The Pitch: Amidst the post-SNL sketch show boom of the ’80s and ’90s, The Kids in the Hall stood head and shoulders above the pack. The fivesome of fresh-faced Canadian absurdists — Dave Foley, Bruce McCulloch, Kevin MacDonald, Mark McKinney, and Scott Thompson — felt fresh, new, and exciting; their material was edgy and provocative in a way that still leaned into Pythonesque silliness, ruffling feathers without the pain of plucking them.
While the five have worked together off and on since the Lorne Michaels-produced show’s cancellation (most notably, in their film debut flop Brain Candy, plus heaps of touring shows across North America in recent years), it took Amazon to bring them back from their 17-year hibernation from sketch television.
And here they are, not as young as they used to be (as they’ll be the first to tell ya) but with their comedic sensibilities as sharp as ever. They may not be kids anymore, but in a lot of ways, their comedy feels ageless.
These Are the Daves I Know, I Know: In a lot of ways, this new Kids in the Hall is playing straight to their existing cult of core fans, digging (in some cases literally) their old material from the graves in which they sat for nearly two decades. The opening sketch bears out that sense of world-weariness, that furtive step back into the limelight for five white Canadian dudes nearing their sixties: a Lorne Michaels type (McKinney) commissions the revival of the Kids after a garage sale finally makes Brain Candy a profitable film.
The Kids are dug back up from their mass grave; they balk at their wrinkled, sagging bodies. “Am I still the cute one?” Foley asks feebly. It’s fantastically dark stuff, goofy and fatalistic in the way only the Kids can really pull off — this time elevated with Amazon-level production values and more localized Canadian references than you can shake a loony at.
Honestly, the smartest move the Kids make is in leaning into their status as legends and, in some ways, relics. They’re old white men, after all, and they know they’re hardly the freshest voices in comedy anymore; but paradoxically, that gives them the license to poke fun at their own out-of-touch-ness without it reading as acquiescence.
One extended sketch about post-Toobin Zoom etiquette quickly morphs into an extended workplace group masturbation session; another sketch touches on cultural appropriation through the lens of literal clown shoes. There are just enough layers of absurdism slathered on top to keep the digs from feeling reactionary, instead positing a world where all the rules and stipulations of so-called “political correctness” were taken only to their most cartoonish conclusion.