2018, Books, Non-Fiction

The Kids in the Hall: One Dumb Guy (2018) by Paul Myers

Full disclosure: The Kids in the Hall are among the most formative cultural influences of my life. I was too young when their show premiered, as I was 7 when the pilot aired and 8 when it premiered. However, I was old enough to watch it before it went off the air. (My guess is I started watching regularly during season 4.) My mom, who was extremely strick about the kinds of programs my brother and I watched until I was in my mid teens, didn’t seem to be bothered by this particular show. (Or I watched it without her knowing.) And then, a few years later, their Canadian syndication went into full stream and I managed to watch basically every episode at least once, most more than once. I have the original series on DVD and I’ve watched those DVDs at least twice. I have seen them perform twice (more on that in a moment), I’ve seen a Kevin McDonald/Scott Thompson show and a Scott Thompson show. I feel like KITH’s aesthetic greatly influenced how I see the world – both in what I like and in my attitudes towards people. In short, I cannot be objective about a biography of one of my favourite sketch comedy shows ever. (The others are Flying Circus and SCTV but neither of those were as formative for me.) I am one of the people this book was written for.

For me, anyway, this is a rewarding, fairly complete, funny and actually somewhat eye opening biography of KITH through about 2015. (I mention that because the Amazon Prime show doesn’t seem to have even been in consideration when this was published.) I learned lots of things I didn’t know about the members, including the various famous people they’ve interacted with along the way and and Scott Thompson surviving Canada’s first school shooting. I was also reminded of things I forgot (such as Thompson’s cancer). I was thoroughly entertained and very happy to read the book.

On a personal note: it’s safe to say I have never read another book where a live show I personally attended was mentioned (there is also a photo). It’s a tiny bit of a thrill that I’ve never experienced before.

This is an authorized biography and it focuses on the Kids’ personal lives almost exclusively pre troupe formation. So, if you’re interested in their personal lives for the 30 years between 1985 and 2015, you will get very little. I think you could say there’s an issue there with completeness. And you can criticize the book for it. It’s also understandable, at least at some level, given Foley’s life in particular. As someone who wants to think about these five people entirely positively, it doesn’t bother me, but I see the problem.
The other minor quibble is that it does feel a little premature, given that they have a current TV show. No one knew that in 2015, of course.

I do feel like an unauthorized biography written in 2025 might have a little bit more to offer but, that being said, it’s hard to imagine another person getting the access Mike Myers’ brother was able to get here.

8/10

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