We all love Amy Schumer, everyone knows how brilliant Key & Peele are, and you’ve watched Will Ferrell’s classic SNL sketches countless of times. But in this weekly column Sketchy MVPs, The Laugh Button shines a light on comedians from our favorites shows and troupes who don’t often get rightful credit for their contributions to sketch comedy.
To be honest, I had been kind of dreading writing about the Kids In The Hall. That’s because the Canadian outfit is arguably one of the greatest comedy troupes of all time. Odd reason to dread something, I know, but the idea of having to pick one member and focus on their attributes to the group seemed like a hard task. After all, what made the Kids In The Hall so great was how well all five of them interplayed with each other.
So rather than pick just one, and to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the troupe’s underrated film Brain Candy, I decided to highlight Dave Foley and Kevin McDonald’s work together during Kids In The Hall’s five season TV run in the early 90s. It’s hard to pinpoint what exactly made their onscreen chemistry work so well. Maybe the two just simply brought out the best in each other, helping turn what often was an ordinary scenario into surreal comedy gold.
After Kids In The Hall went off the air, and following the disappointing reception to Brain Candy (though holy crap, has it really been 20 years?!), both Foley and McDonald went on to make numerous sitcom and film appearances in both the U.S. and Canada (Foley most notably was the star of NBC’s News Radio). Over the years, though, the Kids In The Hall have reunited for numerous live tours. They even churned out a mini-series in 2010 called Death Comes To Town.
Take a look at a few of our favorite Kids In The Hall bits starring Dave Foley and Kevin McDonald below.
This is quite possibly one of the best Kids In The Hall sketches of all time (the Citizen Kane of Kids In The Hall bits if you will… I’m sorry, terrible pun, I hate myself for saying that as well). It’s also quite possibly Foley and McDonald’s best onscreen performances during the entire five season run. Part of what makes this so great is that it’s such an accurate portrayal of a frustratingly realistic premise, only here the sketch ends by living out a dark, morbid fantasy some may have when in the midst of such circumstances… what, no one else fantasizes about that?
[Note: as an added bonus, the clip above includes Foley and McDonald talking about the inspiration behind the classic sketch with Chris Hardwick]
“Pit of Ultimate Darkness with Simon and Hecubus”:
McDonald and Foley had a lot of great recurring characters together. But none might be as loveable as Simon, the devil-worshipping talk show host attempting to embody true evilness (while basically failing), and his sinisterly adorable man servant Hecubus. In the specific bit above, Foley further showcases his range while Hecubus portrays his multiple inner personalities (namely Ed, Ted, and Fred) during the sleep of ages.
“McGuillicutty & Green”:
It’s a simple yet brilliant concept, one that depicts two Vaudeville comedians who just can’t get on the same page. McDonald perfectly portrays the frustrated funny guy trying to do his best, while Foley brilliantly ruins McDonald’s attempts at humor with his cluelessness. Many comedy shows have parodied Abbott and Costello’s famous “Who’s On First” routine, but Foley completely ruining it by over explaining the misunderstanding (aka the punchline) is simply incredible.
Many of McDonald and Foley’s bits often featured one playing the straight man to the others zany character. But with the recurring characters Jerry Sizzler and his sister, Jerry Sizzler, the two of them both got to act bat-shit crazy. Although in the skit above, we find out that Jerry has been taking his medication, thus making him a sane loving husband. Thankfully though, Jerry is able to talk some (non) sense into Jerry, and the Sizzler sisters are back to their normal (figuratively speaking) selves.
“Things To Do”:
Sometimes, when you have a list of things to do, nothing can distract you from accomplishing your goals. And as McDonald and Foley prove in the sketch above, not an elderly woman walking on the sidewalk or getting kidnapped in the midst of a band heist can stop a man on a mission. Turns out that the skit was actually inspired by McDonald’s real-life obsession with “to do” lists (you can watch him share that anecdote with Chris Hardwick at the end of the above clip).