On November 17, 2010 I had a conference call with the Canadian legend Dave Foley, known for his work with Kids in the Hall and on “NewsRadio”. He was promoting his newest film, “Coopers’ Christmas” (see also my interview with Jason Jones). But, of course, having Dave Foley on the line, I had to ask plenty of KITH questions, too.
Covered here: Monty Python, God, David Hasselhoff, Dave Foley’s penis, Haiti and more…
(My apologies to Dave and to the audience: Dave had a cold during this interview and the phone connection was not as crystal clear as I would have liked, so some of his answers have been cropped if I couldn’t make out what he said.)
GS: Hey Dave, the PR people told me I had to throw in a couple “Coopers’ Christmas” questions, but I’m barely going to touch on that because your part is really small.
DF: My part isn’t small at all!
GS: Okay, that’s true. Kids in the Hall have been called the “spiritual successor” to Monty Python. What do you make of that comparison?
DF: I’m not sure what’s so “spiritual” about it. I’m thrilled that people have compared us to Monty Python, the greatest sketch comedy troupe of all time. It’s just nice that people have put us somewhere in the same league. It’s great.
GS: My all-time favorite KITH sketch is the “God is dead” one… tell me everything you can about that.
DF: Yeah, I think Bruce wrote that. I remember shooting it, the whole look was very bizarre, the producer/director was John Blanchard (who also directed SCTV). But yeah, it was just something that Bruce wrote, he brought it in to the table one day and we liked it. And we said, “Let’s do this.”
GS: What kind of negative feedback did you get about Cancer Boy in “Brain Candy”?
DF: Paramount Pictures didn’t want Cancer Boy in the movie. We fought to keep him in there.
GS: Yeah, but why is cancer somehow deemed offensive while joking about depression or homosexuality is okay?
DF: I’m not the one to ask. And then years later, “Thank You For Smoking” even stole Cancer Boy, they even had him in their TV ads. A character actually called “Cancer Boy”. You know, times change. Maybe if we had taken Cancer Boy out we could have gotten on 1000 screens instead of 400, and gotten more ad support for it.
GS: Who was involved in picking out the wonderful soundtrack?
DF: We had a deal with Matador Records and our friend Craig Northey is from a Canadian band called The Odds. He did the score and had a lot of control over the soundtrack. One of the cool things was that The Tragically Hip actually had a song in there based on the dialogue from the film. It was amazing. It’s called “Butts Wigglin”.
GS: KITH has always had fun playing with sexual ambiguity. Do you notice people responding to it differently as cultural norms have shifted?
DF: I think different things shock people now than when we started. People are becoming more comfortable with homosexuality, bisexuality and transgender. It’s just become more acceptable and less shocking than when we were doing it. I don’t know, because when we were doing it, we never thought any of it was shocking — it was never our intention to shock or offend. We didn’t try to offend anyone, we just sat in a room and wrote what we thought was funny. We were just reflecting on our lives. One fifth of our troupe is gay, so that’s what one fifth of what we wrote about.
GS: Who is funnier, you or Jason Jones?
DF: You know, I think history has to be the judge of that. I am funnier simply because I have been funny longer. I have done more jokes than he has done. Maybe if I stop being funny for ten years he can catch up.
GS: You are exposed part of the time in “Coopers’ Christmas”. During scenes with Kate Campbell, are you restrained or is she getting sexually assaulted?
DF: She’s pretty much getting at least visually assaulted. She definitely spent an awful lot of time looking at my penis. Because I was just naked on set most of the day. I wasn’t taped up — that would be uncomfortable and pointless. And I think Canadians are more easy-going and comfortable with nudity than Americans are. We’re much more sexual people than Americans. Almost all of our entertainment is about sex in Canada. Americans like snarky teenagers, whereas we’re more adult about it.
GS: Any other anecdotes from “Coopers’ Christmas”?
DF: It’s just this really brilliant movie. It’s one of the best dark comedies I’ve seen in a really long time. Jason Jones and Mike Beaver are phenomenal writers and performers.
GS: How did you get involved in “It’s Always Sunny”, where you cameoed as a principal?
DF: I just ran into the guys from “Always Sunny” at this thing called Night of 140 Tweets, a benefit for Haitian relief. It was 140 comics, and those guys were there, I told them I was a fan and I would love to be on the show. They called me later, asked if I wanted to be on it, and I said sure. That’s just how it happens, running into them backstage at an event. I didn’t get to see the show. I was actually in Toronto working when it aired so I haven’t seen it yet. It’s on my DVR.
GS: You have about a thousand projects that came out this year or will next year… do you even have time to use the bathroom?
DF: You know what? I just go as I walk, like a horse. You know? I don’t have time for any of those formalities.
GS: Do you have any dirt on David Hasselhoff?
DF: Well, I haven’t checked in to see just how dirty David Hasselhoff is, but none of it belongs to me. I don’t think I’ve ever met him. I don’t think so. I don’t remember meeting him. But if you run into him or talk to him and he says he knows me, then we probably have. I remember something about him trying to eat a cheeseburger…
GS: Anything you want to say to the fans before we go?
DF: I wish everyone a Merry Christmas, I hope you enjoy my Christmas cock. See “Coopers’ Christmas”. And if you don’t enjoy my penis, you can watch “Cousin Randy” this year on ABC.
GS: Thanks, Dave, it’s been a real honor.
DF: Thank you!