It's not like we don't fight any more - we just don't take it personally
June 5, 2015 2:55 PM   Subscribe

"If you were to compile a list of the greatest sketch comedy shows of all time, there are a few obvious choices that you'd want to include. Naturally, Britain's influential Monty Python's Flying Circus would probably top the list, followed closely by the equally iconic Saturday Night Live and SCTV, with Mr. Show, In Living Color, A Bit of Fry & Laurie, Chapelle's Show, and even modern-day favorites like Key & Peele somewhere in the mix.

"One entry you should definitely include, and probably would want to rank fairly high on said list, would be the Canadian-born sketch show The Kids in the Hall, which ran on television both in the Great White North and here in the states for six or seven seasons and had a definite influence on comedy in the late '80s and early '90s."
posted by joseph conrad is fully awesome (154 comments total) 76 users marked this as a favorite
 
Mainly American which is fair enough. But not including The Fast Show, Big Train and Armstrong & Miller along with the other Brit shows listed is remiss.
posted by GallonOfAlan at 2:59 PM on June 5, 2015 [7 favorites]


Thirty Helens agree that Smack the Pony should definitely be on the list.
posted by Kattullus at 3:06 PM on June 5, 2015 [21 favorites]


The Kids in the Hall were ahead of their time, and I don't think their comedy has aged at all. There was nobody else like them back then. As I type this I can still hear my friends laughing at their sketches.
posted by Nevin at 3:07 PM on June 5, 2015 [16 favorites]


(This is a great post)
posted by Nevin at 3:07 PM on June 5, 2015




I suspect that this post is not really about The Definitive List Of Great Sketch Comedy Shows.
posted by Etrigan at 3:09 PM on June 5, 2015 [11 favorites]


I would add Tracy Takes On, Little Britain, and That Mitchell and Webb Look? Rowan and Martin's Laugh In?

And this is sketch comedy, not variety with some sketch comedy, I suppose.
posted by 4shortlegs at 3:11 PM on June 5, 2015 [1 favorite]


I wonder if this means the long awaited reunion of Rod Torkleson's Armada, featuring Herman Menderchuck, will finally happen.
posted by TedW at 3:13 PM on June 5, 2015 [29 favorites]


I would add

Yeah, but the point of this FPP is KIDS IN THE HALL. Read the excellent article, watch the funny YouTube videos.
posted by Nevin at 3:14 PM on June 5, 2015 [14 favorites]


Hi you meant to mention The State but since you didn't I'll go ahead and mention The State.
posted by Navelgazer at 3:21 PM on June 5, 2015 [27 favorites]




"You can't do that on television!" (Hey, Moose!)
posted by Chocolate Pickle at 3:25 PM on June 5, 2015 [3 favorites]


Sweet Mama Compensation will always be one of my favorite sketches. I have been known to say "I'm in a rut deep enough to hang up posters." more than a few times in my life.

also : "I could say I was reeeeeeeeaaallly thirsty!"

Classic sketches.
posted by tittergrrl at 3:26 PM on June 5, 2015 [7 favorites]


I love Kids in the Hall, who doesn't, but Canadian sketch comedy and no Four on the Floor? Really? We're expected to just forget about Mr. Canoehead? Not fracking likely.
posted by signal at 3:29 PM on June 5, 2015 [9 favorites]


i crush your head
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 3:31 PM on June 5, 2015 [25 favorites]


crush
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 3:31 PM on June 5, 2015 [18 favorites]


Girl Drink Drunk

What about a Chocolate Choo Choo? It's a girl drink. Tastes like candy!
posted by Nevin at 3:32 PM on June 5, 2015 [25 favorites]


The Chicken Lady
posted by Nevin at 3:34 PM on June 5, 2015 [5 favorites]


i crush your head

I'M PINCHING YOUR FACE
posted by 23skidoo at 3:35 PM on June 5, 2015 [6 favorites]


I saw their live show last month in NYC and also griphus was there
posted by sweetkid at 3:36 PM on June 5, 2015 [4 favorites]


"29 Helens agree that punctuality is important."
posted by tallmiddleagedgeek at 3:38 PM on June 5, 2015 [14 favorites]


I was coming in this thread to tell my favorite Brain Candy Story, but I see I've already told it. So I'll share the next generation appreciating the KiTH.

God I love Brain Candy. Such a wonderful wreck of a movie.
posted by Elementary Penguin at 3:43 PM on June 5, 2015 [4 favorites]


👉🐒👈
posted by clavdivs at 3:43 PM on June 5, 2015 [2 favorites]


The Pear Dream is in my Top 10 sketches of all time, up with Mr Show's The Audition and Monty Python's, well, everything.
posted by RokkitNite at 3:45 PM on June 5, 2015 [1 favorite]


And of course: Kids in the Hall - America
posted by zachlipton at 3:46 PM on June 5, 2015 [3 favorites]


God I love Brain Candy. Such a wonderful wreck of a movie.

I thought it was great and never understood the hate. But that was twenty years ago.
posted by Nevin at 3:48 PM on June 5, 2015 [4 favorites]


When I'm in the kitchen making tea and I ask Mrs. Salishsea if she wants any she always replies "Chamomile tea, you bastard!"
posted by salishsea at 3:48 PM on June 5, 2015 [4 favorites]


If it wasn't about KITH and we were expounding on great Canadian comedy troops, I'd be forced to mention Three Dead Trolls in a Baggie and especially "White Guy with a Chinese Accent"
posted by salishsea at 3:50 PM on June 5, 2015 [4 favorites]


When I'm in the kitchen making tea and I ask Mrs. Salishsea if she wants any she always replies "Chamomile tea, you bastard!"

Give me a tea. You bastard.
posted by Nevin at 3:53 PM on June 5, 2015 [2 favorites]


"You can't do that on television!" (Hey, Moose!)

Bit of a nostalgic confession here. As a young lad just entering his teens right around the time we got cable and Nickelodeon, I had a massive crush on Christine/Moose. (And to a lesser extent Lisa, but Moose...sigh.)
posted by Mr. Bad Example at 3:57 PM on June 5, 2015 [2 favorites]


Indian Drum!
posted by kokaku at 3:58 PM on June 5, 2015 [8 favorites]


...and that's okay.
posted by infinitewindow at 4:01 PM on June 5, 2015


i crush your head

there is nobody home!
posted by bile and syntax at 4:03 PM on June 5, 2015 [5 favorites]


Buddy Cole
posted by robbyrobs at 4:06 PM on June 5, 2015 [1 favorite]


How is Whose Line Is It Anyway? not mentioned?!
posted by gucci mane at 4:07 PM on June 5, 2015


Speaking of timelessness, Bruce's comedy album Shame Based Man (YT) holds up better than a comedy album ahas any business doing.

Also am I going to have to do a CODCO FPP? It seems I am.
posted by Space Coyote at 4:07 PM on June 5, 2015 [11 favorites]


How does a post with 33 comments and the words "sketch" "comedy" and "great white north" not have the letters "SCTV"?
posted by Room 641-A at 4:07 PM on June 5, 2015 [5 favorites]


It's weird: I lived with a Kids in the Hall junkie in the 90s and watched every episode and the movie. I thought the show was hilarious (the movie not hilarious) and rewatched certain beloved sketches lots of time, laughing again and again.

A couple years ago I rewatched some Kids in the Hall and I didn't laugh out loud once. I don't know why.
posted by latkes at 4:08 PM on June 5, 2015 [3 favorites]


I can't believe no one has mentioned Chalet 2000 yet! Buddy Cole and Queen Elizabeth!
posted by TedW at 4:12 PM on June 5, 2015 [6 favorites]


I haven't seen Kids in the Hall in years, so I can't say if it's all ageless or not. But "I'M CRUSHING YOUR HEAD!!" never ever gets old with actual kids. I've taught it to all of my nieces and nephews, who go around gleefully crushing the heads of everyone who's wronged them.
posted by honestcoyote at 4:18 PM on June 5, 2015 [7 favorites]


The State.

The State.

The State.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 4:20 PM on June 5, 2015 [6 favorites]


This Big Train sketch is either a convergently evolved UK counterpart to the "I speak no english" sketch, or is directly inspired by it. Not sure which.
posted by Jon Mitchell at 4:21 PM on June 5, 2015


Saw them live last week, wonderful, I also saw them in 2010 and this time around they were much looser and the whole show was a lot more fun.
posted by Cosine at 4:24 PM on June 5, 2015


also...

I'm the guy!
posted by Cosine at 4:25 PM on June 5, 2015 [2 favorites]


Boy, what have you done with that chicken?


Also, Buddy Cole was the first time I saw a gay person play a gay character in a way that didn't seem to translate or dilute the material for straight people: it just was hilarious/true.
posted by MoxieProxy at 4:27 PM on June 5, 2015 [10 favorites]


Good post timing. I saw them live in LA just a few days ago. Although a die-hard fan back in the day (their day, that is), I'd never seen them live before and didn't even realize they still performed together until spotting the ad for this show.

To be honest I was a bit anxious about whether the live show would meet up to my expectations after all these years since the series was current. But you know what? They killed. Absolutely awesome show - they were indeed timeless, and also hilarious. Masters of their craft, even now better than most of what passes for comedy today*.

(*Obligatory old man note.)
posted by thebordella at 4:29 PM on June 5, 2015 [2 favorites]


The KITH are responsible for shaping my idea of what Canada would be like when I was 13. I was so intrigued by the country after watching every episode that I promptly wrote to the Canadian Consulate who sent me a very nice large envelope of Canadiana. So it doesn't surprise me a whit that I ended up living here.
posted by Kitteh at 4:32 PM on June 5, 2015 [13 favorites]




God Is Dead
posted by dephlogisticated at 4:37 PM on June 5, 2015 [2 favorites]


Four On The Floor was The Frantics who are the best Canadian comedy troupe ever.

Don't like them? BOOT TO THE HEAD.

Well, maybe they're second to The Vestibules, but they never did TV, just radio and live. Well, they did Bulbous Bouffant on TV once. But their best skit ever was Zalgon 26 McGee. God, such genius.
posted by GuyZero at 4:40 PM on June 5, 2015 [7 favorites]


I love, love, love Buddy Cole. I can do an impressive chunk of the Buddy Cole prison monologue from memory owing to so many repeat watches.

But Francesca Fiore is also one of my all-time favourite KiTH characters.

"The wolverine is my favourite. Only one who kill for pleasure!"
posted by mandolin conspiracy at 4:40 PM on June 5, 2015 [8 favorites]


Hey, Lopez!
posted by Burhanistan at 4:40 PM on June 5, 2015 [7 favorites]


Let me shill some more for The State.

Let's look at this list.

