10 essential Kids in the Hall sketches every Canadian should know
Cabbage Head, Chicken Lady, Head Crusher… If you're not familiar with The Kids in the Hall, you'd probably think that was a list of insults taken from a 1980s joke book. But for Canadians, they're classic characters from CBC's seminal The Kids in the Hall (KITH for short) sketch series.
KITH featured comedians Bruce McCulloch, Dave Foley, Mark McKinney, Scott Thompson and Kevin McDonald. The show aired in Canada on CBC from 1988-1995.
For those of you who were born after the Internet became a thing, allow us to introduce you to some of Canada's greatest characters and inside jokes from KITH.
Crushing Your Head
Squishy, squish, squish… the headcrusher's main purpose is simple: smoosh all the "flatheads." Played by Mark McKinney, the headcrusher character appears in many sketches, "crushing" people's heads from across the street on a crusade against yuppies and 1990s businessmen. His motto? "Not everyone deserves to have their head crushed, just 99.99999% of them."
Cabbage Head: Restaurant
Cabbage Head is a jerk. And why wouldn't he be? He's got a cabbage for a head. He smokes cigars and he's an abrasive womanizer. Played by Bruce McCulloch, Cabbage Head makes his first appearance on a date with a lady (Kevin McDonald in drag) in Season 1, Episode 2. "I just don't want to be alone tonight," he tells Kevin's character. "Although, I do wanna be alone when I wake up, if you know what I'm saying."
She's a freak... A super-freak, if you know what I mean. Chicken Lady is Mark McKinney's weird physically imposing horny human/bird hybrid who wants a romp in the hay. In Season 2, Episode 5, Dave Foley is looking for any escape when he finds himself on a blind date with Chicken Lady in her apartment – or is it a coop? Things get even weirder when she offers him a "fresh" omelette.
Buddy Cole: I'm Canadian
Scott Thompson's character Buddy Cole was ahead of his time in many ways. The queer socialite delights in taking digs at his own personal life and the gay community. In this sketch from Season 1, Episode 20, Buddy makes observations about being a Canadian in show business. "Americans know as much about Canada as straight people do about gays," smirks Buddy as he speaks directly to the audience in a smoky, dimly lit piano bar.
Thirty Helens Agree
This sketch is exactly as it sounds: thirty women, each named Helen, standing in a field agreeing (or agreeing to disagree) about practical advice on different topics: Thirty Helens agree that you can't spend too much on a good pair of shoes; thirty Helens agree love hurts; thirty Helens agree that there's a time and place to show photos of your children. What do the Helens think about tattoos? Watch the opening to Season 1, Episode 6 and find out what they agreed on.
Bobby and the Devil
Bobby Terrance is sick of taking crap from his parents. He just wants to rock out in the garage until he finds himself in an epic electric guitar duel with Satan. The devil has lots of tricks up his sleeveless pleather vest but Bobby fights back with the tools at his disposal: a wah-wah pedal and his dad's power tools.
Here's a sketch that tackles this problem: what was the name of the movie I saw last night? You know, the one with Orson Wells? The movie was about, uh… a newspaper tycoon? You know the one — it's definitely NOT Citizen Kane… Dave Foley drives Kevin McDonald beyond the point of insanity in this sketch from Season 1, Episode 3.
Theo the Teacher
Theo (played by Dave Foley) insists that he's the cool teacher. A divorced cool teacher. He tries a little too hard to relate to the students: he yells, swears, talks about his drug addiction and outs a gay student. All in a day's work for a groovy teacher.
Becoming a Man
It's Chad's 13th birthday. Time for a father-son chat… in the woods. Chad watches his dad get hammered as he offers such tidbits of drunk dad advice like, "Ten bucks is… ten bucks." Bruce McCulloch's physical comedy is what makes the sketch: he embodies a drunk dad from the way he slurs his words and his wavering stance on uneven ground. Welcome to manhood, Chad. This is what becoming a man is all about.
Screw you, taxpayer! In this classic sketch, Mark McKinney takes a tongue-in-cheek look at public broadcasting – breaking down the budget for props, actors and the studio audience. Scott Thompson takes the stage, looks directly into the camera and says, "First of all, I'd like to say hello to all the taxpayers. And, 'Screw you.'"
Love and Sausages
This sketch is more of an absurdist short film rather than a typical KITH sketch. It takes place in a dystopian sausage factory in a fictional Soviet-era world. Bruce McCulloch plays the protagonist, a sullen factory worker who falls in love with a woman at the sausage factory. It's much weirder than a small summary can offer, just see for yourself in Season 4 Episode 15.