Lady began in a sketch about a circus freak "who can make his nose bleed at will." There was one line about a chicken lady who’s “an emotional dependent, she’ll lay you eggs at the drop of a hat.” Bruce McCulloch suggested, “We should cut to the Chicken Lady,” and McKinney was randomly assigned the role.
The Towel Guy Character Began With a Ridiculous Contest
The CBC suggested that the Kids in the Hall should hold some kind of contest “in order to determine the makeup of the show's fanbase.” Instead of a meet-and-greet or an autographed photo or a vial of Dave Foley’s blood, the prize they came up with was to “Touch Paul Bellini” — literally just the ability to physically poke their buddy, who was photographed for the show wearing only a towel.
And the rest is history…
Scott Thompson and the Towel Guy Were in a Punk Band Together
Speaking of Paul Bellini, he and Thompson were former members of the "prolific" and "outrageously gay performance art punk band" Mouth Congress.
They Had to Fight to Air Their Most Canadian Sketch
The “Screw You Taxpayer” sketch broke down how the Canadian public’s money trickled down into funding some conspicuously tasteless material. According to Mark McKinney, it was “controversial on both sides of the border.” It made the CBC “nervous,” and HBO “thought people wouldn’t understand that in America.”
Neve Campbell Shows Up in One Episode
A young, pre-Party of Five Neve Campbell appeared in a sketch as a high school student purchasing a slice from two pervy pizzamakers. In a surprise twist, her character is arrested for the murder of her English teacher.
Mark McKinney Was the Only Member Who Wanted to Keep the TV Show Going
When the TV series was finally winding down, the gang held a vote on whether or not to make a sixth season, and according to McKinney, “I was the only one who shot my hand up like, ‘Yeah! C‘mon! Hands up, guys!’”
‘Brain Candy’ Was Full of Behind-the-Scenes Fights
Arguably one of the most underrated comedies of all time, Kids in the Hall: Brain Candy involved a lot of off-screen drama. Dave Foley, who had left the group, “only appeared in the film because he was contractually obligated to.” And Paramount “begged” the team to remove the brief appearance of the Cancer Boy character; when they refused, the studio slashed the film’s advertising budget to “like, nothing.”
The Group Reunited for a Forgotten Sitcom
After their miniseries Death Comes to Town, but before the Amazon show, all the members of the group reunited for Dave Foley's short-lived Canadian sitcom Spun Out, playing former members of a goth rock band.
They Have a Star on Canada’s Walk of Fame
In 2008, the group was honored with a star on Canada's Walk of Fame, which is basically like getting a star on Hollywood's Walk of Fame, only cleaner and not as impressive.
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