Inevitably, the first question for Canadian comedian Bruce McCulloch is: when will the Kids in the Hall revival (which recently wrapped filming) appear on Amazon Prime?
“In the spring, when there are flowers,” deadpans McCulloch, who comes to Sidney’s Mary Winspear Centre on Nov. 4, in the middle leg of a three-stop tour starting in his hometown of Edmonton.
“I’m directing right now and one thing I always try to be able to have is something to look forward to, something to energize me,” he said. “My first love is to walk on stage and just commune with people and lay down some jokes and some weird riffs.”
So what can audiences expect from the Amazon special?
“We haven’t done the show, obviously, for many years,” McCulloch said. “The last thing we did was a murder-mystery, Death Comes To Town. But for this thing, we decided we wanted to go OG, which of course means, Original Gangster. We are kind of replicating our old show. We have the Shadowy Men (on a Shadowy Planet), we have some of the characters from the old show, new characters and new pieces, but it really is our older carcasses and points of view doing things that are interesting to us. Some of our characters will have aged, which is probably not comforting and horrifying for the viewers.”
Distilling humour out of apparently mundane, but ultimately awkward situations has been the trademark of McCulloch and fellow Kids, Dave Foley, Kevin McDonald, Mark McKinney and Scott Thompson.
The themes in McCulloch’s one-person Sidney show, titled Tales of Bravery and Stupidity, point to a comparable tension. It features what he called the “weird things” from his life that put him in “weird” situations.
Those include his description of attending a version of Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat performed by 12-year-olds – before he had children himself. “When people said, ‘why you are here, who are your children?’ I said, ‘I don’t have one.’”
While this and other stories are personal reflections, McCulloch sees them as carriers of a larger message.
“We are all brave,” he said. “I’m doing a one-person show, but it’s not about me. It’s about the world. It’s about the audience and we are all in this together.”
Getting through current times requires bravery, he noted.
“And is it stupid to go to a theatre? No, I don’t think it is. It’s brave to keep at it in life, to have children, when it doesn’t seem like we should, or to find people in our lives, to find romance, to find love. It’s about us, all of us keeping at it because we have no other choice.”
If this sounds more like philosophy than comedy, will audiences still laugh at the end?
“Oh yeah, but you will not only laugh,” he said. “People who may know my work the most, or are trying to figure out which of the Kids in the Hall I am, there is the sort of poetic thing to what I do in my storytelling.”
To get a flavour of it, consider McCulloch’s recent appearance on the The Moth Podcast, where he talks about his decision to dress up as a dead dog on Halloween to appease his grieving children. “Laughter is what can get us through the dark times, not just as a society, but in our own lives.”
Bruce McCulloch plays the Mary Winspear Centre at Nov. 4, 7:30 p.m. For ticket information, visit marywinspear.ca/event/bruce-mcculloch.
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