Monty Python's Flying Circus
Saturday Night Live
SCTV
Mr. Show
In Living Color
A Bit of Fry & Laurie
Chappelle's Show
Key & Peele
Kids in the Hall
The State

For the sake of argument, let's say that we'll measure these shows based on a unique metric -- which one had actors/writers go on to have the most future success after the show ended? Let's define success as monetary return, since that's something we can actually measure. Just go with me.

SNL wins this one, obviously. Just on Eddie Murphy alone. And you include Will Ferrell, Mike Meyers, etc.

Now, which comes in second?

Monty Python? Terry Gilliam is the standout, but his stuff was never really mainstream.
SCTV? Rick Moranis and John Candy were the standouts, but never really busted loose, unless you count Ghostbusters for Moranis. But Candy died and Moranis has retired.
Mr. Show? Nope.
In Living Color? You could make a serious case for the Wayans if you include all of them -- Keenan, Damon, etc.
Fry and Laurie? No.
Chappelle's Show? Dave could still have a huge career, but doesn't seem to want it.
Key & Peele? Too early to tell.
Kids in the Hall? You have to admit they've underachieved. Dave Foley was hosting televised poker shows.

And here we come to The State.

Tom Lennon and Robert Ben Garant wrote the Night at the Museum trilogy. $1.31 billion at the box office.

DUDE.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 4:42 PM on June 5, 2015 [6 favorites]


I would argue that "The Electric Company" was sketch comedy, even though it was intended to be educational.

It sure had one hell of a talented cast.
posted by Chocolate Pickle at 4:43 PM on June 5, 2015 [8 favorites]


I think of Kids in the Hall often, particularly when a spoon is mentioned. It is all I can do not to respond, "In England, people only have one spoon!"

At one point you could win a contest, where the prize was to go to the nearest airport bar and drink with their writer, Bellini. Bellini, of course, would only eat fish. I do hope somebody actually won and got to hang out with Bellini.
posted by fifteen schnitzengruben is my limit at 4:43 PM on June 5, 2015 [4 favorites]


Bruce's comedy album Shame Based Man holds up better than a comedy album ahas any business doing.

The woman who is the "woman" on the Stalking track of that album lives around the corner and played violin on an old song of mine. I think Janeane Garofalo plays her in the video, though. Small-world Toronto thing.
posted by chococat at 4:44 PM on June 5, 2015


At one point you could win a contest, where the prize was to go to the nearest airport bar and drink with their writer, Bellini. Bellini, of course, would only eat fish. I do hope somebody actually won and got to hang out with Bellini.

The State had a contest where you'd get to sleep with them. All of them. Except they couldn't legally call it a contest, so it was more of a concept.
posted by rifflesby at 4:46 PM on June 5, 2015 [3 favorites]


At one point you could win a contest, where the prize was to go to the nearest airport bar and drink with their writer, Bellini. Bellini, of course, would only eat fish. I do hope somebody actually won and got to hang out with Bellini.

Also: The Touch Paul Bellini Contest!
posted by mandolin conspiracy at 4:46 PM on June 5, 2015 [7 favorites]


The "not reading the article" is strong in this thread.
posted by shmegegge at 4:51 PM on June 5, 2015 [17 favorites]


CPB, make a State thread. I'd participate in it but I think people are participating in a KITH one.
posted by Kitteh at 4:52 PM on June 5, 2015 [6 favorites]


In the corporate world, with just the right people are in the room, I have honest-to-god kicked off a meeting with "But first...the whores!"

Needless to say, it was a very select group of co-workers.
posted by mandolin conspiracy at 4:55 PM on June 5, 2015 [6 favorites]


Also, Buddy Cole was the first time I saw a gay person play a gay character in a way that didn't seem to translate or dilute the material for straight people: it just was hilarious/true.

There was also just some casual depictions of gay life, like Steps, or a nice couple where certainly no one is DOING COCAINE
posted by The Whelk at 5:07 PM on June 5, 2015 [9 favorites]


Touch Paul Bellini apparently came from Paul Bellini telling the writer's room about gay bathhouse sex.
posted by The Whelk at 5:08 PM on June 5, 2015 [5 favorites]


Scott Thompson, from the article:

Yeah, I think so. I think Buddy took a lot of heat. Yeah, a lot of heat. It was a very polarized time back then. You look at gay issues then and now, it's so different that it might as well be a different planet. It's hard for me to even appreciate it. Sometimes I wake up and I go, "Is this really happening?" You know what I mean? It's so fast that it worries me that it won't stick. I think that people were very upset with Buddy because they felt that he was a stereotype and he leaned towards negative connotations, et cetera, and I think it's nonsense.

This isn't putting too fine a point on it. I was a teenager in a small Canadian city when KiTH were at the height of their popularity, and Scott Thompson doing his "And yes, I'm the fag" bit was powerful stuff for a closeted high schooler, let me tell you.
posted by mandolin conspiracy at 5:11 PM on June 5, 2015 [4 favorites]


Fry and Laurie. No

Not quite in the same league as some others, but still a heavy hitter. $400 K per episode for House is nothing to sniff at...
posted by Jon Mitchell at 5:14 PM on June 5, 2015 [1 favorite]


How does a post with 33 comments and the words "sketch" "comedy" and "great white north" not have the letters "SCTV"?

