Arts and Entertainment Reporter
He may have got his start on Kids in the Hall, but Canadian comedy icon, Kevin McDonald was kicked out of the halls of Humber College.
Taking the stage at the Comedy Bar in Toronto Monday night, McDonald tells a story about being booted out of Humber’s Theatre program in the 1980s.
As the lights dimmed and music faded at the Bloor Street West bar, McDonald stepped out and warmed up the crowd with the close-to-heart story.
“Once I attended theatre program at Humber but was kicked out for being a ‘one-legged actor.’ They said I could only do comedy,” McDonald said.
“The irony is that my instructor was a one-legged amputee,” said the man best known for being a founding member of sketch comedy troupe Kids in the Hall, with a television series of the same name in the early 1990s.
And that’s the punchline to his return to the college to mentor second year Humber comedy writing students for a special edition of their weekly Monday Night sketch show.
McDonald attended Humber a decade before the college’s comedy program existed and now returns as a veteran.
“It was a weird feeling coming back as mentor, I sort of still feel like a student. I am a student that did well enough to be the teacher while the teacher is away,” McDonald said.
Each Humber student had one day during the past weekend to spend time working with McDonald. Through a series of exercises the students learned sketch writing techniques used by the Kids in the Hall.
“We start by using improv exercises to warm up and figure out what ideas are good and which aren’t,” McDonald said. “We take the good ideas and flesh them out, expand on them so we can work on writing.”
Students working with McDonald say he’s armed them with new writing techniques while sharpening their improv chops. Second year comedy students Spencer Higgins and Kierstan Lagrande found collaboration to be the key to sketch writing.
“Writing in groups is important for anyone learning comedy. You can start to figure out what works and what doesn’t pretty quickly,” Higgins said.
“Everyone brings their own unique skills to sketch writing. The kind of work we did over the weekend helped us find out what you’re best at and also where you’re lacking,” Legrande said.
“Networking is one of the best draws of the program. You get to work with talented students and instructors and meet professionals,” said second year comedy student Jordanne Brown.
“I still can’t believe we got to work with Kevin.”