The 8 Best Kids in the Hall characters
Most real comedians will admit – grudgingly – that great minds sometimes think alike.
This is why the case against Saturday Night Live for allegedly ripping off This Hour Has 22 Minutes shouldn’t hold up. The bit is about the “Prophet Muhammad” being a particularly difficult Pictionary clue. This joke is obvious in light of recent events, and the other elements (game show format and the generically large $1 million prize) are probably coincidental.
This sort of thing happens all the time in comedy – with one exception: The Kids in the Hall. The fact that they haven’t been stolen from is telling. They are true originals, incomparable except to say they share the same absurd spirit as Monty Python, and indeed are the smartest sketch comedy troupe ever to come out of Canada. No SNL or This Hour writer could ever come up with humour this weird, this quirky and this timeless. What’s their secret? It’s not the stories. It’s not some jokes ripped from today’s headlines that’ll be out of date tomorrow. It’s their unforgettable characters. We know them well!
Here’s a round-up of fan favourites – leading up to their show at the Jubilee Auditorium on Tuesday, May 19. They’ll be doing new material and new characters on this reunion tour, but like Lynyrd Skynyrd, they’re not going to get away without doing Freebird:
Mr. Tizick (Mark McKinney)
Better known as the “Crushing Your Head Guy,” Mr. Tizick is an eccentric old man who spends his days sitting on a park bench exercising his special power: Defying the laws of physics, perspective and foreshortening to crush people’s heads between his thumb and forefinger. That’s about it. Quite a legacy from one very silly joke.
Buddy Cole (Scott Thompson)
He is really, really gay. Is it OK to say someone is really, really gay, as opposed to just plain gay? The actor himself has dubbed his most famous persona “the Alpha Fag.” Sample spiel with thick lisp – try saying THAT phrase with a thick lisp: “Americans know as much about Canada as straight people do about gays. Americans arrive at the border with skis in July, and straight people think being gay is just a phase – a very long phase!” Buddy has written a book, been on The Colbert Report and been made into a cartoon.
Gavin (Bruce McCulloch)
“These guys? They smoke! And they’re bad. And you know what? They taught a dog to smoke. Do you believe that? Well, it’s true. And they taught him to beg for cigarettes, door to door? So when this poor little devil would ring your doorbell with his nose you’d know right away what he wanted, so you’d give him a cigarette and he’d take it back to these guys who waited by the fence to smoke? And they didn’t care who saw them smoke? And these guys sure smoked.” Such is but a small sample of the interminable monologue spewing from one precocious, lonely, myopic, motherless little boy who stole our hearts.
The Chicken Lady (Mark McKinney)
Apparently a genetic hybrid of a human female and a common hen, the Chicken Lady displays traits of both species. She talks, and also lays eggs. She gets excited easily, and enjoys an active libido. Her frequent self-induced orgasms are signalled by explosions of white feathers. Were these guys high when they came up with this stuff?
Dean Deen (Kevin McDonald)
We all know this guy, the so-called friend who says he’s going to do something for you and then doesn’t, leaving you in the lurch, stranded, in jail without bail, without your Paul Simon CD, and so on, then excuses himself with, “Slipped my mind.” Also known as King of Empty Promises. Long suffering friend Lex Hair (Dave Foley) is the frequent victim. He just never learns.
Simon and Hecubus (Kevin McDonald and Dave Foley)
In the realm of the comedy of not very horrifying horror, these guys owe a small debt to SCTV’s Monster Chiller Horror Theatre, but again, this existential exploration on the nature of good and evil between the “Master” and his mildly impolite demon in the “Ultimate Pit of Darkness” is more about characters than story. Here’s a demonstration of evil magic: “Pick a card, any card,” commands Simon, fanning out a deck. “No,” says Hecubus. “EVIL!!”
Jocelyn (Dave Foley)
This performer plays along with the notion that he gets the short end of the stick when it comes the Kids in the Hall’s most popular characters, but there are a few memorable ones. His friendly French-Canadian prostitute is one of a number of recurring female characters he’s rather good at playing. Of all the Kids, Dave looks the best in drag. And of all the Kids, he is arguably the most successful in Hollywood. Coincidence? Probably.