Kevin McDonald and Dave Foley of Kids in the Hall

Hall Rules

Dave Foley, who with fellow Kids in the Hall member Kevin McDonald will receive the Kovacs Award at Dallas VideoFest, talks about the influential comedy outfit. They'll also introduce the film Brain Candy

published Thursday, October 12, 2017



Dallas — Anyone with a passing interest in non-conventional sketch comedy—especially those of us over 30—is likely familiar with Kids in the Hall. The Canadian sketch team first appeared on Canadian television in 1988, and was picked up by HBO shortly thereafter. On stateside TV, they transitioned over to CBS late nights for their final two seasons, which wrapped in 1994.

By “non-conventional,” here’s what I mean: My favorite KITH sketch is called, “Can I Keep Him?” (see above) in which a boy, played by Bruce McCullough. takes in a stray…businessman (Kevin McDonald). Though dressed in a suit and taking on the appearance of an adult human, McDonald’s businessman was more animal than person. He’d do things like hand out his business card and enthusiastically shake hands rather than purring or heeling. He subsisted on martinis and seemingly could only blurt out short, vaguely business-y terms like “taxi!”

Photo: KITH
Kids in the Hall

In the end, McCullough returned McDonald to his natural habitat—a downtown city center, naturallywhere McDonald, reluctantly at first, then excitedly, took his leave with another feral businessman, played by Dave Foley. In a taxi, of course.

It’s hard to imagine Saturday Night Live straying that far out of the box, and Kids in the Hall rarely dabbled in well-worn sketch tropes like portrayals of current politicians or coffee mug catchphrases.

They just did what they liked, according to Foley, and the good people at the CBC and HBO let them. “We were always doing whatever we thought was funny,” he says. “It all seemed to make sense to us.”

For such an experimental troupe—rounded out by Mark McKinney and Scott Thompson—it’s appropriate that they are being awarded this year’s Ernie Kovacs Award, bestowed by the Video Association of Dallas as part of the revamped Dallas VideoFest. The ceremony will take place Saturday Oct. 14 at Alamo Drafthouse in Richardson. Foley and McDonald will be on hand, and they’ll screen Brain Candy, the KITH movie they shot shortly after the wrap of their TV series.

Kovacs was a pioneer of television and experimentation, and Foley was a fan. “We both [Foley and McDonald] really liked the fact that he was playing with the form of television,” Foley says. “If he was doing a talk show, it wouldn’t really be a talk show; it’d be a satire of a talk show, even though there was a talk. He was satirizing the form as it was invented.”

Thanks to those of us in the states whose parents didn’t spring for HBO, the show’s constant syndicated presence on Comedy Central in the late ’90s introduced the quintet to a huge new audience.

“It took us by surprise in 2000. We ended it in 1995, and we didn’t do anything for five years after Brain Candy,” says Foley. “When we went on the road in 2000, we were caught off-guard by how our following had gotten larger. It kind of blew us away.”

The longevity of Kids in the Hall—if you count their pre-TV days, they’ve been together for 32 years on and off with no personnel changes—has not been without its gaps and disagreements. The thing that ultimately keeps them together, though, is their understanding of what Kids in the Hall means, as Foley explains:

“Kids in the Hall could only exist as us five guys. I don’t think any of us feel any differently.”


» CLICK HERE to purchase tickets for Saturday, Oct. 14. Below is the pricing breakdown:

  • $25 – the Ernie Kovacs Awards presentation at 7:30 p.m.
  • $10 – Brain Candy (1996) with intro by Dave Foley and Kevin McDonald at 10 p.m.
  • $30 – Kovacs Awards presentation and Brain Candy at 7:30 p.m.
  • $50 – includes all events: Reception hosted by Canadian Consulate, Ernie Kovacs Awards presentation and Brain Candy at 6:30 p.m.
 Thanks For Reading

View the Article Slideshow
Click or Swipe to close
Hall Rules
Dave Foley, who with fellow Kids in the Hall member Kevin McDonald will receive the Kovacs Award at Dallas VideoFest, talks about the influential comedy outfit. They'll also introduce the film Brain Candy
by Kevin Beane

Share this article on Facebook
Tweet this article
Share this article on Google+
Share this article via email
Click or Swipe to close
Click or Swipe to close
views on theater, dance, classical music, opera and comedy performances
news & notes
reports from the local performing arts scene
features & interviews
who and what are moving and shaking in the performing arts scene
season announcements
keep up with the arts groups' upcoming seasons
listen to interviews with people in the local performing arts scene
media reviews
reviews and stories on performing arts-related film, TV, recordings and books
arts organizations
learn more about the local producing and presenting arts groups
performance venues
learn more about the theaters and spaces where the arts happen
keep up with fabulous ticket giveaways and other promotions
connect to local arts crowdfunding campaigns
post or view auditions and performing arts-related classes, services, jobs and more
about us
info on TheaterJones, our staff, what we do and how to contact us
Click or Swipe to close
First Name:
Last Name:
Date of Birth:
ZIP Code:
Your Email Address:
Click or Swipe to close
Join TheaterJones Around the Web

Follow Us on Twitter

Subscribe to our Youtube Channel

Click or Swipe to close
Search the TheaterJones Archives
Use any or all of the options below to search through all of reviews, interviews, features and special sections. If you are looking for a an event, use the calendar section of this website. This search will not search through the calendar.
Article Title Search:

Description Search:
TheaterJones Contributor:

TheaterJones Section:

Showing on or after:      Showing on or before:  
Click or Swipe to close
We welcome your comments

I am discussing:  

Your Name:
Your Email Adress:

please enter the text below and then click or tap SUBMIT :