In some ways, you had to feel for unsuspecting Weidner
Center ushers graciously showing people to their seats Sunday night.
The University of Wisconsin-Green Bay venue has never hosted a live show as fresh and edgy as "Kids in the Hall" before. And if the f-bomb-a-thon between Dave Foley and Kevin McDonald in an imaginary girlfriend sketch didn't obliterate the mature audience meter, then it was patented "Kids" humor in the form of … er … well, even giving background about some of the night's funniest bits might offend delicate dispositions.
It’s no wonder the head count was roughly 775, or a “small but eager” crowd as Scott Thompson noted while making an analogy for his preferred partners during a sketch as gay socialite Buddy Cole.
These were die-hards who paid the relatively steep $40 and change to see the older, heavier, (gasp!) dirtier Canadian comedy troupe on their first major tour since 2002. Thunderous applause for longtime favorites like Mark McKinney’s Chicken Lady or Bruce McCulloch’s Gavin made that much obvious.
You can’t blame Green Bay for not coming out in droves. The Kids haven’t been on TV in years, and even if they were still in the public’s consciousness, the humor was never topical or easy-to-digest.
You also couldn’t blame a few audience members if they cringed slightly during some of the show’s most antagonistic skits. Naughty words were as abundant as anti-religion blasts – Osama bin Laden and Catholic League president Bill Donohue might want to issue a joint condemnation – and the sexual humor – let’s politely call one skit “Car Bangers” – wasn’t of the censored cable-rerun variety.
But it isn’t shock value the crass Canadians were selling. The troupe’s new material was cerebral and cohesive as ever during the fast-paced 100-minute show.
McCulloch’s fingerprints were all over a hilariously absurdist sketch tracing his dancing technique as a teenager. Paired with McKinney as two over-caffeinated, buzzword-spewing salesman for the “Gut Spigot,” both sold more laughs with madcap mannerisms, many of the resulting positions too close-for-comfort.
Foley was particularly ingenious during a running time-travel gag that saw the most visible Kid pass up a shot at assassinating young Hitler so he could hoist a stein with the future Fuhrer. Oh, and he also might have planted the seed about one of history’s worst atrocities.
In a final, brilliant touch, Weidner patrons frivolously pleaded to be spared flathead status as the Headcrusher made the rounds with a handheld camera. The remaining Kids were brought out for a final crushing – McKinney reading them the riot act (in Foley's case, hosting a poker show on TV) before squashing himself thanks to a forgettable stint on "Saturday Night Live."
Super Drunk. Tweaking on crystal meth. Gay sandwiches. It was all part of the unapologetic package.
If Green Bay didn’t know it before, these Kids are as grown up as it gets.
Labels: Kids in the Hall, sketch comedy