The Kids in the Hall

Everything About Fiction You Never Wanted to Know.
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(left to right) Bruce, Mark, Dave, Scott, and Kevin, quite possibly the five sexiest men in skirts.
"Hi there, I'm Scott Thompson, and for those of you who are wondering, yes, I'm the fag."
—Scott Thompson
"We've been coming here for 50 years and performing anal probes, and all that we have learned is that one in ten doesn't really seem to mind."
—Alien #1

Surreal, often transgressional Sketch Comedy show in the vein of Saturday Night Live and Monty Python's Flying Circus, two shows to which it is often compared. The show was in fact initiated and produced by Saturday Night Live mastermind Lorne Michaels. The show is often credited with kick-starting the Alternative Comedy boom of the 90s.

The five-man roster consists of Dave Foley, Kevin McDonald, Bruce McCulloch, Mark McKinney and Scott Thompson. Sketches revolved around a number of disparate topics but were just as likely to focus on the cast portraying themselves, albeit in odd situations. Monologues were given frequently. Guest stars were uncommon on the show and celebrities rarer still. The consistency of the sketches were quite variable and there was often a feel of being "in" on a jam session of talented comics in the process of finding out what worked and what didn't. For some, this enhanced the appeal of the show.

The hallmark of the series was that it was never afraid to go over the line when it came to people's comfort levels. The cast not only appeared in drag regularly, they often did so without any attempt to make the crossdressing the point of the skit. It was often bemoaned by Dave Foley that he looked so much better dressed as a woman... something that would form the basis of an episode of his later hit News Radio.

The series did air in the United States but it may surprise some to know that, as shocking as the series may have been to many, it was still sometimes heavily edited for content, particularly for religious topics.

The KITH band ended their show in 1995, and afterwards produced a feature film, Brain Candy, in 1996 to mixed reviews. The gang of five disbanded soon after, but later regrouped to do several tours and, in 2010, a miniseries ("Death Comes to Town"). The series remains a popular and memorable viewing experience in reruns.

In 2020, Amazon Prime Video announced they were making a new eight-episode series to be aired in May 2022, with the original cast returning and Lorne Michaels acting as the executive producer.

Tropes used in The Kids in the Hall include:

"Can you do it?"
"...I'm gonna need A LOT of money"

Mark: The memories, eh? They float in like ... like memories!

"Or it's a very wrong number. 42 rings? What kind of FREAK is sitting there by that phone?"

