Here are 10 reasons to see The Kids in the Hall show tonight (based on last night’s opening show at Massey Hall):
10. They look like they’re having a good time. Their individal careers have had ups and downs, but as a group they seem to have embraced the willy-nillyness of the industry, as well as their own mortality. In fact…
9. … one of the strongest sketches sends up the inevitable middle-aged spread of themselves (more obvious in some than others) and their fanbase. Mark McKinney and Bruce McCulloch, reprising their slimy salesmen characters, pitch a device that reduces the fat from obese Americans and uses is to produce oil. This is satire at its best.
8. Scott Thompson’s Buddy Cole character has aged well, too. Sashaying onto the stage, he gets a huge swell of applause that’s filled with affection and acknowledgement of Thompson’s achievement. His Buddy is a survivor. The material - delivered while Cole is downing a martini and lisping out his stories about his lavender life - could be a bit sharper. (And who knows what the fuck is wrong with the Massey Hall sound system?) But kudos to Thompson for broaching the topic of religion and sexuality.
7. McCulloch’s nimble physicality. As the aforementioned salespitch guy, McCulloch prances around as if he’s got happy feet. It’s like he’s so full of energy he can’t contain himself. Reprising the Cathy and Kathie characters with Thompson - one of the show’s highlights - McCulloch, as a woman who’s suddenly discovered the joys of crystal meth, taps out a little number to punctuate a statement. Thompson exclaims: “You’re Riverdancing!” And he is.
6. The guys still know how to ground the most absurd premise in believable detail. A sketch about an evil baby succeeds because each performer defines his character clearly. Ditto the imaginative bit about two guys (Dave Foley and Kevin McDonald) who are dating an imaginary woman.
5. Foley’s Time Machine character, who recurs throughout the show and gets bigger and bigger laughs each time. Director Jim Millan has obviously helped tweak the beats here.
4. A high school dance sequence to end all high school dance sequences, complete with retro outfits. This could have been the show’s climactic end, but it wasn’t.
3. A single line: “A mural of seven Aryan men blowing each other in the West Edmonton mall.” Delivered by McKinney who…
2. … admits near the end of the show that he’s the best actor of the five. He’s got a point. His Chicken Lady has more pathos than she’s ever demonstrated before. As for his headcrusher character, Mr. Tyzik…
1. … he gets to close out the show in the funniest sequence of the night. McKinney’s performance here is like Grand Guignol - over the top, violent, yet oddly cathartic. The scene itself is part celebrity roast, part self-criticism. (It adheres to the classic comedy rule that if the comic makes fun of his flaws, then the audience can’t.) It’s also an acknowledgement that while the kids have grown up and gone on to do other things, they’re still alright.
Tickets at: 416-872-4255, Ticketmaster.