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The Kids in the Hall are back and getting along. ‘This time we’re not lying’

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TORONTO — It seems the Kids are all right.

Infighting between members of the Canadian sketch comedy troupe The Kids in the Hall has been well-documented over the years, but as they promote their new Amazon Prime Video reboot of their original series, Dave Foley insists they “get along.”

“We would say that anyway, but this time we’re not lying,” fellow troupe member Kevin McDonald addedin a video interview with Foley.

“We still fight and we still backstab each other, but that’s the way we work,” agreedFoley.

“I always say when I’m on set: ‘Backstab away, just don’t tell me. Never ever tell me.’ And we’re OK,” jested McDonald.

Debuting May 13, the new Toronto-shot series is named after the original sketch series “The Kids in the Hall,” which aired from 1989 to 1995 on CBC. It also ran on CBS and HBO in the United States.

Joining it on the streaming service on May 20 and following its own premiere on Tuesday this week at the Hot Docs festival in Toronto is “The Kids in the Hall: Comedy Punks,” a two-part documentary on the troupe’s past, present and future directed by Reg Harkema.

The doc includes archival footage, behind-the-scenes clips, and interviews with comedy legends who all took inspiration from the beloved Canadian troupe.

As Harkema noted at a Hot Docs press conference in March, he felt “proud” to examine the group’s impact on other well-known comics who have long seen The Kids in the Hall as “personalities that broke open a window to the (comedy) world for them.”

The fivesome, which also includes Bruce McCulloch, Mark McKinney and Scott Thompson, originally timed the comeback fortheir 30th anniversary in 2019.

“But then a different pandemic called The Kids in the Hall’s Inability to Make a Decision happened, so it took a little longer,” said Foley, citing delays including a longing to reunitewith the Lorne Michaels-founded production company Broadway Video, and find a global platform.

McDonald said they started writing the series before the COVID-19 pandemic hitand had to take a year off before resuming due to lockdowns.

Rounding up the gang again was like wrangling cats, they said.

“Cats that all have individual representation,” Foley said.

“And ex-wives,” added McDonald.

“Multiple ex-wives,” jested Foley.

“The Kids in the Hall” started in 1984 and pushed the boundaries of TV comedy, with cast members in drag and sketches that tackled heavy topics, including religion and sexuality.

“I always feel I’m a better person when I play a woman,” said Montreal-born McDonald, whose other credits include the Fox sitcom “That ’70s Show.”

“I’m smarter, I’m kinder to people. So it’s always fun — besides the three-hour makeup process.”

Memorable Kids in the Hall characters have included McKinney’s Headcrusher and Chicken Lady, Thompson as the Queen, McCulloch’s Cabbage Head, and Foley and McDonald as the Sizzler Sisters.

The new series will have a “very low quotient of nostalgia,” said Foley, noting they’re “basically just pursuing new ideas and new material.”

“Are we allowed to say characters? I don’t know if we’re allowed to say,” said McDonald, to which Foley quipped: “Allowed? We don’t follow no stinking rules.”

McDonald then let it slip that Thompson’s gay socialite character Buddy Cole likely returns, as do Toronto police officers played by McCulloch and McKinney.

The new eight-episode series was shot in studio and outside locations.

The proliferation of short comedy sketches on social media platforms including TikTok didn’t influence the length of their material, they said, noting a sketch comedy show should be short anyway.

“This is going to shock you: I’ve never looked at TikTok,” said Foley, to which McDonald said he hadn’t either.

The Kids continued to collaborate after the original series ended, reuniting for the 1996 comedy film “Brain Candy,” several tours and the 2010 CBC miniseries “Death Comes to Town.”

But, as Paul Myers wrote in his 2018 book “The Kids in the Hall: One Dumb Guy,” it wasn’t always friendly.

Myers said Foley and McDonald sometimes fought with McKinney and McCulloch, while Thompson was a mediator of sorts. Foley once quit the troupe, resulting in tension on the set of “Brain Candy.”

But since 2000, they happily get together every three or four years to do something, says McDonald, likening their run now to “a B-movie version of Monty Python’s career.”

“I refer to it not as a reunion but a relapse,” jested Toronto-raised Foley, whose other credits include the series “NewsRadio,” “Hot in Cleveland” and “Celebrity Poker Showdown.”

“Yes. It’s a relapse. In a way, we’re drinking again and it feels good,” added McDonald.

