The new season of The Kids In The Hall feels like a miracle. Unlike the grasping attempts to recapture past glories that often come from revival projects, the sketch show’s sixth season feels like it picks up right where the group left off—which is saying something considering that, barring 1996’s Brain Candy and 2010’s Death Comes To Town, the most recent, proper batch of KITH episodes aired in 1995.
One of the best examples of this is a three-part sketch starring Dave Foley as a post-apocalyptic DJ. In it, Foley spends his days keeping the dream of KROC, The Crocodial, alive by broadcasting Melanie’s “Brand New Key” on repeat into the wasteland from his bunker, staring with defeated horror into the middle distance when he’s off air. It’s classic Kids In The Hall, wigged absurdity that captures a cultural truth from a sideways angle.
It was also, as Foley explains in a new interview, a concept that he didn’t think would really work all that well.
Entertainment Weekly spoke to Foley about “Doomsday DJ,” learning that he’s been “startled” to see that the sketch has “been cited in just about every review of the show” and talked about “as a favorite” on social media. “At the risk of infuriating my colleagues—although they wake up infuriated—it’s the piece that’s had the most response I would say of anything in the new eight episodes,” Foley explains.
He continues, saying that he thought the rest of the group would “dismiss” the concept. “Even when I was shooting it, I kept thinking, oh, this can’t possibly work on film,” Foley says. “I mean, am I really thinking people are going to be okay with sitting and watching me listen to music for such an extended period of time?”
The origin of the sketch is in a Trump-era variety show hosted by Foley’s wife, Crissy Guerrero, “themed about people’s horror.” When KITH’s sixth season got underway, Foley rewrote his entry to his wife’s show to remove “some of the specific political content,” added in details like the “DNA bomb” that’s caused Earth to be overrun with mutants, and saw it become “melded with the horror and isolation of COVID.”
The positive response still baffles Foley. “I mean, I know why I like it but I don’t understand why everyone else seems to like this sketch,” he says. Part of his outlook could come from the fact that Foley and the crew actually had to listen to “Brand New Key” on repeat to shoot and edit the sketch. “I know that I was going a little mad as we were shooting it, because it was just so many hours of sitting there and listening to the song and not saying anything,” Foley says. “It was a strange day of shooting and I was absolutely losing faith in the piece as we were shooting it all day long.”
His lack of faith may also have been helped along by Foley having to “summon every thought and feeling of isolation that I had inside me” for the DJ’s introspective moments—like when he recalls his wife giving birth to twins that included a placenta with “six crab-like legs [and a] sphincter-like mouth ringed with razor sheep teeth.”
Read the rest of the interview for more on “Doomsday DJ,” including Foley explaining the backstory of how his DJ held onto that damaged “Brand New Key” 45 and what life has in store for the character after the final sketch ends.
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