5 out of 5
Produced by: Lorne Michaels
This… should be impossible. Having watched it, I’m pretty sure it still is. I’m pretty sure The Kids in the Hall’s 2022 revival – a sixth season of their 1988 – ’95 sketch comedy show – doesn’t actually exist; that my near non-stop laughter is just brainfog, wish fulfilment flim-flammery imaginations.
On the other hand, if you watch classic Kids in the Hall now, it’s just as funny and strange as it ever was; there’s no need to put it into a “that was then” frame, and it’s actually equally unbelievable how weird that program was, while somehow maintaining a throughline of accessible gags and punchlines, even at its most obtuse. Yeah, not everything landed, but it never came across as not trying, with members Dave Foley, Kevin McDonald, Bruce McCulloch, Mark McKinney, and Scott Thompson all bringing their own particular style to sketches, which were enhanced by the participation of others (or self-aware ragging on each’s tendencies). And millions of shows would pick at KitH’s corpse for inspiration (meant complimentarily – a lot of those shows were good as well), while never quite nailing the formula that allowed for oddly ongoing character narratives, and complete randomness at the same time. The first round of Kids in the Hall ended with the cast being buried.
…And so 2022 opens with them being unearthed. And we get right back to it.
It’s not even that the show doesn’t miss a single beat, even though this gang is 20+ years older, it’s that it does that, and then is also blazingly fresh. You can walk a line to outsider humor like Tim and Eric from here, or any other humor wave from the intervening years; there’s commonground for all of us to laugh at this stuff. Sketches return, but they don’t return with a fanservice smirk: they return as though those 20 years have happened, and I think that’s the big key: it’s not like these guys went away, having popped up in various comedies and projects across the years, proving that their senses of humor were still sharp as ever, and their presentations flexible across being ridiculous or playing the straight man. So it’s not necessarily a reunion, or a once-in-a-lifetime event. It really is just treated like the sixth season. And these 60ish year old guys are just as weird and funny as ever, with the extra bandwidth allowed by getting to take potshots at their platform – streaming on Amazon – and a couple decades of technological advancements and social tragedies to rag on or satirize.
I write this, and it all sounds logical. Sure. But I’m still not positive I believe that what I’m watching and going hoarse laughing at actually exists, so probably best to start back at season 1 and make sure…