“In between those three or four years, I look forward to it all the time. And I’m never disappointed. I’m always thinking ‘Oh, we’re funny. Oh, we love and get mad at each other the same way that we always do.'”

As long as there are no mirrors in the room, they always feel like they’re still “angry 20-year-old comedians,” said Foley.

McDonald agreed.

“Even when we’re about to look at the editing and I’m about to see a scene with Dave and I, I imagine I’m going to see skinny, crazy-haired Kevin and young Dave — and I always get shocked,” added McDonald. “I’m still always shocked when I see footage of us and we don’t look like we did.”

Said Foley: “Because we still act like we did.”

-With files from Sadaf Ahsan

This report by The Canadian Press was first published May 3, 2022.

Victoria Ahearn, The Canadian Press

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Glenn Anderson adds some colour to the “Day of Golf”

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Last week, the 32nd edition of the Glenn Anderson Day of Golf raised an incredible amount of money … in fact more than $832 thousand dollars!  Chances are as the numbers are tallied up, that total will be near $900K!  That’s a big deal and the money raised will fund cancer research. Congratulations to the organizers and a shout out to the Derrick Club who did an amazing job of hosting the event.

But today’s story is more about Glenn Anderson.  A class act, Anderson travels up to Edmonton from Florida each year to help make this event a roaring success.  He told some great stories at a reception the night before the tournament. If you’re an Oilers fan, you’ll enjoy this video!

Click here to watch the video. 

 

 

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CRTC renews CBC licensing for another five years, tweaks its mandate

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By Sarah Ritchie in Ottawa

The Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission said Wednesday that it is renewing CBC’s licensing, with tweaks to its mandate that will make it spend money on programming produced by people with disabilities, Indigenous and racialized people and the LGBTQ community.

It’s also clarifying that it “expects the CBC to maintain local, regional and national news broadcasts in a crisis or emergency on all of its audiovisual and audio services.”

That’s in response to the broadcaster’s decision to replace local supper-hour and late newscasts across the country with its national programming in the early days of the pandemic.

CBC said at the time that it was dealing with staffing issues as some workers were off sick with COVID-19 and others were in isolation. The CRTC noted in its decision that the pandemic has increased demand for news, and “Canadians expect the CBC to disseminate and make available information in the event of an emergency.”

The CRTC is dropping the requirement for CBC to maintain minimum thresholds of local programming in urban markets where Canadians have multiple options, but it’s maintaining those thresholds in rural parts of the country.

The CBC asked to reduce the number of hours of local TV programming it needs to air per week in its English markets across the board, and to make that up in digital content.

The CRTC noted that actual hours of local programming on English TV stations dropped between 2014 and 2020, although they still meet the minimum requirements.

It said there is a higher risk that less local news would be broadcast in non-metropolitan markets if those requirements are dropped, naming “difficult access to high-speed internet” and “the lack of news bureaus in non-metropolitan areas” as reasons.

The commission says there has been a great deal of change in the media landscape since 2013, the last time the licence was renewed, and it’s making changes to the CBC mandate to align with that.

It’s setting out new rules to ensure the difference between news and information programming and “branded content” or advertising is clearly distinguished.

CBC will need to submit new reports to the CRTC on a range of topics including workforce diversity, privacy issues and perception and consultation.

The CRTC decision also noted the CBC’s digital streaming services for audio and video didn’t exist, or didn’t exist in their current form, when the last licensing agreement was made.

“As part of its proposal, the CBC requested that it be able to count hours of content exhibited on some of its (digital media broadcasting undertakings) toward meeting its overall content exhibition requirements,” the decision said.

However, the commission is instead including that digital content in the broadcaster’s spending requirements on Canadian programming, giving the CBC the flexibility to count the cost of online content toward those quotas.

CBC and Radio-Canada’s president and CEO said the broadcaster welcomes the CRTC announcement.

“We’re pleased that the CRTC has, for the first time ever, recognized the significant contribution of our digital streaming services … to the Canadian content ecosystem,” Catherine Tait said in a statement on Wednesday.

The main outcomes covered by the mandate include programming for Indigenous Peoples and diverse Canadians; creating and supporting access to Canadian content; ensuring access to local, regional and national news and information; accessibility of content; and accountability and transparency to the public.

Licences for radio, TV and multiplatform content in both English and French are valid until August 2027.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published June 22, 2022.

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