"Ctrl-f" is a keyboard combination that will revolutionize how you use the Internet.
posted by one_bean at 5:22 PM on June 5, 2015 [9 favorites]


Ehhh. SNL was overrated and rarely funny from the start, Monty Python beats it by a country mile, but of course that has a lot of debt to the whole tradition of Radio 4 comedy. In general, neither Americans nor Canadians can do comedy properly or for a sustained period so anything that elevated them above British shows is immediately suspicious.
posted by MartinWisse at 5:26 PM on June 5, 2015


I identify a little too closely with the "My pen! My pen!" sketch.
posted by jaut at 5:35 PM on June 5, 2015 [10 favorites]


A few years ago I sat down and watch KitH from the beginning, as before that I'd always just catch whatever episodes Comedy Central played in whatever order they felt like. I wasn't expecting the show to be so solid right off the bat! The first season just hits the ground running, the show doesn't slow down for quite a while, and it's really impressive since most shows take time to hit their stride.
posted by jason_steakums at 5:35 PM on June 5, 2015 [3 favorites]


I was in concert choir early in highschool, like eight people total in the class. None of us could sing for shit, we were just taking it for the credits, and our teacher, who was also instructor of the much-revered show choir, abandoned us to the television on the first day. This was 1992 in small town Mississippi. We spent every day for the entire school year watching KITH and British Whose Line. KITH remains my favorite comedy troupe of all time.
posted by echocollate at 5:46 PM on June 5, 2015 [2 favorites]


WRT using KITH lines in real life, I try to avoid using "Hey! I'm the king of the mercy fuck!" I said, I try. ("Could be true" does have a lot of application, though.)
posted by Halloween Jack at 5:49 PM on June 5, 2015 [2 favorites]


There was also just some casual depictions of gay life, like Steps

Which were real btw! I miss them terribly.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 5:53 PM on June 5, 2015 [3 favorites]


"Ctrl-f" is a keyboard combination that will revolutionize how you use the Internet.

So would a mobile Chrome search field that cleared the previous search term so I don't search for BillSCTV.

Mea culpa!
posted by Room 641-A at 5:53 PM on June 5, 2015 [2 favorites]


Also, whenever anyone mentions the minor DC Comics character The Eradicator, I have to bring up ERADICATOR! And when anyone talks about the Dave(s) they know... well. In conclusion, Bruce McCulloch.
posted by Halloween Jack at 6:00 PM on June 5, 2015 [7 favorites]


I identify a little too closely with the "My pen! My pen!" sketch.

How is so much comedy genius even possible?
posted by Nevin at 6:03 PM on June 5, 2015


Anyone who disagrees, I'm gonna take to a Leaf's game ..
posted by k5.user at 6:05 PM on June 5, 2015 [4 favorites]


Lopez!
posted by echocollate at 6:08 PM on June 5, 2015 [1 favorite]


I'm gonna take to a Leaf's game

"Mind if I swoop?"

"Hey...don't I know you?"

Well, that's Friday night solved. KiTH rabbit hole it is!
posted by mandolin conspiracy at 6:11 PM on June 5, 2015 [2 favorites]


Buddy Cole explaining that he's "Canaaaaaadian!" and managing his lesbian friend's softball team while "she's away fighting in the gulf" make me giggle aloud.

Also, Bruce and Kevin as the couple attempting to record the perfect answering machine message "you never follow through with anything! You only took one vegetarian cooking class!"

And every time I go on vacation, I announce that "I should grow a beard!"

And finally, TAMMY!

I'm giggling just typing this. I have friends who live in Pickering, and each year I see them, I tell them "I'm Canaaaaadian!"
posted by sara is disenchanted at 6:50 PM on June 5, 2015 [2 favorites]


I got through the first paragraph of this post and was left thinking, "Where are the Kids In The Hall"? Luckily I read the second paragraph before commenting.

Favourite/memorable sketches not yet mentioned include the doctor who costs pretty far on his good looks and charm, plus "Why Not Take A Trip To Me"?

It's been said a million times before, but they really are/were the Canadian Monty Python, with all the astonishing invention, patchiness and kudos due that that suggests.
posted by comealongpole at 6:51 PM on June 5, 2015 [1 favorite]


Just a few of my all time faves....

Aliens Probing
Man Nipples
Roses
Is he?
The Queen's Message
Chicken Lady: Homecoming
Bobby vs Satan
Videos
Comfortable High

The "King of Empty Promises" guy from "Videos" always reminds me of someone I used to date. And I use or at least think the lines "our leader is some kind of twisted ass freak", and "I'm not gonna spread for no roses" more often than I care to admit.
posted by orange swan at 6:58 PM on June 5, 2015 [3 favorites]


I attempted to show one of my hockey-fan coworkers the "Mind if I swoop" sketch, but remembered all the gay porno and thought better of it.
posted by pxe2000 at 7:09 PM on June 5, 2015 [2 favorites]


Meeting of the Ontario Dental Association
French Trappers (with added commentary)
Freedom of Speech (also with commentary)

Edit: just noticed the Trappers WAY up at the top. Oops.
posted by gc at 7:10 PM on June 5, 2015


Monty Python beats it by a country mile, but of course that has a lot of debt to the whole tradition of Radio 4 comedy. In general, neither Americans nor Canadians can do comedy properly or for a sustained period so anything that elevated them above British shows is immediately suspicious.

Monty Python is very well served by "Best of" compilations because a lot of it is not great there I said it.
posted by Hoopo at 7:21 PM on June 5, 2015 [8 favorites]


Dipping Areas



Really? We're expected to just forget about Mr. Canoehead?


