The Cross-Dressing Kings of Comedy

What in the hell can one possibly say about The Kids In the Hall that hasn't already been said? Sketch comedy that transcends the studio set, that is brave, intelligent, offensive, intuitive and brilliant all at once? I could hit you with about 50 more superlatives, but I won't because chances are that many of you reading this feel the same way I do about the Canadian quintet—for those now in their late 20s and early 30s, they were the comedy gods of our college years, the true heirs to Python and funniest thing going at a time when SNL was supposedly on the comeback trail but we all knew it was sketchy at best. (No pun intended.) The Kids never jumped the shark during their 1989-94 run (Originally aired on the CBC, the show landed here on HBO and then Comedy Central), and we Kids geeks can celebrate with this week's long-awaited release of the fifth and final season on DVD.

Though the team's writing did seem to find its peak during year three, the last Kids season finds Dave Foley, Mark McKinney, Scott Thompson, Bruce McCulloch and Kevin McDonald (or, as we discover he's known in France, "Le Poopie") still as willing as ever to say anything and go anywhere with a sketch if there's a laugh in it—and there are usually several, from an inspired, 1950s info-film-styled bit about how to keep your sex slave healthy to perhaps the best-ever sketch featuring McKinney's riotously creepy Chicken Lady character. (You'll never hear the words "Bye, horsey!" the same again.) As with previous seasons, there are commentaries from all five Kids on their favorite skits, plus for this set, the truly excellent series finale that includes Foley's and McDonald's "censored" sketches from seasons past ("Soup du Jour!"); bittersweet, saucy goodbyes to faves like Buddy Cole and the Kathys; and possibly the greatest final scene of any series, be it sketch or comedy or neither. (Yes, even better than when Newhart woke up with Suzanne Pleshette. Don't argue.)

Also recommended this week: Ghost In the Shell: Complete First Season; It's a Wonderful Life: 60th Anniversary Edition; The Martin & Lewis Collection; Mission Impossible: III; Six Feet Under: The Complete Series; Tales of the Rat Fink.

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