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Kevin McDonald @ Theatre Ste. Catherine

Posted by Susan / July 11, 2007

20070711_KevinMcDonald.JPGMP alumnus Matt Silver writes:

The great thing about the Kids in The Hall was that without making it seem difficult, they were able to breathe new life into old stock comedy characters. Bruce McCullough gave us the hyperactive kid in the form of Gavin; Scott Thompson gave us the middle class businessman in the form of Danny Husk. Dave Foley did the disaffected stoned teenager Brian, and Mark McKinney did the best damn Chicken Lady I’ve ever seen (I know, not much of a stock character…yet).

But Kevin McDonald OWNED the Bad Dad. I don’t think a comedian before or after has been able to capture the bad dad as well as he did, whether it be the emotionally destroyed father washing the car with “a whole lotta milka”, or in Brain Candy, the suicidal dad who makes sure his young son “cleaned the gun”. Then there is Gavin’s deadbeat dad who swoops in to claim custody after Gavin’s mother dies. And, of course, there is “Daddy Drank”, a sketch that has Dave Foley playing Kevin’s alcoholic father who threatens to kill him in his sleep. More often then not, his depictions of completely miserable asshole fathers are so spot on that it could only have come from real life.

In many ways, Hammy and The Kids, Kevin McDonald’s one-man show playing at Theatre Ste. Catherine from the 10th to the 22nd, begins where “Daddy Drank” leaves off. It is an honest and at times funny collection of anecdotes about Kevin’s various familial dysfunctions, be it his miserable alcoholic father, or the four extended brothers that made up The Kids in the Hall. He takes the audience on a trip through his life, from his early days as a fat, asthmatic class clown to his later success as a skinny, passive aggressive Canadian comedy icon.

In the interest of full disclosure, I should probably let it be known that growing up, Kevin was my favorite Kid. When other kids (for lack of a better word) came to school with kick-ass Buddy Cole impressions or cabbage head one-liners, I worked on perfecting my Sir Simon Milligan “Evil” yelp. So that being said, I was a little sentimental about seeing my childhood hero. And I have to say, he worked the same charm on me tonight as he did 15 years ago. The show itself is far from a knock out. It has some painful musical numbers, and more than a few groaners, but it’s Kevin McDonald’s total innocence and genuine pathos that help the show to find its feet. He tells stories about discovering his father locked in a hotel room trying to drink himself to death, but never veers into the maudlin pitfalls of confessional theatre. At the same time, his anecdotes about the other Kids in The Hall work as loving tributes to a group that over the years became his de facto family. By the end of it all, one gets the feeling that this show, for all its shortcomings and half-baked gags, has a genuine therapeutic value for its author.

My one hope is that Hammy and The Kids does not allow Kevin McDonald a total catharsis. I know it sounds selfish and believe me, I wish him all the best. I just don’t know what I would do without all those bad dads.



ulric / July 23, 2007 at 12:28 pm
I was there. What a small room that was!

The show was very typical for these types of therapeutic one-man-show.
I didn't know it was going to be this way when I went, and was a bit disappointed, buutt.. it was a part of a package, which lessens the pain.

In its genre, I think it was a actually quite a poor show. It wasn't very funny and the story isn't particularly interesting. The thing is, many people who make these kinds of show have a very unusual tale to tell. Not the case here, we're talking about the kind of chat you could be having with anyone, and not something actually build a show, rent a room for.

Even when telling a story that is pretty ordinary, great comedian are usually able to make it very funny. In this case, it is really more like a chat with an ordinary person, a one-side interview, and not a comedian's show.

The show started with a couple of songs that didn't add much to the 1h20 experience.

I haven't seen the Kids In The Hall reunion show, but from the review here I get a chilling impression that everyone who isn't Scott Thompson is struggling right now.
ulric / July 23, 2007 at 12:30 pm
hey, the 'preview comment' feature on this site is broken, I get the error :

Build error in template 'Comment Preview Template': Error in tag: Can't find included file '/home/.ichabod/timshore/'
Maria / July 30, 2007 at 07:54 pm
I saw this show on July 17th and I thought it was a great show. I had a great time and laughed a lot. Especially at the masturbation fire story and the passive aggressive stories and song. He managed to bring humour to a serious topic without turning it into a big joke. Great Job Kevin. I hope he tours this show. I would love to see it again in Toronto.
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