YOU WERE STRUCK BY LIGHTNING!
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 7:21 PM on June 5, 2015 [1 favorite]


I got to meet Scott on this tour, and I can confirm that he is an absolute sweetheart of a man. Super kind and genuine.
posted by Rev. Syung Myung Me at 7:34 PM on June 5, 2015 [2 favorites]


Tom Lennon and Robert Ben Garant wrote the Night at the Museum trilogy. $1.31 billion at the box office. DUDE.

From SCTV's cast you've omitted Harold Ramis:
His best-known film acting roles are as Egon Spengler in Ghostbusters (1984) and Russell Ziskey in Stripes (1981); he also co-wrote both films. As a writer-director, his films include the comedies Caddyshack (1980), National Lampoon's Vacation (1983), Groundhog Day (1993) and Analyze This (1999). Ramis was one of three screenwriters for Meatballs (1979) and National Lampoon's Animal House (1978).
If we use inflation adjusted dollars, Ramis would destroy. Animal House alone brought in the equivalent of $500 million.
posted by Kabanos at 7:34 PM on June 5, 2015 [8 favorites]


In my humble opinion, "Tuesday is no good for the Eradicator." is one of the best lines in comedy history.

I've dropped variants of this in meetings dozens of times and exactly three people have gotten the joke, and one had to leave the room.
posted by Sphinx at 7:35 PM on June 5, 2015 [3 favorites]


Harold Ramis! I stand corrected.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 7:37 PM on June 5, 2015




Woah woah there. So far I've only read the title: "The Kids in the Hall's Scott Thompson on Why Their Comedy Is Timeless"

I love KITH. I grew up with it, owned all the boxed sets and specials, seen them live, etc. But no, so much of it is NOT timeless.
I want to go back and edit down the 5 seasons to a single solid season of classics, and maybe that'd be timeless. Maybe 1.5 seasons?

The sheer amount of racist stuff I didn't notice as a kid (actual blackface! Jokes about chinese and african american penis size, etc) makes me cringe on rewatch.
And a bunch of stuff I remembered as quality really didn't seem to stand up with age.
posted by Theta States at 7:43 PM on June 5, 2015


Yes! A show for me! A show that speaks to me! It was a great show!

I also saw them in NYC last month and they were terrific!
posted by droplet at 7:44 PM on June 5, 2015 [1 favorite]


But Francesca Fiore is also one of my all-time favourite KiTH characters.

When my kids were little, sometimes when they'd have a whiny fit about something, I'd start yelling "OOOHHHH Francesca Fiori!!! Oh noooo Bruno Ponce Jones!!" They totally appreciated it and didn't hate it at all.

My husband got me all the DVDs for my birthday. We were watching it and this sketch came on. It did not convince my kids who are now teenagers to appreciate KITH any more than yelling Francesca Fiorrrrri at them did. I'll have to show them that one where Bruce McCullogh is doing ads for poo. That'll bring them around.
posted by artychoke at 7:51 PM on June 5, 2015 [4 favorites]


Questions to Bruce will always be a favorite.
posted by lkc at 7:54 PM on June 5, 2015 [2 favorites]


Speaking of timelessness, Bruce's comedy album Shame Based Man yt (YT) holds up better than a comedy album ahas any business doing.

I wholly agree with this. I think Shame Based Man is a real achievement. The track Vigil still gives me some shivers, thinking back about my own experience with Cobain's death. Daddy's on the Drink, Grade 8, That's America, and Doors, are all quite good.
posted by Theta States at 7:56 PM on June 5, 2015 [4 favorites]


++

And then he became a spoon millionaire
You're not a Doors fan
Sausages

I can conpletely imagine watching the show and not getting it, but then also watching the show and loving it. Not sure how that works. But Brain Candy is great no matter what.
posted by destro at 8:04 PM on June 5, 2015 [1 favorite]




Tom Lennon and Robert Ben Garant wrote the Night at the Museum trilogy. $1.31 billion at the box office.

That's a lot of money for not funny
posted by Hoopo at 8:06 PM on June 5, 2015 [5 favorites]


Can I just randomly post a link to one of the greatest sketches of all time, by Newfoundland sketch comedy group, CODCO? This particular sketch broke up the group when the CBC initially refused to air it, causing the writer (and star of the sketch) to quit the group...

It eventually aired, and it still amazed me that it made it on tv, 25 years ago...

I give you : Pleasant Priests in Conversation
posted by newfers at 8:27 PM on June 5, 2015 [3 favorites]


"it's Lahna, not Laana, and shut up!"
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 8:31 PM on June 5, 2015




Hey guys is this the thread about sketch comedy that is not Kids in the Hall

Oh it is awesome

Because I want to talk about SCTV
posted by Ray Walston, Luck Dragon at 8:37 PM on June 5, 2015 [4 favorites]


Because I want to talk about SCTV

YEAH, THAT WOULD MAKE ME LARF
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 8:42 PM on June 5, 2015 [2 favorites]


neither Americans nor Canadians can do comedy properly or for a sustained period so anything that elevated them above British shows is immediately suspicious

I'm crushing your head
posted by George_Spiggott at 9:02 PM on June 5, 2015 [9 favorites]


No UCB love? Season 1 is so good and all the comedians went on to be in literally, seriously literally, everything, literally, comedy related, literally.


