Touchable Film Vault: Kids in the Hall

 

At some point during my middle school years, I proudly declared to a friend of mine that I wanted to take Bruce McCulloch, of the Canadian comedy troupe Kids in the Hall, to prom. I wasn’t delusional or anything (though I know I didn’t consider Bruce’s age in 2000), but I honestly didn’t have anyone in my life I could logically consider at that point.

My fascination with Bruce felt more like a kinship than it did a crush. I had untraditional uses for my passion for writing growing up, and I felt like Bruce and I had a brain out of the same factory bin. An offbeat, unstructured brain that had a misguided attentiveness to meaningless details and appealed more to the social rejects than the in-crowd.

When I first started watching the Kids via after school reruns on Comedy Central, I couldn’t put my finger on the exact appeal of it for me. At 12 or 13, I didn’t grasp some of it conceptually because of my age, but I connected with all of it, and most importantly, it helped me discover what made me laugh. I successfully cultivated my sense of humor through Bruce McCulloch, Dave Foley, Scott Thompson, Mark McKinney, and Kevin McDonald, and my sense of humor is something that’s never become worthless in my efforts to make it through life.

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I was a very active member of the Kids in the Hall community when the decision was made to finally put all five seasons of the show on DVD. I ran a fansite for them, I had made lifelong friends with other hardcore fans, and my main email address incorporated a reference to them—I was in deep. I worked a job at the time making about 70 dollars a week, and at 15-years-old, it was hard for me to imagine spending anything over 30 bucks for a single item. But for The Kids, I had discipline, and I managed to stop buying candy and wrestling magazines long enough to send Broadway Video $60 and receive that first season in the mail. Not only was this a chance to see sketches I had missed and see uncensored versions of the ones I already knew…this was a chance for me to watch the episodes as someone a little older and with a better understanding of some of the subject matter. Along with that understanding came the official realization that guys in high heels and dresses did different things for me than it did for most other teenage girls. That’s a turn on that still stands to this day.

For a show that’s well over 20 years old, you can pop in just about any episode of any of the five seasons and still find some kind of relevance in it. World conditions and pop culture changes, but genuine observation, and yes, some serious exaggeration, of the behaviors and habits of regular people never really do, and that’s where the Kids focused most of their comedy and succeeded. People still have drunk dads, people (like me) still become fraught over lending their pens out, people still make empty promises to the ones naive enough to keep believing them, board room execs are still imagined as incompetent and soulless, and people still get flustered enough to inflict physical harm over the debate of a movie title. Even horny chicken ladies and chauvinistic guys with a cabbage for a head have not quite gone out of style.

My collection of Kids in the Hall seasons are amongst my most treasured and beloved possessions. They sit on my shelf as a complete collection in chronological order. A few of them I bought, but most of them were graciously gifted to me from some of those lifelong friends I’ve made and way before you could buy them at 20 bucks a pop on Amazon. There is no doubtfulness in saying that they are the things I would run to save in a fire. Because failure to save them would absolutely be failure to save a part of myself. ***