‘The Kids In The Hall’ reboot is a glorious celebration of decrepitude
The reboot of ‘The Kids In The Hall,’ which dropped today on Amazon Prime, is a hilarious updating of the classic 1990s sketch show. It continually refers to the old version of the show, revisiting favorite characters and making knowing references, but it doesn’t wallow in nostalgia. The five guys in the Kids In The Hall cast, once hip and cute and goofy, are now gray and saggy and wrinkled. Time has passed, as have their glory days. But the show knows that, and is more hilarious because of it.
Some of the sketches feel like old-school ‘Kids’, making fun of pretentious restaurants, goofy female office workers, or tacky TV shows. But the freshest ones take aim at a generally taboo topic in comedy: Aging itself. Usually when sketch comedy makes fun of old people, it’s young people in bald wigs, like when Tim Robinson gets gravelly in his hilarious Netflix show, or Mike Myers’s old “Middle Aged Man” Saturday Night Live sketches. But when the youngest member of your cast is 59, there’s no need to put on makeup to play old.
In a hilarious sketch to start episode one, Bruce McCullough plays a rat-tailed widower who drives a ratty old brown Barcalounger to a vintage car show. In episode three, Mark McKinney has a Vito Corleone-style heart attack while chasing around his grandson, who unwittingly calls a children’s entertainment duo named Ambublance to help him. And in what’s probably the season’s signature sketch, all five cast members play male strippers in a sketch called “60 And On The Pole.” One stripper has a massively enlarged prostate (“His balls hang so low!”). Another has to get his wife to come on stage to help him unzip his tracksuit. A third gets to give a private dance to a hot bachelorette and spends the entire time telling her which remote control device is which for the AV setup.
The Kids in The Hall are playing characters toward the end of their work usefulness, at the end of their functional sexuality, one step from assisted living and two steps from the grave. Only Scott Thompson’s effeminate socialite Buddy Cole seems to be transitioning gracefully, showing a hot young chicken around town and introducing him to Toronto’s last functioning glory hole. They’re men out of another time, and they’re almost out of time. For those of us alte kockers who no longer find comedy about young people looking for love funny, and who remember the 90s, it’s welcome to have something funny to watch that’s about us as we actually are. And we can watch it anytime, not at 1:30 AM, when we’re only awake if our plantar fasciitis is bothering us.