The Kids in the Hall

Common Sense Media says

Cross-dressing + Canadians = classic sketch comedy laughs.

Age(i)

2
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5
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8
9
10
11
12
13
14
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17

Quality(i)

 

What parents need to know

Positive messages

There's no real overarching "message"; the takeaways change from sketch to sketch and are usually silly and/or comedic.

Positive role models

Role models aren't overwhelmingly negative, but they're not particularly positive either. Characters generally act out to extremes for the sake of comedy.

Violence

Comedic violence is rare; it's more often discussed and isn't graphic.

Sex

Some sex jokes, including a few jokes intended to make fun of homophobia. A few sketches include partial nudity, such as bare bottoms shown from the back.

Language

Relatively rare but unbleeped use of "f--k," "s--t," the "N" word, and "faggot," along with words like "hell," "shut up," and "nookie."

Consumerism
Not applicable
Drinking, drugs, & smoking

Some skits involve social drinking or jokes about getting drunk or using drugs

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that this Canadian sketch comedy series uses sophisticated -- and sometimes mature -- humor designed to make adults laugh. That means you'll hear unbleeped language (including "f--k" and "s--t") and see some skits that revolve around sexual jokes and innuendo. There's occasional cartoonish violence, too, as well as a few scenes that involve alcohol or drugs. Most of the humor will go over kids' head, although there are a few sketches -- particularly a recurring segment in which a character tries to "crush" people's heads with his fingers -- that will probably appeal to them.

Parents say

Kids say

What's the story?

THE KIDS IN THE HALL is both the name of a Canadian sketch comedy group and their eponymous, Emmy-nominated TV show, which aired on CBC Television (and later in the United States on CBS and HBO) from 1988 to 1994. The group includes actor-writers Dave Foley, Kevin McDonald, Bruce McCulloch, Mark McKinney, and Scott Thompson, who created a number of recurring skits and memorable characters and often dressed up in drag to portray women.

Is it any good?

QUALITY
 

It's curious that Foley is the only member of the Kids who ever found real crossover success in the United States, starring as a fish-out-of-water news director on the workplace sitcom NewsRadio and, later, voicing heroic ant Flik in A Bug's Life. Because going back to watch these old episodes, you realize just how funny the rest of the crew is. McKinney's hilarious head-crushing sketch remains a classic, and his portrayal of a strutting, squawking Chicken Lady is still funny years later.

Older teens, especially, might enjoy "discovering" this oft-forgotten gem, which feels decidedly subversive -- but, for the most part, surprisingly tame -- compared to mainstream sketch comedy fare like Saturday Night Live and MADtv. (Fun fact: SNL creator Lorne Michaels also served as the Kids' executive producer.) If your kids like what they see here, consider introducing them to Monty Python's Flying Circus, which aired some 20 years earlier. The similarities are delighfully obvious.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about how the group's brand of satire compares with other sketch comedy shows. Does the fact that the show was created by Canadians affect its content (such as the noticable absence of celebrity impersonations and pop-culture references)?

  • Do any of the skits feel outdated, or does the humor still feel fresh? Would you make any suggestions to update it for modern audiences?

  • Would the Kids be as funny if the group included female comedians? Why do we laugh when men dress in drag and impersonate women?

TV details

Cast:Dave Foley, Kevin McDonald, Mark McKinney
Network:Syndicated
Genre:Comedy
TV rating:TV-14
Available on:DVD

This review of The Kids in the Hall was written by

About our rating system

  • ON: Content is age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • PAUSE: Know your child; some content may not be right for some kids.
  • OFF: Not age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • NOT FOR KIDS: Not appropriate for kids of any age.

Find out more

Quality

Our star rating assesses the media's overall quality.

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging, great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging, good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging, good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging, okay learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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What parents and kids say

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Teen, 13 years old Written byNovalita July 19, 2012
AGE
15
QUALITY
 

VERY funny VERY inappropriate

This show is so funny! I couldn't get enough until I got bored watched the 5th season. It can be VERY inappropriate, although there are plenty of hilarious and clean sketches, so if you are willing to watch every episode ahead of time, you could watch this with your kids and skip past the bad stuff. There is also drug use, but all is intended as humor. There is a lot of offense pointed towards gay people, but most of it comes from Scott Thompson, who is gay.

What other families should know
Too much violence
Too much sex
Too much swearing
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking
Adult Written byhamstergurl09 July 9, 2012
AGE
15
QUALITY
 

Comedic Genius

I am absolutely in love with The Kids in the Hall! They are HILARIOUS. Their comedic timing and delivery is perfect. I honestly think they're close to Monty Python in quality, and Monty Python is the best of the best. Much of the material on the show was uncommon and even revolutionary at the time it came out. It is literally tragic that this show is largely forgotten at this point, and yet the rampantly unfunny SNL continues to air. As for stuff to look out for: pretty much whatever you'd expect from a sketch show- some sexual references, occasional violence and drinking. There are uncensored swears in the show, though, and not just "minor" swears. This would be best for teens and adults, and aspiring comedians everywhere.

What other families should know
Too much violence
Too much sex
Too much swearing
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking

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