The Reel Review
The wonderfully weird, irreverent, five man Canadian sketch comedy troupe of the late 1980s and early 90s is back – older, but still as silly as ever, with a new lineup of dark, subversive humor, in this eight episode Amazon series.
The quintet, most now in their 60s, reprise several of their iconic characters with a modern day spin while adding lots of new ones. Picking up where their original series left off, they lean into the challenges and indignities of middle age, including a fair share of full frontal nudity. Ah, that nostalgic theme song…
Some sketches (the masturbatory ZOOM work conference call, gay barfly Buddy Cole and a historic glory hole, the reanimated Shakespeare bust) are truly hysterical – some others, eh, not so much. Brief cameos of other comedians (Pete Davidson, Catherine O’Hara, et al.) sprinkled throughout the 30-minute episodes feel like unnecessary homage, distracting from the show’s more edgy, outlandish comic theme. But enough of the sketches do work, showing fans that the troupe has still got it – and Scott Thompson is still absolutely hilarious.
• Mark McKinney’s character Don The Executive is a parody of series Executive Producer Lorne Michaels (Saturday Night Live).
• Melanie, whose huge 1971 hit song “Brand New Key” features prominently in the Underground Bunker DJ sketch, currently lives in Nashville, Tennessee.
• The troupe’s 1996 comedy film The Kids in the Hall: Brain Candy, while a cult classic for fans, was a commercial failure, earning only $2.6 million at the box office.