Every ‘Kids in the Hall’ Revival Sketch, Ranked

The Kids in the Hall’s legion of pricks waited 27 years (or one 501 streetcar in Toronto) for season six of head-crushingly good fun. They got more than that: With their new season, Canada’s alternative-comedy greats deliver surprising laughs, justify their return, and make a compelling case for their revival series to continue.

Yes, favorite characters including Buddy Cole return and you can bet that Shadowy Men on a Shadowy Planet’s twang-a-lang-a-lang-a-lang opens every episode, but the Kids equally delight with new personas, absurdities, and avant-garde moments in the mix.

Across eight episodes, Dave Foley, Bruce McCulloch, Kevin McDonald, Mark McKinney, and Scott Thompson skewer their sexagenarian status, impolite and evil Amazon money, cops and other hateful babies, gay culture, straight culture, cultural appropriation, doomsday, and so much more that we just had to rank every single sketch in the revival.

Now some ground rules. First, there are spoilers ahead, so be warned that twists and dongs will jump out on this list as much as they do in the season. Second, multipart sketches such as “Super Drunk” and “Don and Marv” are grouped together. Third, always put salt in your eyes.

Photo: Amazon Studios

“Friends of Kids in the Hall,” a means for longtime friends and fans of the Kids to support the revival from a distance, doesn’t live up to the rest of the show. Mark Hamill’s standout segment captures it best: He’s stoked to be in a Kids in the Hall episode, then bummed that it’s only for a quick, remotely shot cameo. Honorable mentions go to Catherine O’Hara microdosing, Kenan Thompson crashing someone’s house, and Will Forte writing poems about his mother’s death even though she’s very much alive.

Who likes to boogie and learn about new products? McKinney and McCulloch’s snake-oil salesmen return for the gross-out scheme “Gut Spigot,” a faucet shoved into your gut to drain fat like it’s tap water. McKinney can’t help but slip back into Glenn from Superstore as he and McCulloch do their darndest to promote their problematic innovation as both a weight-loss device and fuel substitute for “Amuricah’s” cars. “Gut Spigot” doesn’t have the same money momentum as their past schemes, but it goes to show that the Calgary cohort of the Kids is capable of selling anything.

Photo: Amazon Studios

“Much Too Much” is a stronger production than an overall sketch. It’s a beautifully shot black-and-white short concerning McDonald’s long-winded complaints to his serene wife as played by Foley in drag. She, deserving much better than a husband who gets his hand stuck in the bird feeder, ultimately leaves McDonald for Thompson’s hot lifeguard. So, too, will you leave this sketch for much stronger Foley-McDonald romances to come.

Drag experts that the Kids are, “Surprise” shows us the prettiest that McDonald has looked as a woman. He and Foley play a couple with mismatched home-ownership ambitions arguing over Foley’s impulsive decision to buy a rickety new home and sell their abode. The funniest moments come from Foley and McDonald’s combative chemistry and Foley touting the “dream” home’s clear red flags as perks. Black mold anyone?

“Speed Racer” is mainly an extended sight gag of McCulloch out for a rip — only instead of on a Harley, it’s in his worn-out armchair. Channeling Danny Zuko meets deadbeat dad, McKinney challenges McCulloch to a good old-fashioned race — his vintage car against McCulloch’s Kleenex-and-Cheeziesmobile. Sadly, this 1995 corduroy wheeler with 200,000 miles on her is less fast and furious. More last and delirious.

Photo: Amazon Studios

“Dipping Areas” heroes Rory, Tory, Dory, and Cory are back to resolve another restaurant quibble — this time over an “Employees Must Wash Hair Before Pooping” sign. With all the posh folly of “The Emperor’s New Clothes,” the group tries and fails to rationalize just why the rule is so. In one of his last roles, the late Kenneth Welsh guest stars as a surly kitchen staffer blaming it all on the government. Cory diligently goes straight to the sign-shop source for the answer only to discover the sign was an April Fools’ Day prank that all the -orys took far too seriously. At least their bottoms are in tip-top shape.

In the grand tradition of “The Daves I Know,” “Terriers,” and “Roses,” McCulloch treats us to a new bizarro anthem. If “Daves” is Aja, “I’m Not Crazy, I Just Lost My Glasses” is Gaucho — disintegrating from mildly convincing to wildly chaotic as our polka-dotted singer dodges his landlord, loses his girlfriend, and runs from NASA. Colorful dancing and a memorable assist from Tracy Ryan, McCulloch’s real-world wife, make this number all the more charming. It’s part Devo, part delusion, and all Brucio goodness.

