Stage left, indeed

Apr 3, 2002 at 12:00 am

The Kids in the Hall — “kids” who were pushing 30 when their sketch comedy show first launched way back when Milli Vanilli was climbing the charts — are once again touring as a unit (not so fast, Scott Thompson fans). So where have these Kids been if not in the hallowed Hall of Canadian comic genius? Certainly, anyone who has seen “This Hour Has 22 Minutes” (is that crap still on?) will tell you that there’s quite a void these days in CBC’s televised cahmidy, aye? Ever since the 1996 film Kids in the Hall: Brain Candy bombed enough to truly earn its status as a cult gem, our favorite cross-dressin’ Canucks have had various solo successes, never quite matching their earlier kinetic grace.

Bruce McCulloch is a director now, but ears weren’t the only things flopping in his 1998 film, Dog Park. And 1999’s Superstar — another Wayne’s World wannabe with Molly Shannon of “Saturday Night Live” — probably made McCulloch’s fans nervous enough to stick their collective fingers in their sweaty armpits and smell them really quickly, like thisss. … After 1995’s shamefully underappreciated Shame-Based Man, Bruce’s comedic songwriting was sonically drowned out by people like that unashamed man-child, Adam Sandler. And for those who didn’t like Shame-Based Man, maybe you’d be more comfortable with a Depeche Mode album. (If you were a real Doors fan, you’d understand.)

Kid Mark McKinney had a stint on “Saturday Night Live,” his most notable role being the “good night” waver — sort of an expanded version of the “KITH” skit “The high-fivin’ white guys” wherein Mark finally got to meet the show’s host around 1 a.m. It seemed as though Mark’s colleagues had been giggling behind his back, calling him “temp” (Tanya, anyone?). McKinney is doing theater these days and taking a much-needed break from the high pressure that comes from constantly wanting to crush Lorne Michaels’ head … not to mention Tom Hanks, Alec Baldwin and that flat-head Gwyneth Paltrow.

Dave Foley was a cast member on the consistently good-to-excellent “News Radio” (Phil Hartman RIP). Following in the wake of Woody Allen’s Antz performance, Foley lent his voice to Disney’s A Bug’s Life. And who can forget Foley’s courageous cinematic breakthrough in 1994’s It’s Pat; a film where, for once, Foley’s extensive cross-dressing résumé paid off as he portrayed “Chris,” Pat’s equally gender-bent “paaartnerrrr-eeeehhhh” (to be read with nasaly Pat voice)? One should also note that Foley, who once switched Cathy-with-a-C's coffee to decaf — and on a Monday, no less — recently called his 50-cup-a-day coffee habit “a conservative estimate.” Oh, cruel irony!

Scott Thompson went on to co-write The Autobiography of Buddy Cole with the stoic, towel-wearing “KITH” writer Paul Bellini (see also: “Bellini Day” and the “Win a Date With Bellini contest”). Even on a personal level, Thompson remains comical as someone who has literally made a career out of being gay, yet publicly admits that he’s “over anything associated with being gay … with the exception of actual gay sex.” The 2000 “KITH” tour found Scott showing up late for rehearsals and demanding that the producers buy a robotic dog to be his assistant. After trying in vain to get Sony to sponsor his “Aibo,” Thompson finally broke down and bought one on eBay for three grand. As of press time, the “dog” could not be confirmed for “Tour of Duty 2002.”

As for Kevin McDonald, the least appreciated Kid, he always gets the shaft (really, Scott Thompson fans, stop yourselves!). So who am I to distract from any surprises he might have saved for the stage show with an update? Certainly, he’s had a lot of free time to work on new material.

The Kids in the Hall will take the stage at the State Theatre (2115 Woodward, Detroit) Sunday, April 7. Check our online calendar of events or call 313-961-5450 for information.

Robert Gorell covers the beat for Metro Times. E-mail him at [email protected]