The Old Men In The Hall

‘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.

Like Twin Peaks and Beverly Hills 90210, The Kids In The Hall is another 90s icon that has rebirthed itself very efficiently Paul Bellini was just waiting for us there in his towel the whole time.

Kids In The Hall

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Neal Pollack

Book and Film Globe Editor in Chief Neal Pollack is the author of 11 semi-bestselling books of fiction and nonfiction, including the memoirs Alternadad and Stretch, the novels Repeat and Downward-Facing Death, and the cult classic The Neal Pollack Anthology of American Literature. A Rotten Tomatoes certified reviewer for both film and television, Neal has written articles and humor for every English-language publication except The New Yorker. Neal lives in Austin, Texas, and is a three-time Jeopardy! champion.

3 thoughts on “The Old Men In The Hall

  • May 14, 2022 at 1:40 am
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    I thought the reboot was very sad. Sixty is not old just middle aged and the Kids are playing it like they are ready for nursing homes when in fact they are technically not senior citizens. Most sixxty-year-olds are still active functioning members of society and most aren’t retired yet. I found the excessive geeserism to be ageist and depressing for this fan of the original series. This was uncomfortable to look at because the OLD just did not fit the reality. Lacks imaginative ways to view middle age. Feels like at twenty somethings view of sixty, so essentially ageist. I don’t know many sixty-year-olds on walkers. Felt more like portrayals of eighty-year-olds. It was boring and tiring,

    Reply
    • May 14, 2022 at 9:12 am
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      I don’t agree with you. There was some geezerism, yes, but there was still a lot of sex, and people at work, and divorce, and aches and pains, the stuff of middle age. For the most part I thought it was accurate.

      Reply
  • May 19, 2022 at 1:47 pm
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    I tried to watch it but couldn’t make it very far. On most parts I agree with you Susan. I found it incredibly forced and a bit desperate. They seemed to be focused on trying to be shocking (which I never thought of them as) instead of just trying to be funny.

    Reply

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