The Good: Funny! Great comedic talent, Funny sketch comedy, Interesting bonuses
The Bad: As with all sketch comedy, some sketches flop.
The Basics: A surprisingly tight, well-written, well-conceived collection of sketch comedy from five men who have a knack for observing the weirdest bits of human nature comes to DVD with The Kids In The Hall Season One.
Sketch comedy, that is to say humor that uses short skits among a troupe of comics, is difficult to sustain. Saturday Night Live illustrates how difficult it can be every few years when the cast hits a low point and the talents who are on are consistently shooting blanks. From Lorne Michael, the man who brought the world Saturday Night Live comes a troupe that rivals Monty Python in raw talent and comic audacity. The Kids In the Hall first season contains some of the best, most edgy works of the HBO comedy show, with twenty complete episodes, the special and the Best of Season 1 all in one nice boxed set.
The Kids In the Hall is made up of five men who play out all sorts of ridiculous ideas for our amusement. Examples of sketches include the man with the cabbage for a head, a homosexual night club performer comparing genitals and ethnicities and drawing conclusions on both, two dull men who believe nobody likes them (so they decide to hang themselves outside the house of the person who declines their loan request), a man who looks through his fingers at distant people and pretends to crush their heads with his thumb and forefinger, and a man who does a monologue about how he is comfortable with menstruation.
Okay, it's pretty ridiculous to try to describe comic sketches. It's almost impossible to try to sell someone on this type of humor. Why? It is something that needs to be experienced, for one. The Kids In The Hall play off non-sequitors; they put two unlike things together and play with it for a few minutes, then they move onto an entirely different sequence where they try something else. More often than not, this group succeeds.
The reason that this DVD set is worth your money, outside being downright hilarious, is that it holds up remarkably well over time. Like Monty Python, the Kids In the Hall avoid topical humor of the day. So, instead of political jokes and humor that relies on knowing current celebrities of when the show was made, The Kids In the Hall make broader statements and poke fun at longer ranging political and social ideas. In short, because the Kids In the Hall are not making fun of current events, these sketches do not seem dated. They are still quite funny today.
The Kids In the Hall is comprised of five geniuses, most of whom would be familiar to those who enjoy movies and television today. Bruce McCulloch has an amazing ability to play young people, Kevin McDonald is a genius with body language and ridiculous voices and has guest starred on That 70’s Show, and Mark McKinney went from this sketch comedy group to Saturday Night Live.
Scott Thompson, the openly gay member of the troupe, is easily the most edgy. Thompson's performances in this set is what largely makes it appropriate only for adults. He is amazing at delivering absurd, acerbic and often offensive lines while maintaining a very calm facade. He went on to play in The Larry Sanders Show.
But perhaps the most successful since the end of The Kids In The Hall is David Foley, who was the star of NBC's Newsradio and Disney's A Bug's Life. Foley is also the most expressive and diverse member of the The Kids In The Hall, expanding many of his roles with a great variety of range and depth. He has the impressive ability to appear cheerful while discussing horrible things and absolutely depressed within seconds. He is a true comic genius and it is easy to see why he has had such a career after this show.
That is not to say that any of these people are not geniuses, they all are experts at comedy and this boxed set goes a long way to illustrating why they are going to be considered timeless and great beyond the limited audience that has already seen them on television. However, as I said previously, it's difficult to do a review on a DVD set, no matter how great, on a series of sketch comedy routines.
Perhaps the best function of this review would be to inform people that the Kids In the Hall are out on DVD, as it seems they are not well-advertised outside the Kids In the Hall website and many major retailers are not yet stocking this title. HEY, The KIDS IN THE HALL ARE OUT ON DVD!!!!!! GO BUY IT!
For other comedy series’, be sure to check out my reviews of:
Da Ali G Show
Studio 60 On The Sunset Strip
For other television reviews, please visit my Television Review Index Page for an organized listing of all the television episodes and boxed sets I have reviewed!
© 2012, 2004 W.L. Swarts. May not be reprinted without permission.
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