017 - Kevin McDonald on the Kids in the Hall Writing Process, Dynamics of the Writers' Room and the Confidence of Experience


Interview with comedian, actor, voice artist and co-founder of the edgy, dark and surreal sketch comedy troupe Kids in the Hall, Kevin McDonald. Kids in the Hall brought us 5 seasons of ground-breaking sketch comedy, the feature film Brain Candy, live tours, and mini-series Death Comes to Town. I spent my formative years watching Kids reruns after school, and learned that a lot was possible with sketch comedy. I was delighted to meet Kevin and learn that he is not only an incredible talent, but also kind, generous and humble.

Kevin and I discuss the process by which the Kids wrote a new weekly sketch show before the TV series (and to some degree during and after) by improvising pitches to refine them into sketches, the dynamics of the Kids writers’ room that led to such gifts as their inspired monologues, and the confidence of experience that allows Kevin to improvise with such ease.

After the interview, we improvise a short scene and Kevin describes how he might instruct students to write it into a sketch, then Kevin takes questions from the audience. Here's video of our improv.

We refer to a number of Kids in the Hall sketches throughout the interview that I am including here for reference:

Music in the podcast: