This week, actor, writer and comedian Janet Varney is guest hosting for Jesse! Janet is one of the hosts of the long-running segment Dinner and a Movie on TBS, a writer for the DVD commentary series Rifftrax, and is one of the co-founders and producers of SF Sketchfest (an amazing celebratory festival of comedy in San Francisco).
She'll talk to Bruce McCulloch, best known as one of the members of the comedy troupe The Kids in the Hall. Since his KITH days, Bruce has written and directed for film and television. Among his projects are movies like Superstar, Dog Park and Stealing Harvard, the ABC series Carpoolers, the KITH miniseries Death Comes to Town, and even a stint on SNL. In this interview, Bruce talks about tracing his musical comedy roots, the dynamics of The Kids in the Hall, producing comedy, and more.
JANET VARNEY: It's The Sound of Young America, I'm Janet Varney in for Jesse Thorn.
My guest is none other than Bruce McCulloch. For years he's been a member of the amazing Canadian comedy troupe Kids in the Hall. They had a television show in the 90s; the movie Brain Candy that was released in 96; and the awesome recent miniseries, Death Comes to Town.
On his own, Bruce has released two comedy albums. He's directed films like Superstar and Stealing Harvard, and he's collaborated with Bill Burr, Norm McDonald, and many others. We'll talk about all that, but first let's hear this clip from Kids in the Hall with Bruce appearing as Gavin; a grade school boy who's eager to have interactions with nonplussed adults.
Bruce McCulloch you guys know, of course, as a member of Kids in the Hall, but he's also released two comedy music CDs, Shame-Based Man and Drunk Baby Project; he created the ABC series Carpoolers, and has written and directed several films including Dogpark and Comeback Season. He also has a young impetuous Standard Poodle named Meatball.
Scott Thompson is best known for his work in the sketch group The Kids in the Hall, whose TV show began airing on Canadian and US television in the late 80s and early 90s and continues its presence today. The all-male Kids in the Hall are renowned for their bizarre, compelling sketch comedy and portraying both women and men with equal aplomb, and Scott Thompson himself has played a variety of beloved characters from the Queen of England to the over-the-top Buddy Cole to the humble, everyday yes man Danny Husk.
Danny Husk is the inspiration for one of his newest projects, a series of fantasy adventures in graphic novel form. The first of those is Husk: The Hollow Planet.
JESSE THORN: It’s The Sound of Young America, I’m Jesse Thorn. The Kids in the Hall are one of the most beloved sketch comedy groups in the world. From their roots in the rock and roll scene of mid-1980s Toronto, through their television program in Canada and the United States and through today, they’ve been known for some of the weirdest, most bizarre, compelling, hilarious comedy that anyone in the world has to offer.
One of the most singular of their singular members is my guest today, Scott Thompson. The Kids were known for their weird, strange comedy. But one of Scott’s most famous characters was Danny Husk, a man whose only weirdness was how banal he was. In this clip from the kids in the hall TV show Danny Husk is sent by his boss on a woodland retreat to find his inner warrior. The retreat leader is played by fellow Kid in the Hall Kevin McDonald.
So it’s pretty interesting that Scott chose Danny Husk to build a graphic novel around; not just any graphic novel, but a fantasy graphic novel called The Hollow Planet. That book is in stores now, and Scott Thompson is with me today. Welcome to The Sound of Young America, Scott.
SCOTT THOMPSON: Thank you very much.