Bug Juice
!

wait I think Albert Einstein's journal is my favorite. You have to stop masturbating! in a German voice is my inner monologue.
posted by OnTheLastCastle at 9:59 PM on June 5, 2015 [1 favorite]


I grew up on KITH. Buddy was near and dear to my little queer heart as a kid. As a young adult it was Buddy I channeled when I minced about the gay bars as a young weirdo. But timeless? When I saw his new piece last weekend I was so disappointed. Perhaps I missed some lovely affirming subtlety in it, but my initial reaction was that poking fun at kids today via Trans kids was gross. And the punchline "it gets bitter" both recycled and more telling about the comedian than the thing being made fun of. It made me sad that someone who could cut to the god damn core of things (burning the flag, Sapho Sluggars, Oscar Wilde) was punching all the way down rather than every which direction.

I love Scott. He is on my list of celebrities I owe a blow job to for outstanding achievement in fagdom. But I was so disappointed.
posted by munchingzombie at 10:03 PM on June 5, 2015 [5 favorites]


The Kids in the Hall were ahead of their time, and I don't think their comedy has aged at all.

9 out of 10 sketches I would agree with you, but I've got to point out Mississippi Gary.
posted by cardboard at 10:17 PM on June 5, 2015


Muchingzombie - maybe cleanse the taste with the mystery of Fruit Blog
posted by The Whelk at 10:21 PM on June 5, 2015 [1 favorite]


God I love Brain Candy. Such a wonderful wreck of a movie.

I thought it was great and never understood the hate. But that was twenty years ago.


Nevin, you are correct. It is damn-near perfect and nothing less.
posted by Navelgazer at 10:28 PM on June 5, 2015


additionally: AGGHHH CATONMYHEAD CATONMYHEAD!!!
posted by Navelgazer at 10:29 PM on June 5, 2015 [2 favorites]


Ya Lost Me is the best Kids sketch especially the ending.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 10:58 PM on June 5, 2015


This is where Scott Thompson lost me:
"And that's not remotely the way the world is today. So maybe subconsciously we didn't really do that [for the tour] because it's like, the idea that "the man" is the enemy is so old-fashioned. Straight white business guys in suits are hardly the enemy anymore. I mean, the enemy comes in many different forms now."
I'm curious who he thinks the enemies are now.
posted by Room 641-A at 11:25 PM on June 5, 2015 [3 favorites]


This will date me, but a few months before the end of the Kids' TV show I saw them perform at UCLA. A tiny blond woman ahead of us in the ticket line stood on her tip-toes at the window and gave the name "Garofalo" to receive her comp tickets. My girlfriend had no idea why I was excited. "Janeane who?" I knew Janeane Garofalo from The Ben Stiller Show but she was about six months away from being the 90s It Girl she became.

It was a fantastic show. It's kind of hard to wrap my brain around just how long ago that was.

As a fan, it always made me sad that they got so bitter toward each other. It got bad. Then a few years ago, when Scott Thompson got cancer, I read an interview where he talked about writing Death Comes to Town with the other guys as they literally worked around his sick bed. He described them as his brothers, saying that they'd worked through all their crap and if he was going to fight for his life, he wanted to do it while he was making comedy with these guys.

I was kind of surprised by just how deeply that affected me, and it's kind of hard to explain why it did. You knew Thompson wasn't bullshitting, that these guys had been through some heavy stuff together. It just made me really happy that they could all find each other like that again, before it was too late. All too often, folks don't.
posted by Ursula Hitler at 2:37 AM on June 6, 2015 [14 favorites]


Favourite/memorable sketches not yet mentioned include the doctor who costs pretty far on his good looks and charm

"Y'know what this is? Urine. Another man's urine. I ask for it and they give it to me. I don't know what to do with it. I got a fridge full of the stuff!"
posted by Spatch at 5:04 AM on June 6, 2015 [4 favorites]


In Living Color? You could make a serious case for the Wayans if you include all of them -- Keenan, Damon, etc.

In Living Color also featured a white guy named Jim Carrey who used to be a pretty sizeable box-office draw.

And SCTV had a guy named Harold Ramis among its founders, whose box-office draw has been not insignificant.

So, two guys from "The State" write a family-friendly comedy trilogy that cleaned up on DVD sales, and that's somehow a testament to the show's bona fides?

Nope.

Also: obligatory love-plug for the short-lived "The Vacant Lot."
posted by ShutterBun at 5:35 AM on June 6, 2015 [4 favorites]




Terriers are my very favorite breed.
posted by buzzkillington at 6:08 AM on June 6, 2015 [4 favorites]


It had a GREAT theme song.
posted by jonmc at 6:14 AM on June 6, 2015 [2 favorites]


1/4 Life Crisis: Lawyer Buys A Firetruck

As I recall, there was a story (possibly here on the Blue?) a while back about a guy who did indeed buy a working firetruck, and the line that kept running through my head was Dave's:

"Ya couldn't call?!?!"

Edit: the post in question.

posted by ShutterBun at 6:18 AM on June 6, 2015 [1 favorite]


Another fave from KITH: TRY IT NOW!
posted by ShutterBun at 6:20 AM on June 6, 2015 [2 favorites]


Monty Python is very well served by "Best of" compilations because a lot of it is not great there I said it.

Huge Python fan here and totally agree. Videlicet "The Cycling Tour." But then again, I love the Michael Ellis episode, so.
posted by holborne at 7:01 AM on June 6, 2015 [1 favorite]




I love Kids in the Hall, who doesn't

Me. I love SCTV, Python, Not Necessarily the News, the Alan Partridge series, Brass Eye, Fry and Laurie, etc. but I always found Kids in the Hall incredibly boring. I even knew one of them vaguely either late high school or early University. I think I almost got in a rare physical fight with his brother, but I can't remember which one it was.

