How the Kids in the Hall made it to TV

The Kids in the Hall weren't likely to get recognized on the street in 1990 -- and that's just how they liked it.

The comedy quintet had a TV show but didn't think it would mean instant fame

Bruce McCulloch and Scott Thompson talk about whether they'll ever be stopped by fans on the street. 0:47

When strangers start calling your name on the street, you know you've made it. 

But in 1990, just as their eponymous TV show was set to debut on CBC Television, the Kids in the Hall weren't there yet.

"We all have the same face," said Scott Thompson, one of the members of the Canadian sketch comedy quintet. "It'll be hard for people to do that to us at this stage of the game... it's not like we're being groomed to be breakout stars."

Put on TV by another comedy export

Two of the Kids, Thompson and Bruce McCulloch, were guests on CBC's Midday to talk about their show, which had already debuted on HBO in the United States under the tutelage of comedy producer Lorne Michaels.

Going on Canadian television didn't mean they were changing their comedy, either.

"We're not sanding our material down," said Thompson. 

"At first we thought we'd be playing to people with haircuts exactly like ours," said McCulloch. "You can't worry about your target market."  

Dave Foley and Bruce McCulloch try explaining their comedy in 1986 -- before they had a TV show. 1:22

Four years earlier, in 1986, the Kids were on their way up. Their live show Graverobbers from Hipsville had proven so popular that it was held over for an extended run, which was enough to get them invited on Midday for the first time to describe their origins and their comedy.

"People in the country have probably never heard of The Kids in the Hall before," said interviewer Peter Downie.

"They never have," deadpanned member Dave Foley.

The Kids would go on to become one of Canada's greatest comedy exports, with a show that aired on CBC-TV for five seasons, a 1996 feature film called Brain Candy, individual appearances on many U.S. and Canadian productions and, undoubtedly, recognition on the streets.

Bruce McCulloch and Scott Thompson tell Ralph Benmergui about their audiences and working with Lorne Michaels. 2:26