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My Gay Toronto - Bellini's 8 1/2

The Kids in the Hall's first biography


I just finished reading John Semley’s This Is A Book About The Kids In the Hall (2016, ECW Press). It’s a chronological history of the troupe that reads like a long magazine article written from a fan’s perspective. I was there from the beginning, first as an assistant on the Rivoli shows of the late '80s, then as a writer (and Towel Guy) on the TV series, then as a participant in both Brain Candy and Death Comes To Town. Basically, The Kids in the Hall made my career, for which I am grateful.

I knew from the beginning that these five weirdos were destined for some kind of greatness. Their comedic perspective was unlike any other. While rival troupes mounted parodies of Star Trek, the Kids performed sketches about adopting stray businessmen, or sang songs celebrating a Dempster's bread delivery truck. Luckily, I had a way in. I went to university with Scott Thompson, and from our first meeting we engaged creatively, working on a student newspaper, then making short films, and ultimately starting our bizarre punk rock band Mouth Congress. None of this is in Semley’s book, because he did not interview me, or many other key persons.

Semley originally wrote a very large and popular article about the Kids for NOW Magazine a few years ago, when the Kids were performing new material in advance of a tour. NOW is famous for never having mentioned the Kids in the Hall once in the years between 1985 to 2000, the years in which they went from a Queen Street West club act to a television phenomenon on both CBC and HBO. Maybe NOW just didn’t get the jokes. Anyway, who cares, fuck them.

I enjoyed reading Semley’s book, although there wasn’t much point in my combing it for references to myself. Semley finds time to mention irrelevant stuff like Thompson’s appearances on Tim and Eric’s show, but does not once mention the novel Thompson and I co-wrote in 1997, called Buddy Babylon. It was a fictional autobiography of Buddy Cole, published by Dell Trade Paperbacks and will soon be reissued with new material and new cover art. (More on that later.)

Semley’s book is the first ever written about the troupe, so fans will devour it. But it’s just a warm-up act for a second, more detailed and personal book being written by Paul Myers ('80’s rock star and brother of Mike Myers). Myers conducted lengthy interviews with most involved parties, and it is due in the next year.

There was concern that Semley’s book might feature some half-buried scandals about the Kids’ personal lives, but there really aren’t any to unearth, so the book is hardly salacious. Mostly, it was written to praise a comedy troupe that the author clearly adores. All things considered, the book is a huge compliment. I recommend it to any Kids in the Hall fan. 

 


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