"How's it going, eh?"
With that, the SCTV legends of the Great White North, Bob and Doug McKenzie, brought to life by Rick Moranis and Dave Thomas, kicked off a star-studded comedy reunion event in Toronto on Tuesday night on the storied Second City stage — in a special fundraiser to help Thomas's nephew and others with spinal cord injuries.
Bob and Doug started off their first live show with a joke that they've been AWOL for all these years because they were trying to reduce their carbon footprint by not leaving their house.
Some of Canada's biggest comedy stars also joined Moranis and Thomas for the soldout gig in honour of Jake Thomas, the 44-year-old son of musician Ian Thomas.
Jake Thomas was in a snowmobile accident in January that severed his spinal cord and is now paralyzed from the waist down.
The list of stars who signed on to perform is kilometres long: Martin Short played host and got into character as Jiminy Glick, while SCTV alumni Eugene Levy and Catherine O'Hara did a skit together.
Dan Aykroyd came out too, as did several members of the Kids in the Hall: Scott Thompson, Kevin McDonald and Dave Foley.
"[Dave Thomas] said he was organizing a show and before he could finish telling me about it, I said, 'I'm in. I'll call the Kids and see who can make it'," Foley said. "It's fantastic because they're all my heroes."
Paul Shaffer, best known as Dave Letterman's sidekick, as well as Ian Thomas and Murray McLauchlan provided the music.
The idea for a fundraiser started to take shape after Thomas's accident this winter, and it was Short who spearheaded the project.
"Marty said, 'let's do a show' and I said, 'well, I don't want to impose' and he said 'Nonsense! If it was my kid, I would impose on everybody, starting with you," Dave Thomas said on the red carpet prior to the show.
A few phone calls later and the cast of old friends and Canadian comedic icons was assembled.
Raising money for the family was reason enough to convince Moranis, known for keeping a low profile, to reprise his role as Bob for the first time in 10 years.
"I called Moranis and he said, 'I'll even put on the toques and parkas for this one so that's how it became Bob and Doug," Thomas recounted. Moranis did not walk the red carpet.
Seeing his uncle and his uncle's friends rally around him was emotional for Jake Thomas, who now uses a wheelchair.
"They were all in different continents, different parts in the world, so if I'm the catalyst that put that whole thing together, I feel great for that but even more grateful that they're willing to dedicate their time," said the father of four.
Performers also fans
Many of those who agreed to perform didn't want to miss the return of the original hosers.
"We're way more excited to watch the show than to be in it," said Kevin McDonald of Kids in the Hall fame before Scott Thompson piped in: "This is big deal for us."
The Bob and Doug bit started out in the 1980s as a bit of a rebellion against a network order to include more Canadian content, but ended up becoming a pop-culture sensation — ensuring "eh" entered the Canadian lexicon.
For that, Thomas is sorry.
"I apologize to the country, to everyone individually in Canada," Thomas said with a laugh. "I'm so sorry we brought hosers and 'take off' into the linguistic compendium of Canada."
The $325,000 raised Tuesday night will go to towards the Jake Thomas's Road To Recovery GoFundMe campaign and the Spinal Cord Injury Ontario, to help others who have sustained spinal cord injuries.