Photo: Amazon Studios

McKinney and Foley reprise their Brain Candy characters Don and Marv to comment on their revival on Amazon’s dime. It’s a fitting Greek chorus considering Roritor, much like Amazon, abuses and antagonizes workers to squeeze out as much profit as possible. Don even muses whether Roritor is a toxic workplace as an intern fights Marv for his entertainment. Evil as Don is, his dance moves are a thing of comedic beauty. Spin me, Marv!

Sending up citizen vigilantes, McKinney embarks on a vague night patrol, because “something’s just not right in the neighborhood” and “somebody oughta do something.” He meets his demise not because of people who throw away perfectly good TVs, misspell signs, or keep their cats alive too long but at the BBQ tongs of another patrolman. Surprise, surprise. The conspiracy mindset got these patrolling patrollers nowhere.

“Aconselhamento de Casais” is the sexiest that couples counseling has ever sounded. Even lovers as passionate as Thompson’s Francesca Fiore and Foley’s Bruno Puntz Jones need help sometimes. McDonald’s therapist makes a horny suggestion: pre-sex before their actual lovemaking to loosen up. True to femme fatale Fiore’s ambiguity, the best gag is the setting constantly changing locations — from Paris to New York to a beachfront. It leaves you wanting more Fiore power, but at least it’s foreplay.

Photo: Amazon Studios

What the turnip is going on? Of all the Kids’ characters to return, only someone on “the pot” 300 times could’ve seen the second coming of Taddli, McKinney’s righteous man-child from a one-off Saturday Night Live sketch in 1996. With his magical pink chair of “Knowledge Lessons,” Taddli tells dum-dums (including guest star Jay Baruchel) how to really live their best lives: no smoking, yes recycling, only dancing on Tuesdays, and setting high standards.

A.T. & Love’s descent into cultural appropriation is a long walk (especially in clown shoes) with an amusing twist. Thompson’s Danny Husk confidently flaunts his new circus kicks in the office only to be fired by Foley’s boss for cultural appropriation. The complainant? None other than a very pissed off Bingo the Clown. It goes to show the array of deep-cut characters the Kids are willing to bring back to douse the present — seltzer and all. What’s more, the boss finally gets axed himself for wearing Dutch clogs. However, their racist drivel on the way out falls flat, so we gotta side with Bingo here.

Photo: Amazon Studios

“The Curse” does more table-setting for the revival than it pulls punches, but the Kids’ attention to detail will please longtime fans. Thanks to a $1 VHS sale, the Kids’ cult movie, Brain Candy, finally breaks even and ends the curse, enabling Don and Marv to resurrect the Kids themselves. It’s pure joy seeing Paul Bellini awaken the troupe from the very graves where they were laid to rest in 1995 — even as the Kids realize their cuteness stock has dropped significantly in 27 years. As Bellini quips in his signature white towel, you asked for it.

In “Cliffhanger,” the Kids mock the specter of producer interference — specifically the pressure to write a cliffhanger to woo a Gen-Z audience. Their response? A meta sketch that dares to achieve neither. We begin with the troupe studying a caged teen in their lab chuckling over his smartphone. McKinney’s intense character points out a troubling paradox between comedy and research: Comedy flows from conflict to resolution, yet a cliffhanger withholds that very button. Will The Kids in the Hall get a season seven? Will the troupe be canceled literally and/or culturally? Will everyone finally stop saying “cheugy”? To be continued!

Secretary sweethearts Cathy and Kathie are back, giddily reuniting at the office for the first time in years. Thompson and McCulloch’s work wifeys have the bittersweet honor of sending the last fax — not just at A.T. & Love but, apparently, on the whole planet. Just when their gab gets long-winded, the Kids strike bizarro gold by cutting to McDonald and Foley dressed as grotesque aliens gleefully celebrating the end of Earth’s fax-machine-defense system with a strike order.

Photo: Amazon Studios

Errrrrrradicator! After a horrific squash accident, McCulloch’s masked antagonist awakens from a 20-year coma to bring a new generation of opponents to their doom. Among them are Vance Banzo and Guled Abdi of the very funny Toronto sketch group TallBoyz II Men (their own show, directed by McCulloch, is worth your time). In one of the Kids’ few direct pandemic references, the Eradicator mistakes everyone’s masks as a sign of his impact on the squash-loving public. You will be amused — if not eradicated.

