10. “Dead Fish”
In this absurdist take on mechanization and its effect on blue-collar workers, robot arms replace the men who stood for years with their arms in a vat of dead fish. Were the sketch to examine a more recognizable means of industry, it wouldn’t be nearly as poignant or funny. Watching the ease with which the men are cast aside by their carnivalesque union and robot boss creates a deeper impact.
9. “Chicken Lady Show”
The Chicken Lady may be one of the most memorable characters to emerge out of Kids in the Hall. Who can forget the time she and the Bearded Lady went to a strip club that just so happened to feature a rooster? Add interactions with a frightened waiter and a chastising MC, and this sketch showcases everything there is to love about Chicken Lady’s world. Including her “big finish.”
8. “Open Letter 1 & 2”
In between performed and filmed sketches, the Kids often took to the stage to perform monologues. Bruce McCulloch’s rant against the jerk that took his bicycle wheel, and the people who watched, strikes a sharp comedic note. Bruce’s straightforward delivery—his disdain, his disgust, his disbelief—and the range of insults he flings at the imagined thief make it a gem.
7. “On the Run”
Most often appearing in between sketches, those inept Cops have a grand showdown with three escaped convicts toward Season 2’s end. After encountering the convicts sitting down to a meal at a diner, the cops hurry to catch them. Both sides race through their meal in order to get the check first. In a world where the rules are illogical, each side plays them by them nonetheless.
At just over a minute, “Parenting” is perhaps more of a bit than a sketch, but its irreverent take on childrearing makes it a classic even if it’s sometimes overlooked in favor of flashier sketches. A mother and father call a press conference to inform the public what their neighbors already suspect: Their son is a disappointment to them, as is the whole parenting experience.
5. “Spy Models”
No one plays larger than life females better than Scott Thompson. The glamorous movie star Francesca Fiore appears in all manner of sketches with her lover Bruno Puntz Jones (Dave Foley), but it’s the time they chop up a general during a fashion show that’s particularly hilarious.
4. “Running Faggot”
Take a word or concept’s negative connotation and turn it on its head. That’s exactly what Kids in the Hall does with “Running Faggot,” a song about a folk hero who feeds a puppy, stops a battle and serves as the foil to two stereotypical rednecks. Sung by two church boys, the satire is sharp all around.
It’s the Scottish sport sweeping the globe. Soon Shirling will be more popular than football, hockey and every other professionally played team sport. What is it exactly? Two four-person teams circle around a live cobra trying to spray players with venom. One day it’ll be as popular as monster truck rallies.
2. “Tampa Bay”
Fran and Gordon first appear in “Salty Ham,” but he continues lamenting her cooking in “Tampa Bay.” Gordon comes home claiming he’s been fired for going berserk. The culprit? His lunch. (“Soup in a bag, Fran? Soup in a bag?”) Where Fran stayed relatively collected when Gordon yelled at her for preparing a salty ham, she loses it to hilarious effect when he tells her she’ll have to get a job.
Mark McKinney’s famous headcrusher Mr. Tyzyk appeared in Kids in the Hall’s very first episode, and became an instant hit. Any “best of” list usually includes the headcrusher’s rehab stint, but when he meets and faces off against his rival, the “Facepincher,” it creates an unforgettable battle for finger supremacy.
Amanda Wicks is a journalist specializing in music and comedy. As a Canadian, she’s happy to say she does know that guy from Toronto you met once. Follow her on Twitter.