Tag Archives: SCTV

Ep. #333: Kevin McDonald

Kevin McDonald is an ingenious comedic performer and writer currently based in Winnipeg, Manitoba. Originally from Toronto, McDonald is best known as a member of the hugely influential Canadian sketch troupe, the Kids in the Hall. This August marks the first anniversary of McDonald’s inventive variety show podcast, Kevin McDonald’s Kevin McDonald Show, a mix of sketch comedy and conversations and musical performances, which has featured guest turns from Mike Myers, Wallace Shawn, Rachel Dratch, Ted Leo, Michael Showalter, Craig Finn, Susanna Hoffs, Rob Corddry, and his fellow Kids, Scott Thompson and Dave Foley, among many others. McDonald and I had a chat recently about living in Winnipeg, his idiosyncratic approach to comedy podcasts, John Lennon’s perfect rock ‘n’ roll life, the new wave of sketch comedy, news about the Kids in the Hall and their upcoming appearance at a benefit show featuring Dave Thomas, Rick Moranis, and many members of the original SCTV cast, and much more. Sponsored by Pizza Trokadero, the Bookshelf, Planet Bean Coffee, and Grandad’s Donuts.

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Ep. #290: John Semley on The Kids in the Hall

John Semley is a prolific journalist and cultural critic based in Toronto who regularly contributes to the Globe and Mail and Macleans magazine. His obsession with comedy led him to fall in love with true originals in the innovative Canadian troupe, the Kids in the Hall. ECW Press has just published This is a Book About The Kids in the Hall, Semley’s exhaustive and engaging overview of the life and times of Dave Foley, Bruce McCulloch, Kevin McDonald, Mark McKinney, and Scott Thompson, otherwise known, as the Kids in the Hall. Semley and I recently met at his home to discuss Bloordale and a toxic gas event, Scharpling & Wurster at the Mod Club in Toronto, SCTV, phone comedy and radio shows, oblivious characters, The Kids in the Hall and The Simpsons and Mr. Show, adults comedies getting syndicated and then running at like four in the afternoon when kids get home from school, obsession and fandom, being a metal guy, comedy and classic rock, the Prodigy and the Chemical Brothers, metal and hardcore scenes and Alexisonfire in St. Catharines, Constellation Records and Godspeed You! Black Emperor and Neurosis, generalism in a post-taste era, sardonic, contemptuous comedy, surrealism, humour and coping with life, the Kids in the Hall were outcasts, seeing Brain Candy at a movie theatre when he was nine years old, dad issues among the Kids, Mr. Show and irony versus The Kids in the Hall and sincere rage, psychological studies and post-Freudian critical theory, skewering authority figures and conceptions of manhood, cross dressing and female characters, queerness, dad types, rebelling via The Kids in the Hall, idiocy, his 2013 oral history about the Kids for NOW Magazine and its surprising popularity, Toronto the cool, Queen Street West in the mid-1980s, comedy club intimacy and the Rivoli, love comedy discomfort, comedian smugness and aloofness, the interviewer who thinks they’re as funny as the comedian they’re talking to, his entertaining prose in this book, when trying to relate to someone leads to alienation, Shadowy Men on a Shadowy Planet and Lorne Michaels’ pride for the Kids in the Hall, Janeane Garofalo, Dave Foley’s show Spun Out and the Kids’ unique chemistry, Gene Siskel and Roger Ebert reviewing Brain Candy, negative reviews of Death Comes to Town, nothing like the Kids in the Hall, “Screw You, Taxpayer!,” an unauthorized biography, a second book proposal, interviewing ‘Dylanologist’ AJ Weberman, @johnsemley3000, and then John when to hang out with these guys who smoke!

Related links: ecwpress.com john-semley.squarespace.com vishkhanna.com

kidsinthehall

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Ep. #269: Baroness von Sketch Show

Baroness von Sketch Show is a very funny sketch comedy TV program that airs on CBC. This edgy yet grounded show is written by and stars four very talented and hilarious human beings: Carolyn Taylor, Meredith MacNeill, Aurora Browne, and Jennifer Whalen. They’re just wrapping up their first season on CBC with the finale airing on Tuesday July 19 at 9:30 PM ET and you catch up on past episodes and sketches at cbc.ca/baroness. I recently met up with Carolyn, Meredith, Aurora, and Jennifer at the Gladstone Hotel in Toronto to chat about a roll call, Aurora’s action figure name, capes and tools, superhero skills, meeting and working at the Gladstone in Toronto, Junction Triangular or West Bender, different Canadian cities, getting to know Baroness von Sketch and where it came from, better origin stories, the Patton Oswalt George Lucas/prequel bit, spending a chunk of time talking about the Justice League, parenting and childhood nostalgia, questions about robbers, nerd lines, 20 years to BVS, TVO Kids is awesome and is often spearheaded by edgy, Canadian comedians, writing for kids’ cartoons, Odd Squad, local comedy coverage by Canadian publications, brain drain, eh, Canada’s confidence complex, America is much weirder than us, community support, people like Jon Dore who maintain their roots in Canadian comedy, the Mars One sketch Dore’s improv, beards, David Letterman’s beard, positive and negative feedback, a male shipwreck, the Fuck, Marry, Kill sketch, making your parents uncomfortable with your comedy, the fart lighting sketch, my wife, trying to describe the show and its shorter vignettes, relatable and grounded sketch, rich details, learning at Second City, Smack the Pony, The Muppet Show, 9 to 5, Monty Python, The Kids in the Hall, Amy Schumer, The Office UK, Not the Nine O’Clock News, SCTV, Superjail!, Rick and Morty, parameters and working with CBC, not a bucket of jizz, Seinfeld and saying things without actually saying it, an all-female sketch comedy show, perceptions of political undercurrents, a feminist recruitment tool, being women working in comedy, political correctness and privilege, all the stuff have white man have done, the strange responsibility of having to explain what it’s like to be a woman, just wanting to talk about the work, we’re not post-gender, comedy control, the future of BVS and oh the places you can watch the show on Tuesdays at 9:30 PM ET and Sundays at 9:00 PM ET on CBC, BVS hasn’t done it live, the Book Club sketch, and then we said good-bye.

Related links: cbc.ca/baroness vishkhanna.com

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