Set in 1975, “The Professor” features a gay couple in a very sexy crisis. Thompson and Foley reveal to McKinney’s titular professor and McDonald that they’re having relationship issues because — gasp! — a woman has come between them. Foley plays double duty as Thompson’s tumultuous lover and the professor’s Swedish niece who can only speak in obscenities. She could be a skit of her own, but in true Kids fashion, “The Professor” is a multilayered orgy of fun.

Photo: Amazon Studios

Among his goony talents, McDonald excels at complaining and making a single word funny. “Lukewarm” combines the two in the perfect McDonald character: a picky bather who’ll stop at nothing until his superintendent finally makes his bath water “hot-hot!” McDonald’s buck-naked quest for the perfect dip is taken further by guest star Eddie Izzard, who hilariously plays a repairman more into tub-hopping than actual maintenance work. Izzard’s cameo is so fun that it makes you wish the “Friends of Kids in the Hall” weren’t relegated to remote status.

Foley plays a snide spiritual successor to his “Bad Doctor” — boasting just a sliver of added qualifications. He proudly tells McDonald and Thompson’s expectant couple that his drop average is an impressive 39 percent (out of 100 babies delivered, only 39 of them fall on the floor). “Drop Average” makes for slippery slapstick and banter — complete with Foley lassoing their newborn girl by the umbilical cord to keep his stats up. It’s the best comically fake baby cinema since American Sniper.

“60 on the Pole” features all five Kids playing geriatric strippers to the best of their deteriorating ability — a feat of physical comedy. In their slutty sexagenarian playground, landlines and measuring tape are phallic symbols, TV and cable remotes are sex toys, and Canada’s loonie and toonie coins are lethal tender when hurled at the poor old fellas. While McCulloch’s balls hang low, the Kids’ and their fans’ one-liners (“He’s a father figure and has a father figure!”) shoot high.

Photo: Amazon Studios

Cleverly shot as a smartphone home movie, “Fran and Gordon” reunites McCulloch’s Gordon and Thompson’s Fran for a 40th-wedding-anniversary surprise: Gordon vows to finally carry Fran over the threshold. It backfires with all the romance of a football tackle — escalating with the pair getting wheeled into his and hers ambulances. Fran and Gordon try to keep the romance alive in the hospital bed with some good, clean knee s-e-x, only to be foiled yet again. Foley’s interruptions as their perpetually teenage son, Brian, make for good punch-ups, as does a neighborly cameo by Kim’s Convenience star Paul Sun-Hyung Lee.

No cops at Pride. Especially not these idiot pigs. The Kids have a knack for revealing societal truths through absurdity, and they haven’t spared police for close to 40 years. McCulloch and McKinney reinstate their boys in blue to give us yet another reason why cops aren’t welcome: Their marching sucks. McCulloch awkwardly flails his arms and sashays his hips, prompting McKinney to demonstrate a “better” chin-down, chest-out, gut-first march that’s exponentially worse. As Butch once said on the Steps, we don’t even need cops.

Photo: Amazon Studios

Two words: invisible gun. McKinney’s action turn with hilarious “weapons” is less sketch, more Michael Bay movie. In “Assassin” (emphasis on the ass), his alter ego is ordered to kill anyone who dares utter the crappy joke “He said doo doo,” ultimately turning on his own toilet-bound boss with an invisible knife. McKinney’s character work is in full force, nearly fooling you into thinking his gruff hit man and wailing boss are two different people. Watching his ass-ass-in cycle through endless disguises — from ringmaster to baseball star — is, likewise, a delight.

Photo: Amazon Studios

Gay icon Buddy Cole takes center stage in “The Last Gloryhole,” Thompson’s sharp send-up of Toronto’s condo circle jerk. After discovering his former bathhouse haunt is a victim of gentrification, Buddy agrees to help its magical, talking, last glory hole become a national monument through the help of his friend — the Queen herself. Thompson’s Liz impression is still spot on, reciting a come-memorative speech that’s just throbbing with puns. Complete with Paul Bellini, Lil Nas X’s “Montero (Call Me by Your Name),” and Buddy’s wish come true, “The Last Gloryhole” leaves a lasting impression. To “déjà vu-vu” indeed.

