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Kids in the Hall | Same Guys New Dresses | review | dvd | Lollipop

Kids in the Hall

Same Guys, New Dresses (MVD)
by Eric Johnson

At it's worst, sketch comedy is a horrific form of entertainment overly reliant upon mugging, funny voices, prat falls, and inane running gags strained free of any sense of irony or satire. How is it that the Kids in the Hall, who commonly make use of these trappings of comedic mediocrity manage to generate a ton of original and sometimes brilliant sketches despite the fact that they were discovered and gained fame under the antichrist of sketch comedy, the diabolical Lorne Michaels? In their hilarious 1996 feature film, Brain Candy, the Kids even managed to make scathing fun of the man who has carefully squeezed the fun out of Saturday Night Live by basing a character directly on him and having his moment of greatest happiness involve cherishing a urine-laced cappuccino. Perhaps what saved them was their sense of humor, which was always bizarre, cerebral, very Canadian, nerdy, and occasionally very, very gay.

Their TV show ran forever and their movie was an incredibly perceptive satire about the dangers of designer happy drugs, but Brain Candy was released six years ago, and although each member of the comedy troupe has been involved with various projects over the years, they've never been as successful or productive apart as they were together. So it was inevitable that a reunion of some sort would be organized. So the group got back together and hit the road with an old school stage show that allowed them to create fresh material in front of a live audience. Same Guys, New Dresses is a standard issue on the road documentary that chronicles the 2000 reunion tour. It's just like any other tour movie and I would've much preferred to see a proper best-of compilation than a DVD full of live material. I'm just not crazy about live sketch comedy and don't find comedians to be particularly engrossing documentary subjects. What I do like is the fact that the movie comes with five tracks of audio commentary by the members of the troupe as well as Mike Meyers, Jason Priestly, Andy Richter, and South Park creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone. Audio commentary is always a way to hook DVD sluts like me, but five different tracks, even if one is Jason Priestly, is a real coup and a great addition to the film.

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