Interesting to see Ramis mentioned. My university film professor hated him (he was a student of his) and every film he ever made. We always found this hilarious because it's one thing to not be into something, but you don't really have to hate it so much.
posted by juiceCake at 8:30 AM on June 6, 2015


Tom Lennon and Robert Ben Garant wrote the Night at the Museum trilogy. $1.31 billion at the box office.

Terry Gilliam has lost more than that making movies. (Maybe not quite that much, but I'd have to check). Also, Spamalot broke Broadway box office records. Fish Called Wanda. Too bad they don't get a nickel every time someone quotes from Holy Grail.
posted by RobotVoodooPower at 8:37 AM on June 6, 2015


Daddy Drank.

I think this is a good example of why a lot (and yeah, not all) of their stuff is "timeless."

In the DVD commentary on the skit, Kevin McDonald mentions that this is based, in part, on things his own alcoholic father actually did and said, so it cuts really close to the bone. That's a real fine line to walk and I think with their darker-themed stuff, it's something KiTH did really well.

FWIW, there a Marc Maron interview (yeah, yeah, I know not everyone's a Maron fan) with Kevin McDonald (not the Last King of Scotland one, but the KiTH one, but he interviews both in this episode because of a scheduling snafu), where McDonald talks a bit at length about his dad and you can see how that influenced his writing.

They also wrote in other stuff that, while topical, is perennial in Canada and doesn't necessarily date - like the tension between English and French Canada (obviously, they do it from an Ontario/Toronto-centric Anglo point of view). One of the things that comes up in their writing in the original series all the time is the incidental use of debased French as spoken by Anglo guys from Ontario/Toronto who took compulsory French in elementary and high school, mixed with a little late-80s Anglo Ontario history curriculum ("Oh yeah, voyageurs. We learned about those").

It even cropped up when I saw them in their last live tour before this one. They did a Chicken Lady skit, and at the point where Chicken Lady is running around orgasming all over the stage, Scott Thompson is smacking her on the ass and shouting "Bad! Bad chicken! Mechant poulet! Mechant poulet!"

Castor the beaver and Jacques and Francois the voyageurs (who all come up in the aforementioned Chalet 2000 skit) are other examples of that stuff.

Anyway, it's all sort of scattered around their comedy without necessarily being the specific focus of the material, but it's there lying around to pick up.

All of this is a long way of saying I think they've always written from a really genuine place, and weren't trying to be something they weren't. Skits that fall flat for me seem to be the ones where where I sense they're working outside their comfort zone, or when they're trying to be too broad.

I guess it also helps that their cultural reference points are mine, too, so that makes their broader stuff "meh" for me.

Finally, since I haven't seen it mentioned, I'd be remiss if I didn't mention Sex Girl Patrol.

That was the other thing they blew out of the water - their drag was never perfunctory or done as "heh heh men dressing as women isn't that crazy."

To the contrary - their drag characters were fully realized and, as a result, their best ones. And all of them were equally strong drag performers.

Or, as a straight friend of mine once put it: "Jesus Christ. Dave Foley's a good-looking woman."
posted by mandolin conspiracy at 8:45 AM on June 6, 2015 [12 favorites]


I love Kids in the Hall. There was so much that went over my head as a young teenager that it's delightful to watch now as an adult. For reals, I had no idea why the chicken lady would explode until they did the quarter horse sketch. It was just always funny that she exploded :D We watched it mostly because it was weird, hip and it annoyed our parents!
posted by Calzephyr at 9:43 AM on June 6, 2015


[W]hich one had actors/writers go on to have the most future success after the show ended? ... Mr. Show? Nope.

Well that's just wrong.

Bob Odenkirk has been very successful on Breaking Bad and now Better Call Saul. David Cross had Arrested Development and the Increasingly Poor Decisions of Todd Margaret and plenty of standup tours/albums/dvds. Then there were people that appeared throughout Mr. Show's run: Tom Kenny is Spongebob, his wife Jill Talley is also on Spongebob and they were both in the Smashing Pumpkins' video "Tonight, Tonight," Mary Lynn Rajskub has been in a bunch of things and was a main character in something like seven seasons of 24, and then there's Jack Black (who has done at least as well as most ex-SNL), Brian Posehn, Scott Aukerman, Scott Adsit, Paul F. Tompkins, Sarah Silverman, and a few others I'm probably forgetting, all of whom have had shows, huge tours, very successful podcasts, or other major successes in entertainment after Mr. Show.
posted by msbrauer at 9:58 AM on June 6, 2015 [4 favorites]


I'm a big fan of Kids in the Hall, but one thing that I love that never gets mentioned is the video in the intro and leading into or out of commercial breaks. They look like home movies of a really fun group of friends, and every time I see any of the videos, I wish that I had videos like that with my friends through the years.
posted by msbrauer at 10:04 AM on June 6, 2015 [2 favorites]


Seriously, KITH made it OK - in fact, amazing, to be in love with a whole bunch of gay characters. This was back when I was in middle school. I then learned about homophobia, and I guess I thought: "Are you serious? Have you seen this show? These guys rule!"

The State though - Hunting Muppets for Dinner - that was an amazing sketch. Too bad they left MTV. Their Twitter feeds are still hilarious.
posted by alex_skazat at 10:15 AM on June 6, 2015


...but one thing that I love that never gets mentioned is the video in the intro and leading into or out of commercial breaks

Yeah!