“Imaginary Girlfriend” features McDonald and Foley doing what they do best: bickering feverishly over everyday absurdities. Here, Foley thinks his imaginary girlfriend is cheating on him and discovers an affair between his make-believe lady and McDonald. “Imaginary Girlfriend” works as long as it does thanks to melodramatic lighting cues and the pair’s unshakable commitment to treating the frivolous with seriousness — especially Foley’s moment-of-truth line: “You’ve been imagining my imaginary girlfriend?!”

Photo: Amazon Studios

If you’re still thinking about Tony, this is the sketch for you. Thompson and McKinney revive their ditzy and depressed hotel guests for an amusing new dilemma: finding the will to leave the couch and grab their iPad to order bonbons. As always, Sylvie and Michelle are beautifully, hopelessly, seductively trapped in their rut. Not even Foley’s Jean-Pierre can save them — his legs comically shrunk after months of lounging under his paramours. Unlike this tragic ménage à trois, “Hotel La Rut” redux successfully avoids monotony. Speaking of Tony …

This is a hateful baby and a hilarious sketch. Foley and McDonald are eager to meet McCulloch and McKinney’s newborn, only to be repulsed by the immense darkness radiating from their swaddled child. McDonald and Foley one-up themselves as they list all the reasons why they could never care for McKinney and McCulloch’s hell-spawn — from selling IUDs to being meth heads. “The Baby” features the Kids in excellent writing form with laugh-out-loud one-liners including McCulloch’s “Oh, you are not meth heads! No, you use it socially and alone in your cars — like we all do.”

Photo: Amazon Studios

One of the Kids’ greatest strengths is turning a simple premise into surrealist art. “Flags of Mark” is a strong addition to their filmic roster, warping the struggle of finding friends in a crowd into an avant-garde romp complete with interpretive dancers. McKinney’s narrating head floats above the scene, in megalomaniac splendor, distributing flags of Mark to friends of Mark so they can all talk about how great Mark is. Thompson, McDonald, McCulloch, and Foley make hysterical devotees — writhing in black-and-white, abstract, elbow-bumping hell for the love of Mark. This jostling is madness as much as it is brilliant.

“We’re Having a Baby” is a deliciously twisted Russian doll of reveals. Foley and guest star Catherine Reitman are horrified to discover they’re expecting not just a boy but a mouse boy at their lovey-dovey gender-reveal party. We soon discover why through an unbelievably cursed flashback to a mouse beside a stained vibrator at the moment of conception. Better yet, it turns out this Maury-worthy vignette is yet another long-winded story from Gavin, McCulloch’s kiddie persona who’s still as annoying as he is adorable. It’s one hell of a Mickey Mouse–origin story and a refresh of a classic troupe character.

Photo: Amazon Studios

The Kids previewed “Foodie’s Tarte” during their SXSW panel, where Thompson revealed he had to fight to get the sketch in. Thank goodness he did, because his and McKinney’s sequel to “Dipping Areas” is simply superb. The Kids’ dessert-obsessed restaurant staff is back and aghast that McDonald’s customer keeps calling their “tarte de bleu-berry sauvage” a pie. The horror! With the utmost pretension, members of the waitstaff mull over their options, including stoning McDonald with artisanal cheeses or burning the place down. It’s an over-the-top melodrama made all the more funny in production — from Thompson’s slo-mo tarte prep to soap-opera music cues.

Photo: Amazon Studios

McKinney shines in the ridiculousness of “My Card.” Playing an old-timey dandy who’s eager to make mustachioed friends, McKinney keeps exchanging business cards with men whose ticklers top his own — only to amass a roster of murderous soup strainers. Whose Line Is It Anyway? king Colin Mochrie guest stars as an increasingly irate copper barging into McKinney’s home to inform him that his card has been discovered on yet another foppish killer. Not since American Psycho have business cards seen so much dramatic splendor.

One of McDonald and Foley’s strong suits is taking a piss on sketch comedy itself. “Antique” wonderfully collapses in on itself, morphing from antique-shop characters bartering over a McDonald skit on VHS to Foley’s character realizing that he is, in fact, Dave Foley in a Kevin McDonald skit. McDonald starts to read his own script out loud, relishing in his love of all things self-referential, finger-wagging, and in crazy high voices. It’s a sequel of sorts to “Raise,” another Foley and McDonald pairing, in which their characters are trapped in a sketch because Foley forgot to write an ending. This zaniness right here is why McDonald is big in France.

