Saturday, April 19, 2008

Kids in the Hall: Reunion Tour May Lead to More

The new Kids in the Hall reunion tour has been a pleasant surprise for me. I had enjoyed their previous post-television tours in 2000 and 2002, and I didn’t know a new tour had been planned until I saw an ad for their show at the Wang Theatre for April 17. I reviewed that show for the Boston Globe (you can find it in today’s edition here), and spoke with them backstage at the Wang afterwards.

It was a mellow, friendly atmosphere backstage, or, more appropriately, in the mazelike basement-level dressing rooms under the Wang. Mark McKinney, Bruce McCulloch, Dave Foley, Kevin McDonald, and Scott Thompson were winding down after a little over an hour and a half of new sketch comedy, with a few old favorite characters like Thompson’s Buddy Cole and McCulloch’s Gavin thrown in. The not-quite-sold-out but sizeable crowd had reacted warmly and enthusiastically to everything, old and new, and there was a palpable sense of gratification amongst the Kids, possibly even a sense of relief that they had been welcomed back so readily.

The Kids had reunited last year for the Just for Laughs festival in Montreal, and had been kicking around the idea of getting together again, but never quite found the time. Earlier this year, they finally found a break. “The writer’s strike did the impossible and freed us all up for a week,” said McKinney.

Rather than just dust off old sketches from the television show or previous tours, the Kids set out to write as much new material as possible. According to Foley, this meant doing a series of surprise club shows in L.A. on short notice. “It was an exercise to see if we could write a 90-miute show in three days,” he said.

Again according to Foley, they were surprised both by how well they wrote together and how much they enjoyed performing together. The new sketches were strong, and there were a couple new short films, most notably an odd, lewd bit about “carfuckers,” that hit the mark (McCulloch, who has been busy directing the sitcom Carpoolers, mentioned he has been working the Russo brothers, of Arrested Development fame, on some film shorts). Everyone seemed to agree that there is some momentum building, which should mean another project of some sort when the tour ends in June, most probably a film.

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