Date: June 5, 2008
Location: Massey Hall, Toronto
There aren’t many superstar comedy troupes… the Marx Brothers, Monty Python, The Kids in the Hall… erm… that’s about it. Sketch comedy is, like any good comedy, an art form which it takes some pretty innovative (or demented) minds to have any lasting effect. Even then, comedy is so subjective that even great troupes like Stella, Codco or The Goons aren’t as widely recognized or appreciated. Ensembles like Second City and Saturday Night Live get most of the glory, although those sketch com shows aren’t built on the backs of years of refinement and touring as a collective, but assembling disparate talent to appeal to as wide a base as possible (with regularly effective results, mind you).
Comedy troupes, like rock bands, have a hard time sustaining quality and cohesiveness, leading to friction within and diminishing quality over time. Egos can build or ideologies can change, hence why most troupes, once reaching some form of success on TV tend to split up and attempt to forge out as individuals (with middling success). For Monty Python, they officially disbanded after Graham Chapman’s death. For the Kids In The Hall, they officially disbanded after a huge falling out in producing their (underappreciated) 1996 film Brain Candy.
Of course the Kids have had some minor successes as individual actors/directors/writers, but overall nothing any of them has done alone has reached the heights of their sketch comedy together. They reunited in 2000 for a tour (”Same Guys, New Dresses”), re-presenting primarily their old material with some new skits, and again in 2002 with “Tour of Duty” as well as the occasional assembly for charity events. But after continued lagging careers (Kevin’s primarily a voice actor, Scott’s dipped into the realm of “celebrity personality”, Mark does a lot of quality Canadian TV and cinema, Bruce directed some horrible hollywood films and created a failed ABC TV series, and Dave, well… he had Newsradio, but also Celebrity Poker), the Kids have reunited once again, but not to relive old glories, but to forge ahead once again, a dozen years older, and perhaps not as fresh as they once were, but with a renewed vigor to work together.
The first result is this highly successful 40-show tour of all-new material (well, mostly new), ending with the June 5th hometown show. And how did it fare? Well, I’ll give a sketch-by-sketch rundown: