'We'd sort of buried how tough it was': The Kids in the Hall get candid about troupe tensions in Prime Video documentary

·4 min read

We’ve already gotten a new The Kids in the Hall comedy series but now Reg Harkema and Paul Myers (author and brother of Mike Myers) are revealing the good and bad times in the troupe’s history in the documentary The Kids in the Hall: Comedy Punks on Amazon’s Prime Video.

“When you run a marathon you forget about those bad, those hard miles, and you just go, ‘wow, I crossed the finish line,’” Bruce McCulloch told Yahoo Canada. “I think we'd sort of buried how tough it was.”

“I knew how tough it was for some of us during Brain Candy because of things that were going on in everybody's life. But the tension, I didn't take that into my body the same way because I think I was working and it's like, wow, there was some tension there.”

MONTREAL - JULY 19:  Comedians Kevin McDonald, Scott Thompson, Mark McKinney, Dave Foley, Bruce McCulloch  of The Kids in the Hall Perform at the Montreal Just for Laughs Comedy Festival 2007  (Photo by Mark Von Holden/WireImage)
MONTREAL - JULY 19: Comedians Kevin McDonald, Scott Thompson, Mark McKinney, Dave Foley, Bruce McCulloch of The Kids in the Hall Perform at the Montreal Just for Laughs Comedy Festival 2007 (Photo by Mark Von Holden/WireImage)

While The Kids in the Hall: Comedy Punks highlights the origins of the Canadian legends, receiving glowing endorsements from celebrities Fred Armisen, Jay Baruchel and producer Lorne Michaels, it’s also a candid look at the moments where the group — McCulloch, Scott Thompson, Mark McKinney, Dave Foley and Kevin McDonald — wasn't getting along.

“It’s funny just how, with time, it kind of severs the link between the emotions and the intellect,” Thompson said. “So I can look at it just intellectually now and I don't have to feel the pain.”

“But when you see things like,...during Brain Candy we're [at] a photoshoot and we're not talking to each other, and I'm kind of acting out, it's weird because I just go holy f–k, I was a real asshole there… But I also felt like wow, that's so sad. These guys who really love each other, who are so good together, can't find it right now.”

AUSTIN, TEXAS - MARCH 15: Bruce McCulloh (L) and Scott Thompson attend the premiere of
AUSTIN, TEXAS - MARCH 15: Bruce McCulloh (L) and Scott Thompson attend the premiere of "The Kids in the Hall: Comedy Punks" during the 2022 SXSW Conference and Festival - Day 5 at the Zach Theatre on March 15, 2022 in Austin, Texas. (Photo by Gary Miller/WireImage)

'He still makes people uncomfortable'

A good portion of The Kids in the Hall: Comedy Punks has a focus on Scott Thompson, where the troupe talk candidly about his battle with cancer, in addition to the importance of his character Buddy Cole, who continues to be both iconic but polarizing.

“I always knew Buddy was important because he was an effeminate, gay male that owned it and we've never allowed people to desexualize him,” Scott Thompson said. “I find it fascinating that he's still a controversial character, that he still makes people uncomfortable.”

“He was never really accepted. Buddy Cole was never a huge gay icon. I think he really has always been a real problematic character for the queer community, but that's who he is. He's not an activist… I'm very proud of Buddy.”

NEW YORK, NEW YORK--JUNE 10: Comedian and Actor Scott Thompson of
NEW YORK, NEW YORK--JUNE 10: Comedian and Actor Scott Thompson of "Kids In The Hall" performs his Buddy Cole show at Caroline's Comedy Club on June 10, 1998 in New York City. (Photo by Al Pereira/Getty Images/Michael Ochs Archives)

Bruce McCulloch added that for him, Buddy Cole “brought the queer voice to the heterosexual community.”

“The people that I grew up with who drove trucks and chased me down the street for wearing a pink shirt,...they started to understand, and wow, there's a gay person on TV and they're being really funny,” McCulloch said. “I think it's helped move the river against homophobia, I really do.”

Whether you're a longtime fan of The Kids in the Hall, or looking to learn about about the Canadian comedy legends for the first time, the "unsung hero" of the documentary is Paul Bellini, dubbed “Man in Towel” in The Kids in the Hall series.

In addition to more traditional interview moments with Bellini, The Kids in the Hall: Comedy Punks includes extensive footage he captured, following the troupe and recording these more intimate moments throughout their career.

“All that footage was key,” Thompson said. “He just started chronicling our lives, The Kids in the Hall lives, a whole group of friends lives, and it was irritating at the time, but it certainly has proved to be very beneficial.”

“He really is the unsung hero of the documentary,” McCulloch added. “He's someone everyone in the troupe loves and they just want to like touch him when they see him.”

“He and I never talked about culture or comedy or any stuff like that. We just joke around but he's ultimately very important to us.”

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