The 90’s was not my favorite decade for personal reasons (nose seemingly disproportionate to the rest of my face, catepillar eyebrows, discovering my sexuality through Elton John
circa 1972), HOWEVER, it was my favorite decade for sketch comedy.
Only two troupes stand out in my mind as rulers of 90’s sketch- CBC’s The Kids in the Hall and MTV’s The State.
If you don’t know who either are, you’re a fucking loser.
There, I said it.
Somebody had to.
My roommate brought home the newly released The State DVD boxset tonight and I got myself reaquinted with the show. I watched The State when it was still on MTV, way before I ever discovered what The Kids in the Hall was.
I must have thought I was a pretty fucking awesome twelve year-old.
When I saw The Kids in the Hall “Brain Candy“ a few years later, I was at first appalled, then turned on. Wild intrigue manifested into manical obsession and I lost a great deal of friends during this time due to my forcing them to reenact “Buddy Cole” skits every time they came over.
“Hey, Lauren, wanna go swim in the pool?”
“NO! Here, put this smoking jacket on and purse your lips. Now emphasize your S’s! DO IT!”
Every day my VCR was programmed to record KitH reruns airing on Comedy Central from 2PM-3PM EST. I’d race off the school bus just in time to heat up a ham and cheese hot pocket, catch the last fifteen minutes of the second episode, then rewind and sit for one hour in pure bliss. I’m obviously a bigger fan of The Kids in the Hall, but as I watched the second season of The State tonight I attempted objectivity and wondered which really was the better troupe? The State- the eleven person NYU crew, representing the 90’s MTV generation with sardonism and tongue-in-cheek wit? Or The Kids in the Hall- the five, loveable, slighty perverted nerds from Canada, representing the generation of….slightly perverted Canadian nerds?
Here is my scorecard:
1.) It’s a Man’s World- there were no women in The Kids in the Hall and only one woman in the 11 person State crew.
gets a +1 for only being mildy scared of women.
2.) Toronto vs. NYC- KitH was a Toronto-based troupe full of college dropouts and good ol’ Canadian boys through and through. The State was full of recently graduated NYU students. Both cities have their charm but the Brooklyn thing is overdone, even if the The State was there before it was super cool.
-Kids in the Hall gets a +1 because a.) they lived in the nicer and cleaner NYC b.) they lived in f’ing cold ass weather.
3.) Crush Worthy- even when I was a little girl, I had a thing for Thomas Lennon. I’m not sure why. Maybe it’s his thin lips or 1940’s part. That crush only heightened when Reno 911! came out and he donned the best pair of short shorts my generation has ever seen. He still remains one of the few actors I found myself speechless around when I encountered him on the studio lot we both worked at.
With his baby blue eyes and gapped tooth grin, I quickly fell in love with Dave Foley for his perfect mix of masculine and feminie qualities (who are we kidding…that guy is a chick!) However, time has not been good to Mr. Foley, and he has recently become the poster child for Men Who Look Like Old Lesbians.
-The State gets a +1 for aging more gracefully.
4.) The Gay Truth- The Kids in the Hall had one openly gay member, Scott Thompson, and boy, was he the most amazingly gay man ever. Remember Buddy Cole? If anyone was gay in The State, we did not know about it..
-Kids in the Hall gets a +1 for having an openly gay member and not being afraid to talk about it.
*Editors note- I’ve been corrected. I forgot about The State’s Kevin Allison and their famous, “The Jew, The Italian, and the Redhead Gay” skit. Im still giving this category to KitH though
5.) Beauty is in the Eye of the Beholder- There is no competition here. Nobody looked as good in dresses as the Kids in the Hall. NOBODY!
They made my burgeoning sexuality all the more confusing.
-Kids in the Hall
+1 for being some hot mo-fo’s.
6.) Success!- All the members or KitH and The State have gone onto other things- comedic and serious acting, directing, writing, more sketch comedy, music, etc. Though The Kids have had some successful moments since KitH ended- Foley on Newsradio, McCulloch’s “directing” career, and McKinney’s brief stint on SNL-the members of The State have had a far more interesting journey.
Where to begin? Remember Viva Variety? Reno 911!? “Wet Hot American Summer”? Lennon and Garant have gone onto a successful (“successful” being relative) writing career as well- “Night at the Museum”, “The Pacifier”, “Let’s Go to Prison”, and “Herbie: Fully Reloaded”.
-The State gets a +1 for having a larger, more consistenly cooler body of work.
7.) Unforgettable Characters- how many funny, unforgettable reoccuring character can you remember from The Kids in the Hall? Headcrusher, Cabbage Head, The Chicken Lady, Gavin, Simon and Hecubus, Buddy Cole, Danny Husk, Jocelyn and Maudre, Cathy and Kathie…
Now how many can you remember from The State
Barry & Levon and Doug.
-Kids in the Hall gets a +1 for having an imagination.
AND THE WINNER IS????
Kids in the Hall=4
(Of course The Kids in the Hall would win….I will always be a KitH girl)