Photo: Amazon Studios

While the titular Super Drunk only sometimes wins, McCulloch certainly does in this three-act alcoholic adventure. It’s a worthy entry into the Kids’ roasts of boozing fathers — from “Daddy Drank” to “Becoming a Man.” Here, McCulloch plays a twice-divorced dad who gains super strength when he’s super drunk, fighting crime (unless he’s pissing) with all the comic flourishes of Adam West–era Batman. McKinney’s beloved Headcrusher returns as the main villain threatening to crush “Toronto’s only landmark,” the CN Tower. Against all odds and, certainly, his liver, Super Drunk saves the day.

Photo: Amazon Studios

Watch out, “Pear Dream”! “Bananas” is an outstanding nightmare. Thompson manages to clear out a house party with the exception of McDonald, who accuses Thompson of arranging an excessive amount of bananas not to ripen to prevent the Banana Demon of Trafalgar 7 from striking. Thompson admits to his real motivation, but alas, he and McDonald forget the proper banana arrangement and end up summoning a slew of Banana Demons. Before you know it, Thompson is doomed to entertain yet another party of creatures demanding beerbeerbeerbeer! “Bananas” is so hilarious that you’ll actually want to be crushed on the Day of the Demon.

“Money Mart” is the second sketch of the revival — revealing itself as the Kids’ answer to the question “Will they still go there?” Let Foley and McDonald’s full-frontal swinging dicks remove any doubt. They play robbers with an absurd idea to beat the heat: Get buck naked to avoid the manhunt for clothed suspects. As soon as McCulloch and McKinney’s dim-witted cop duo returns to the screen, you realize that the criminals actually stand a chance of escaping. Thanks to their sharp-tongued dialogue and increasing absurdity, the Kids manage to elevate a nude gimmick into comedy gold.

Photo: Amazon Studios

Enter “Get thee to the fucking Metro, you fuck!” into the canon of Shakespeare’s greatest lines. McKinney and Foley feature in the surreal tale of a stan who brings the bard back to life only for Shakespeare to become his asshole roommate. Better yet, Foley is a living bust whose resurrection is soon met with blood and guts gushing out of his, uh, lack of appendages. The Kids’ Shakespeare is gross-out chaotic gold that gets more and more ridiculous at every turn. Not even Menudo is safe.

As Brain Candy shows, McDonald and cats is a winning combo. Cookie and Mr. Sparks are the deceptively adorable names of his murderous cats, who will stop at nothing until their lonely loser owner is dead. McKinney does an excellent McDonald impression — only to meet his maker facedown in a litter box. Thompson and McCulloch play a cop duo and nearly steal the show with their banter. It’s “All Cops Are Bastards” meets “All Cats Are Beautiful.”

Photo: Amazon Studios

They say comedy equals tragedy plus time, but “Ambumblance” makes a strong case for big laughs right as the ambulance rolls in. Or, rather, the “ambumblance.” McKinney plays a pop-pop who collapses while chasing his grandson around a tree. Pop-pop insists he needs an “ambumblance,” leading to a hilarious mix-up between the kid (played adorably by Lucas Nguyen) and the Kids. McCulloch’s and Thompson’s physical comedy together is top-notch. So put on your shoes, put on your pants, and sing along to “Ambumblance”!

Sorry to the rest of humanity, but a postapocalyptic future brought out Foley’s finest dramatic performance of the series. As the pained radio host of Motormouth in the Morning, Foley’s DJ tries his darndest to hype the survivors of a DNA bombing with what appears to be his only record left: Melanie’s 1971 folk-pop hit, “Brand New Key.” It’s a steady drip of bleak humor through the bunker ceiling that captures the Zeitgeist in perfect Kids fashion. We are all the Doomsday DJ. Trapped in nostalgic purgatory at the end of the world.

Photo: Amazon Studios

“Masturbation Policy” is one of the best satires of our chained-to-Zoom life — shockingly funny even two years into the pandemic. Skewering the likes of CNN-employed workplace masturbator Jeffrey Toobin, A.T. & Love reveals it has the technology to alert the entire Zoom call when someone is jacking it. Everything backfires quickly as Thompson’s Danny Husk gets increasingly turned on — leading to a climactic ending in every sense of the word. Actress Hannan Younis deserves credit for matching the comedic intensity of the Kids going to town. All in favor of flying solo but in formation, say “Aye.”

https://www.vulture.com/2022/05/best-kids-in-the-hall-revival-sketches-ranked.html Every ‘Kids in the Hall’ Revival Sketch, Ranked

Lindsay Lowe

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