Kids In the Hall Danforth Music Hall, Toronto ON, April 25

Kids In the Hall Danforth Music Hall, Toronto ON, April 25
Photo: David Hawe
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Cult comedy greats the Kids in the Hall (KITH) were in typically surreal form at the Danforth Music Hall on Saturday. Twenty years since their eponymous sketch comedy series, the hometown heroes had lost none of their knack for timing, surreal capers or cross-dressing.
 
The group looked like one giant five-headed cake entering the stage in wedding dresses one-and-all through a thick cloud of fog.  It is difficult to recall precisely why they were wearing the bridal gowns in question — it is difficult to recall anything upon seeing Mark McKinney towering over his matching peers in a white floral low-cut gown. But the Kids in the Hall have always been a confusing bunch. That's their trademark.  The real belly laughs often don't come from any particular joke, but from the heavily implied and inevitable "WHAT?!" moment when the sketch is over.
 
Throughout the set, KITH performed new and old material, including a summation of their career in comedy for the uninitiated, told through song by the madly expressive Kevin McDonald.
 
Classic sketches and characters were revived, including the Country Doctor sketch, Dave Foley's "positive attitude towards menstruation" monologue and Bruce McCullough's backpack toting chatterbox Gavin.  Some sketches were lost in translation, particularly the "Salty Ham" sketch. While funny on television in the '90s, it seemed more dark than funny on stage with an older cast. The growing intensity of the argument between Bruce McCullough's character and his wife (Scott Thompson) — discussing the latter's lousy cooking — had the audience increasingly hesitant in their laughter.
 
The "Salty Ham" sketch proved only a small bump in the road.  Afterwards, KITH had no trouble winning their audience back with side-splitting new monologues and sketches like "Superdrunk"; the lackluster adventures of Bruce McCullough's extremely drunk alter ego, his super hero catchphrase being a slurred "what're you lookin' at?"
 
The set ended with none other than Mr. Tizick, Mark McKinney's infamous head crusher. After giving multiple audience members a harsh dressing down and a firm head crushing, he proceeded to introduce, lambaste and finally crush all five Kids in the Hall, himself included.
 
Their sense of humour hasn't changed over the years, aside from the occasional addition of pop culture references in sketches old and new, an uncharacteristic move for a group who — for all intents and purposes — seem to have abhorred such acknowledgements in the past. However, all changes, grey hairs and laugh lines considered, the Kids in the Hall were as they always have been: deadpan, daring, clever, and funny as all get out.