A couple weekends ago, I went with my dad and my girlfriend to see The Kids In the Hall perform live at the Treasure Island resort in Las Vegas as sort of an early Father's Day gift for my dad. If you've never heard of them, The Kids In the Hall are a Canadian sketch comedy troupe that had their own TV show produced by Lorne Michaels (the mind behind Saturday Night Live) between 1988 and 1994. I love the TV show (which my dad introduced me to when I was young), so I was excited to see the group perform live. They have a unique brand of humor that makes the mundane absurd and the absurd mundane. I like to think of them as the Canadian Monty Python.
I had never seen any examples of the group's stand up or live performances, so I have to say that I was a bit apprehensive about the live show. I wasn't sure how well the comedy would translate to a live, stand-up setting (without sets, props, camera cuts, etc). But it certainly did not disappoint!
The opening skit had the whole group wearing wedding dresses.
The Kids definitely didn't waste any time going full-blown absurd, as they walked out onto the stage for their opening skit wearing white wedding dresses. They then each took turns going through brief monologues about why they each wear wedding dresses, the effect that it has on their relationships and jobs, and an activistic speech about how they wear wedding dresses for all the men who can't wear wedding dresses. It was very funny.
The "Country Doctor" skit had a very funny unscripted moment.
They then went on to perform almost two hours of material, including new skits and modified versions of a couple skits from the TV show. The familiar skits from the show were the "Salty Ham", "Running Faggot", and "Country Doctor" skits. The country doctor skit had one of the funniest [unplanned] bits in the whole show: when Dave Foley picks up the guitar to play a song, it's out of tune, and he laughs and comments "Apparently, tuning the guitar wasn't part of the show prep." Oops.
The new material was also pretty good. I particularly enjoyed the "Imaginary Girlfriend" and "Superdrunk" skits. In the first, Dave Foley goes to Kevin McDonald to complain that he thinks his imaginary girlfriend is cheating on him, only to find that Kevin has been having an imaginary affair with Dave's imaginary girlfriend. This skit did lack a good conclusion and seemed to drag on a bit, but the underlying concept and the interplay between the characters was quite funny.
The classic "Running Faggot" skit was performed live.
The "Superdrunk" skit was about Bruce McCulloch being a super hero when he's drunk. Whenever he sees a crime, he downs several shots of liquor from his bartender sidekick and then shouts his warcry "Hey, what are you looking at!?".
Scott Thompson performed a Buddy monologue.
One of the more ridiculous skits involved a dinner party in which Scott Thompson brings his wife (Mark McKinney) to socialize with some old friends. They start reminiscing, and eventually Scott starts talking about how close they all are, and how there's nothing unusual about him groping his friend's wife (played by Kevin McDonald), which he then proceeds to do. He then takes Kevin's character over to the nearby dinner table, bends her [him?] over, and begins having rough sex with her. While Scott's wife seems appalled, the three friends don't seem to mind at all. Eventually, Scott's wife says (since they're being candid) that she doesn't like the lamp that the friends had bought them last year for Christmas. This, apparently, was a major faux pas, Scott apologizes to his friends, and the dinner party comes to an abrupt end.
There were some other recognizable bits as well. Scott Thompson did one of his classic Buddy Cole monologues. This one was about millenial children and bullying. The show concluded with an encore skit featuring Mark McKinney's classic Head Crusher character. He ran around with a handheld camera that was projected onto a screen above the stage, and he held his fingers in front of the lens to crush heads. He heckled some audience members, crushed their heads, and then went on to roast each of the other cast members before crushing their heads and "killing" them. He then roasted himself and crushed his own head.
Mark McKinney gave an encore performance as his classic Head Crusher character.
The Kids' live performances are definitely much more vulgar and profane than their show was. I'm not the kind of person to get offended by language, but they really love to drop the "F-bomb" in stand up. I was pleased that the skits didn't lose much in the translation to a live setting. It maintained much of the same absurdity and surrealism that I expected from the TV show. We all loved it, and laughed our asses off.
Even after 30 years, The Kids In the Hall still got it!
... And one last classic skit before you leave (this one was not performed in the live show).