The other thing I like about them is they're little time capsules of Toronto streetscapes because many of them were shot outside.

At the time, in high school, I saw Toronto as (don't laugh) THE destination for me. Or at least as a place in Canada that was orders of magnitude less shitty than where I lived.

So those little interstitials were tantalizing bits of Cool Things Going On In Toronto for me. YMMV.
posted by mandolin conspiracy at 10:21 AM on June 6, 2015 [3 favorites]


People always ask me, "Buddy, how come you never fall in love in Toronto?"

Well. Toronto is a great place to raise a family -- or a plant. But it's NO place to fall in love.
posted by Mrs. Davros at 10:43 AM on June 6, 2015 [1 favorite]


How does a post with 33 comments and the words "sketch" "comedy" and "great white north" not have the letters "SCTV"?
posted by Room 641-A at 7:07 PM on June 5 [5 favorites +] [!]


Perhaps you should take another go at it.
posted by Sys Rq at 10:53 AM on June 6, 2015


Great post, but I've got no time to read it, I've got to keep on top of my life, I've got things to do.
posted by A dead Quaker at 10:58 AM on June 6, 2015 [2 favorites]


Also, has Mouse Killer really not been posted yet?
posted by A dead Quaker at 11:03 AM on June 6, 2015 [1 favorite]


(I was unlucky to have parents who refused to get cable, but lucky enough to grow up 10 miles south of the Canadian border, so I got to watch KitH on CBC.)
posted by A dead Quaker at 11:04 AM on June 6, 2015 [1 favorite]


Canada's greatest super hero team: Sex Girl Patrol
posted by hoodrich at 11:23 AM on June 6, 2015


"Wanna smoke a doob with your old man?"
posted by The Card Cheat at 11:37 AM on June 6, 2015


Perhaps you should take another go at it.

Perhaps you should, too!
posted by Room 641-A at 11:45 AM on June 6, 2015 [1 favorite]


A little blurb from The Frantics while we're talking about Canadian comedy.



...but one thing that I love that never gets mentioned is the video in the intro and leading into or out of commercial breaks



Most of those were directed by a guy name Steve Surjik who's a very nice hilarious man in his own right, have the pleasure of working with him as the director on lots of television.
posted by thirtyeightdown at 12:04 PM on June 6, 2015 [1 favorite]




I've got that album!
Of course you do Bob.

Hey can we come in? Guido's clarinet's getting wet.

Already mentioned, but The Doors is a part of the McCullough rock tryptych.
posted by Meatbomb at 12:59 PM on June 6, 2015 [2 favorites]


Dammit, Meatbomb, I was just coming over to post "Can't Kill Rock," with the same pull-quote, no less!
posted by Navelgazer at 1:03 PM on June 6, 2015 [1 favorite]


First course, Kraft Dinner...
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 1:42 PM on June 6, 2015 [1 favorite]


Also, the theme song and incidental music for KITH was all by Shadowy Men On A Shadowy Planet.


First course, Kraft Dinner...

Oh-dee-oh-um-doh-um-day
Oh-dee-oh-um-day-oh
Oh-dee-oh-um-doh-um-day
Fattening up our tapeworms!
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 2:19 PM on June 6, 2015 [6 favorites]


A box office trilogy? I want to dip my balls in it!
posted by wierdo at 3:15 PM on June 6, 2015 [1 favorite]


It's a Fact.
posted by mandolin conspiracy at 4:34 PM on June 6, 2015 [2 favorites]




Dave Foley looked amazing when dressed as a woman. I'm a straight lady and I remember being very confused as a young girl while watching the KiTH sketches where he was playing Jocelyn the Québécoise sex worker and feeling very attracted to him-dressed-as-her.

I still get "These are the Dave's I know" stuck in my head all the time.
posted by thereemix at 5:23 PM on June 6, 2015 [3 favorites]


Girl Drink Drunk

Spoiler alert: my favorite part of this sketch is how his boss gives him one last drink (or rather, the cornucopia of components necessary to make a proper tropical cocktail), in the office, in the morning, before firing him for drinking on the job (and after being the influence who pushed him to get hooked on "girl drinks" in the first place). I learned recently that TJ Miller spent many summer days as an adolescent the same way I did, watching Kids in the Hall and SNL reruns on Comedy Central in the 90's when it was just called "The Comedy Channel."
posted by aydeejones at 8:24 PM on June 6, 2015 [1 favorite]


holborne: "Huge Python fan here and totally agree. Videlicet "The Cycling Tour." "

Oh, I like "The Cycling Tour."
posted by Chrysostom at 9:03 PM on June 6, 2015 [1 favorite]


Dave Foley looked amazing when dressed as a woman.

Yes, he was very convincing and even pretty. Until he smiled, at least. The teeth always gave it away.

The Kids in the Hall dressed as women because they had no female members and wanted to include female characters in their sketches. Interestingly, they originally did have women in the troupe, but they got hired away before the Kids landed their show.
posted by orange swan at 4:27 PM on June 7, 2015


"Girl Drink Drunk"

To this day, when people ask me what I want to drink, I often reply "A squashed strawberry alleycat"
posted by das_2099 at 4:57 PM on June 7, 2015 [5 favorites]


CPB, make a State thread. I'd participate in it but I think people are participating in a KITH one.

Please do. I want to dip my balls in it.

No I'm not angry that wierdo beat me to the joke. Dammit.
posted by phearlez at 8:04 AM on June 10, 2015 [1 favorite]




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