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Thursday, May 29, 2008

Sketchy characters: Best of "Kids"

It could be because they’re comedy geniuses. It may be they’re out of their minds. It could even be the fact they’re Canadian. But the boys behind “Kids in the Hall” gave life to some of the most bizarre, ridiculous, yet endearing characters in all of sketch comedy.

Here are our top five favorites. If you disagree, prepare yourself for a head crushing, you flathead.

5. Cabbage Head

A sexist, cigar-chomping Lothario — who just happened to have a cabbage leaf where his hair should be — the aptly named Cabbage Head didn’t let his deformity interfere with his libido. Embodied with full sleazy glee by Bruce McCulloch, the majority of Cabbage Head’s sketches revolved around his never-say-die approach to hooking up with women. Parodying both the macho chauvinism of the '80s and the more sensitive guys of the '90s, Cabbage Head would crack demeaning one-liners at potential dates; then when rebuked, sullenly accuse them of disparaging his cabbage head. Neither tactic ever worked, of course, because that would have meant the end of the character.

4. Simon Milligan and Hecubus

The stars of a not-even-remotely-scary basic cable horror show, Sir Simon Milligan (Kevin McDonald) and his sunken-eyed, body-suit wearing man-servant Hecubus (Dave Foley) were constantly trying to prove their demon-y worth. Milligan once bellowed, "Yes, I have walked along the path of evil many times. It's a twisting curving path that ... actually leads to a charming block garden ... but beyond that EVIL!" Far more wicked was “loyal” Hecubus, who took far more delight in antagonizing his master than following orders. This annoyed Milligan only briefly, as he used the insurrection as evidence of their immoral ways, pointing at Hecubus and yelling “Evil! Evil!” to the audience.

3. The Chicken Lady

Originally conceived as the punch line to a circus-freak sketch, Mark McKinney’s Chicken Lady was half-chicken, half-woman, all sex-drive. Decked out in a Dolly Parton wig and a witch nose, McKinney strutted from sketch to sketch, as the Chicken Lady looked for love completely oblivious to how much she repulsed people. Whether it was her shrieking voice — “Gravels and grubs! I love to eat my gravels and grubs!” — or her tendency toward explosive molting when aroused, Chicken Lady never really got a break with the men-folk. Luckily, she was often joined by her sister-in-freakiness, the alcoholic, chain-smoking Bearded Lady (McDonald).

2. Buddy Cole

Likely the Kids’ most controversial character, Buddy Cole (Scott Thompson) is a flamboyantly gay gadabout known for his rambling monologues about his personal exploits and the homosexual community in general. Perched upon a barstool, martini in hand, Buddy would recount his adventures with famous celebrities, with whom he claimed deep, personal friendships. As the series went on, Buddy became a more active character, coaching a militant feminist softball team, hobnobbing with the queen, and venturing to a North Pole nightclub with his uncle, Rip Taylor. While some decried the character of Buddy as a harmful gay stereotype, Thompson, who is gay himself, defended his creation, saying he knows many gay men like Buddy, and that the idea of him being a “terrible throwback” is unfortunate.

1. Mr. Tyzik (The Headcrusher)

Even if you have never seen “Kids in the Hall,” chances are good that you, or someone you know, has had their head crushed. You can thank McKinney for that, and the popularity of his Mr. Tyzik, a.k.a. The Headcrusher. Disgruntled and passive-aggressive to the core, Tyzik delights in setting up his lawn chair in the financial district of town and “crrrrrushing” the heads of the businessmen and yuppies. This was accomplished by the use of only his thumb and index finger, and some forced camera perspective. With his vaguely Eastern European accent, Tyzik would pass instant, unsympathetic judgment on his victims, and inspire legions of “Kids” fans to follow his example.

-- Adam Reinhard, lifeisfunnybutnothahafunny@gmail.com

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2 Comments:

HAHAHHAHA. Loved it.

By Anonymous Anonymous, At May 31, 2008 at 4:02 PM  

Me, too.

By Anonymous Anonymous, At June 1, 2008 at 4:42 PM  

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