Thursday, May 05, 2011

Canonball: Dude Looks Like A Lady -- What The Kids in the Hall Taught Us About Womanhood

Dude Looks Like A Lady: What The Kids in the Hall Taught Us About Womanhood


On its surface, I guess The Kids in the Hall was the stuff depressing charts about gender imbalance in comedy are made of. With the exception of occasional bit roles for women and one female writer, the show’s creative talent was overwhelmingly male (not to mention white). And, of course, when the sketches called for female leads, the five Kids generally took the roles themselves — a fact so notable (dudes in dresses?!) that I’m willing to bet not one article written about the Kids ignores it. I mean, as someone who studied journalism for four years, I totally get that “crossdressing Canadians” is the sort of alliteration that an Entertainment section headline writer lives for.

But it was this gender performance, this wink to the fact that gender is already performed by each and every one of us, that prevents me from dismissing the troupe as just another boys’ club. And, of course, the show routinely featured gay characters (and not all of them tired stereotypes either) during a time when there were very few gay characters on TV.

What’s notable to me is that the joke was never, “Hey, look at this guy in a dress!” We didn’t laugh because a man was being so ridiculous as to act like a girl. We laughed simply because situations involving women can be just as funny as situations involving men. The Kids played their female characters convincingly and complexly — or at least as complexly as a five-minute-long sketch allows.

And so, to save my inner circle from more emails on the subject, I present a non-exhaustive list of the show’s top ten best commentaries on feminism and, you know, women in general. [Oh, there's some NSFW material here: primarily some mild swearing and ejaculating banana imagery.]

To Read the Rest and Watch Ten Classic Skits from the Show

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