Kids in the Hall: 5 Nutso Behind-The-Scenes Stories
The Kids are back in town! The Kids in the Hall revival on Amazon drops today, giving us a perfect excuse to look back at some behind-the-scenes stories that are guaranteed to crush your head.
Let’s have some Canadian comedy fun, shall we?
Siskel and Ebert Almost Threw Down Over Brain Candy
The old Siskel & Ebert TV show was built on the premise that its two opinionated critics would disagree about movies. But there’s fun-loving friction and then there’s this:
Siskel thinks “this is very funny stuff” before Ebert weighs in with his assessment: “I thought this movie was awful! Dreadful! Terrible! Stupid! Idiotic! Unfunny! Labored! Forced! Painful!” The two reviews are so wildly different that Ebert just wants to move on.
Ebert: We can’t talk about it!
Siskel: We get paid to talk about it, Roger.
The final verdict: Siskel thinks it was an outrageous comedy, Ebert was just outraged.
Buddy Cole Was A Political Act
Scott Thompson’s Buddy Cole character felt downright dangerous in the 1980s.
“I was working very hard to hide all of the things inside of me that gave away to the world that I was gay,” reveals Thompson. “Because for my generation, it was absolutely deadly to be known as gay. Either you'd be beat up or you die of AIDS.”
That all changed with Buddy, a character Thompson based on a man he was dating. Instead of hiding, Thompson embraced the stereotypes as a form of political protest.
“I knew that when I talked in that kind of a voice it made people listen because people are conditioned to take that voice not seriously. People don't take feminine men seriously,” says Thompson. “Particularly in my generation, all gay characters were basically ridiculed. And the difference with Buddy is, he ridiculed. Nobody ridicules Buddy Cole.”
A Rejected Sketch Was Cruel to Critters
All comedy groups have sketches rejected by various members of the powers-that-be. In the case of Kids in the Hall, it was a cat-loving producer.
“It involved this guy who was looking for his cat while his cat was bouncing off various windshields on the superhighway,” says Mark McKinney. “I thought it was really funny, getting snatches of different conversations while this cat gets reduced from a cat body down to a scrap of bloody fur, and cutting it with this guy going, "Where is little Trixie?" But a lot of people found that really cruel. And it probably is.”
The Kids Fought Like, Well, Kids
While the members of KITH all remain friendly, the group was famous for infighting during its earlier days. What was the reason?
“Because we're all bastards, really,” remembers Dave Foley. “Everyone felt that the other four were crazy and stupid. You had to fight to get your stuff through the filter of the group and convince everybody that what you were doing was funny.”
“Every week, there was a different pair fighting,” says Kevin McDonald, “which I think is the dynamic of being a close-knit group like that.”
“When you're five men in your testosterone 20s, fighting for your piece of cheese, and you're all creative, you're going to have some fights,” confirms Mark McKinney.
Cancer Boy May Have Killed Brain Candy
It’s probably not surprising that studio executives weren’t nuts about the Brain Candy character Cancer Boy (and his hit song, Whistle When You’re Low).
“I love Cancer Boy more than anybody,” says Bruce McCulloch. “I was tired of the way that little kids with cancer were used by celebrities for photo ops. If the kid goes into remission, does Wayne Gretzky still visit him? And, of course, that pissed off a lot of people, even though it was only a cameo.”
The studio heads wanted Cancer Boy out of the movie, but the Kids refused to budge. In turn, the studio was less than enthusiastic about promoting the film. “We thought, ‘Great, we won the battle, and they're not going to ignore a $7 million movie, are they?’” says Mark McKinney. “But they kind of can.”
And did. But they return, hopefully triumphant.
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Top image: Amazon