Canadians—our mild-mannered neighbors to the north—are so irreverent. I did a Google search on Canadian comedians and the words "groundbreaking" and "irreverent" popped up on nearly every result. British comedy is bawdy and dry, American comedy has its moments (Dane Cook excepted), but the Canucks have the market on irreverent all tied up. And no-one is more giddily irreverent than the legendary sketch comedy troupe The Kids in the Hall. While Saturday Night Live pussy-footed around in the late '80s with lightweight sketches like "Toonces the Driving Cat," the group of five Canadian men that make up The Kids dove head first into topics like racism, prostitution, homosexuality, disability and more. That's not to say that they didn't also spend a lot of time on nonsense skits as well, but even their nonsense seemed weightier than SNL's attempts at topicality. The episodes played endlessly on late night MTV (and later on Comedy Central), exposing American audiences to long-running characters like The Chicken Lady and Mississippi Gary, as well as to future News Radio lead Dave Foley. Foley and his compatriots left a lasting impression on their American contemporaries, upping the ante for sketch comedy and paving the way for racier, more relevant pieces on SNL, Mad TV and others. The Kids in the Hall revive their 20-year-plus partnership for a national comedy tour that stops at the Nokia Theatre at Grand Prairie, 1001 Performance Drive, at 8 p.m. Wednesday. Tickets can be purchased online at ticketmaster.com.
Wed., April 23, 8 p.m., 2008
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