  • Fashion Hurts - A fashion designer from the first season revels in this trope.
  • Flamboyant Gay - Buddy Cole, played by the legitimately gay Scott Thomspon. The troupe often dealt humorously with the topic of homosexuality in a variety of ways.
  • Forced Perspective - "I'm crushing your head! Crush! Crush!"
  • Freudian Slippery Slope - One skit has a businessman asking his secretary to write a letter for him. He is unable to speak five words without mentioning breasts in some way, and eventually forms a sentence almost entirely out of words for breasts.
    • He can't dictate a letter to his next, male secretary without mentioning penises.
  • Gender Bender - Bend? They pretty much broke it. The troupe would play roles regardless of gender, orientation, fetish, or species. This would extend to vigorous simulated sex with each other, rarely seen in other shows before then. In fact, they would only have real women portray a big part if it was deemed the part needed a level of attractiveness/style they couldn't hope to pull off, which only happened a few times. At least until they got a bigger budget for the last few seasons.
  • Half-Human Hybrid: The Chicken Lady
  • Hey, It's That Guy!: A young Neve Campbell turns up in a sketch.
  • Hilariously Abusive Childhood - Daddy Drank
  • Hunter-Trapper - parodied, on dry land with businessmen's expensive suits as the goal rather than animal skins.
  • Hyde Plays Jekyll
  • Inspirationally Disadvantaged: the Oscar Bait sketch; 3 of the 4 actors nominated have some sort of handicap, including one with a railroad spike through his head. The fourth actor played Hamlet. It ends up being a three-way tie, with the Hamlet actor being left out.
  • Irony: Scott Thompson is quite openly gay but aside from Buddy Cole and appearances "as himself" in a few sketches he often portrayed straight characters while the other cast members took the "gay' roles.
  • Jail Bake: A skit made use of this trope, and adds dramatic tension with the guard asking if he can have a piece of cake, while the prisoner sweats, hoping the guard's knife doesn't touch the saw inside. Of course the tension is then taken to ridiculous heights with the guard eating most of the cake without finding the saw, leaving an obvious saw-shaped piece of the middle of the cake. The guard looks full and is about to give the cake to the prisoner, but then he decides to have one more piece... * clink* And then the kicker: the prisoner was getting out later that day and just wanted to make sure he wouldn't be late for an appointment, so he gets released while his friend gets locked up.
  • Jerkass With a Heart of Gold: Dave Foley in the skit where he welcomes a new guy at his company by telling horrible lies about him to the boss. Every single one of those helps him to connect with the boss and other employees and be accepted as one of them, such as telling the boss that the new guy sacrifices people to Satan, the boss cheering that everyone at the company does that and inviting him to the weekend's ritualistic murder. At the end, he punches the new guy in the stomach... who doubles over in pain and finds a fifty dollar bill on the floor.
  • Little-Known Facts: "It's A Fact" girl
  • Littlest Cancer Patient: "Hi, Doctor. I'm... Cancer Boy."
  • Madness Mantra - "whole lotta milka..."
    • "Sausages!"
    • "Seven things on my list, seven things on my list..."
  • Magical Queer: Buddy Cole in some sketches, sometimes employing actual magic (or at least sparklers).
  • Mistaken for Profound: Mark, Bruce, and Dave are sitting on a roof. Mark and Bruce take turns saying some things about the moon, Mark says something about romance, and Bruce says something like an angry beatnik poem. But when it's Dave's turn, he doesn't know what to say and just blurts out, "Gee, I wonder who owns that moon". Bruce and Mark act as though it's deep. Dave just shrugs and the skit ends.
  • Naked People Are Funny: The heart of a few skits, like one where an employee at a meeting won't stop giggling while going over his report, leading to the revelation that he wrote the whole thing while naked, much to the disgust of everyone else there.
  • Nightmare Fuel Station Attendant: The Chicken Lady, (natural) omelet-producing skills and all.
  • No Bisexuals
  • Noodle Incident: One involving a beaver is mentioned during the "Trappers" sketch. "WHERE WERE OUR HEADS?!"
    • Not really, since they're heavily implied to be French-Canadian voyageurs, and mention that they "must take care not to deplete the stock".
  • Not Now, Kiddo
  • One-Scene Wonder: Paul Bellini, though he does get a Day in The Limelight sketch in the "Touch Paul Bellini" contest.
    • He's credited as a writer on the show. He was probably the only one (other than the five cast members) willing to appear in public in nothing but a towel.
  • Perspective Magic: "I'm crushing your head!"
  • Poke the Poodle - The Pit of Ultimate Darkness
  • The Power of Rock - Satan and Bobby
  • Real Life Relative - Mark McKinney's brother Nick can be seen in a few sketches; The mothers of Kevin McDonald and Scott Thompson appeared as themselves in an episode.
  • Real Song Theme Tune: "Having an Average Weekend," by Shadowy Men on a Shadowy Planet, who also contributed other music to the show.
  • Reality Subtext - While filming Brain Candy - a movie about a medical researcher who develops a pill that cures depression - Kevin McDonald, who played the researcher, was going through a divorce and suffering from severe depression. In an interview he stated that it was very hard for him to even get up and on the set in the mornings and at times the director would yell "cut" and he would walk off-set and start crying.
  • Refuge in Audacity - Often, but especially in the sketch where the Kids discuss sketches that were too spicy to air, including: Adolf Hitler having his way with a donkey, and "that's not milk".
  • Right on Queue - Flying Pig
  • Rockers Smash Guitars - Dave after failing to prove folk was better than rock.
  • Rock Me, Asmodeus - Satan, a recurring character, once had a rock battle with a kid in a garage band.
  • Running Gag - So many. The show even ended its run on one, with a bit of a Lampshade Hanging.
  • Sarcasm Mode - A sketch revolved around a man who is stuck in Sarcasm Mode.
  • Serious Business - The game of squash to The Eradicator
  • Sketch Comedy
  • Stalker with a Crush - Kevin had his own—and she went so far as to send him a cassette full of stalker songs, most notably Every Breath You Take. [1]
  • Studio Audience - "Screw you, taxpayer!"
  • Subverted Rhyme Every Occasion - the "Dave's I Know" song
  • Suicide as Comedy - A sketch had a hit man hired to kill himself.
  • That's All, Folks! Final episode 'Thank God, that's finally over!'
  • Trademark Favorite Food - SAUSAGES!
  • The Trope Kid - "The Toronto Kid"
  • Umbrella Drink - The Girl Drink Drunk.
  • Video Inside, Film Outside
  • Vomiting Cop
  • Who's on First?
  • Wimp Fight - Dr. Cooper and Don Roritor's fight in Brain Candy. Corrinda Gablechuck and Heather Weather's "bar brawl" in Death Comes to Town also qualifies.
  • Zombie Apocalypse - Brilliantly deconstructed in a sketch parodying zombie horror films, with an apathetic couple being chased by two bored-looking zombies who are easily killed by the female's ever-respawning shoes.

Mark:...we're safe, but for how long.