There are some reprises and call-outs: The top crusher returns, as does the self-styled squash-playing menace the Eradicator. Buddy Cole makes particular sense aged right into a regal elder-gay — the best way, Thompson has said, he envisioned the character a long time ago — and each of Thompson’s signature queens reappear in a sketch through which Her Majesty dedicates a risqué monument to Buddy’s beloved old bathhouse.
Sometimes, the brand new bits lean on the aging gags too obviously, like a painful sketch about 60-year-old male strippers. (There’s a healthy amount of nudity within the season, more gainfully deployed in other segments.)
But probably the most surprising thing in regards to the season is how much it tries to evolve the Kids’ comedy and take it in latest directions. This is just not simply the “The Kids within the Hall” the group would have made had it stuck around for a sixth season within the Nineteen Nineties. (They briefly reunited for 2010’s “Death Involves Town,” a comedy serial made, the documentary notes, when Thompson was seriously in poor health with cancer.) If the five were once cheerfully riotous kids, they’ve turn out to be gentlemanly comic assassins.
A few of the most effective sketches, whether silly or savage, have a tinge of horror. Foley plays a morning radio host five years after the apocalypse, spinning Melanie’s 1971 earworm “Brand Recent Key” time and again, his upbeat patter contrasting together with his dead eyes. A Shakespeare aficionado wishes that his bust of the Bard would come to life, and it does — horrifically, because it has no arms or torso.
And within the dreamlike, expressionist “Flags of Mark,” McKinney spins a fantasy about his devoted friends using flags — depicting him riding a dolphin under a rainbow — to search out one another amid a faceless, masked crowd while his disembodied face floats above them, laughing at their dedication and distress. It’s a fun-house portrait of egotism and a type of book end to McKinney’s famous early character: He isn’t crushing your head, his head is crushing you.
Depressingly often these days, seeing your favorite comics get on in years means watching them turn into cranks, repeating themselves and bemoaning how no one can take a joke anymore. But for probably the most part, the group has handled aging well — possibly since it was all the time just a little ahead of its time, possibly because its comedy all the time had greater than the same old quotient of memento mori. (The final credits of the show’s original run, in spite of everything, had the quintet being buried in a typical grave.) Even punks get old. But you never stop being a Kid.