"I'm totally startled by it, frankly," says the comedy troupe member.
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Kids in the Hall member Dave Foley understands why some fans of the once hipper-than-hip Canadian sketch-comedy troupe might have been nervous about their return.

"I would have lots of apprehension going into it as a comedy fan," he says. "You know, when you hear that some bunch of old geezers you used to like are going to do something, there's always that, 'Oh, please, please, don't disappoint me, please don't ruin my memories.' "

That nervousness swiftly dissipated earlier this month after Prime Video dropped a new season of the show from Foley, Bruce McCulloch, Mark McKinney, Kevin McDonald, Scott Thompson, and honorary "kid" Paul Bellini, the group's first substantial onscreen collaboration in over a decade.

"I would say the reaction on social media has been immensely gratifying and surprising and the critical response has been beyond what we could have hoped for," says Foley. "There were so many ways it could have gone wrong, and so many ways it could have been interpreted badly, and none of those have come to pass."

One trio of sketches which has been greeted with particular approval stars Foley as a post-apocalyptic DJ broadcasting from a grim bunker to "whoever's left in whatever's left of the greater metropolitan area." The character repeatedly plays the same song, Melanie's 1971 hit "Brand New Key," and, while upbeat and breezy on the mike, spends much of his time staring into space, the despairing look on his face at extreme odds with the jaunty soft-rock platter he is spinning. EW critic Kristen Baldwin described the sketches, titled "Doomsday DJ," as a highlight of the season while director Rebekah McKendry, co-writer of the upcoming franchise reboot Bring It On: Cheer or Die, is just one of many people who praised the skits 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," says Foley. "It's been cited in just about every review of the show and almost everything I've seen on social media has at least mentioned it as a favorite. I'm startled. I'm totally startled by it, frankly."

Kids in the Hall
Dave Foley in 'Kids in the Hall'
| Credit: Jackie Brown/Amazon

Foley talks more about the creating and shooting the "Doomsday DJ" sketches — and whether we'll see his record-spinner again — below.

ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: What was the genesis of "Doomsday DJ"?
DAVE FOLEY: I wrote it originally for a variety show that my wife Crissy Guerrero was hosting in Los Angeles. It was during the Trump administration. I guess she was doing a show sort-of themed about people's horror. So that was my contribution. [When] we started doing the Kids in the Hall thing I remembered that night and I thought, I think I could rewrite that. I took out some of the specific political content, and rewrote it a little bit, and broke it down into three parts to make it a runner. But, yeah, the original genesis was my horror of living through the Trump administration and then I guess that got melded with the horror and isolation of COVID.

It's odd, because, honestly, when I first presented it to the troupe, I thought they'd dismiss it. [Laughs] Even when I was shooting it, I kept thinking, oh, this can't possibly work on film. 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? I have to give credit to our director Kelly Makin who did a beautiful job and the art department did a great job building that set. Even then, I was startled [when] people got excited about it when we were prepping it. I kept thinking, I just don't get it, I don't understand. I mean, I know why I like it but I don't understand why everyone else seems to like this sketch.

Kids in the Hall
'Kids in the Hall' troupe member Dave Foley says he's surprised by the popularity of his 'Doomsday DJ' sketch
| Credit: Jackie Brown/Amazon

How did you hit on "Brand New Key" as the perfect music to use?
It was the only track I ever considered. As I said, I only performed this sketch once live, but I used that track then and I never considered any other piece of music for it. It just seemed perfect. I know when we were prepping it, the production came to me and said, "Can you give us any other options, in case we can't get it?" And I said, "No, I'm not going to do that, because you might seek those options. Go after this one, and if you really can't get it, then I'll come up with other options."

When you shot the sketches were you listening to the track all the time? And if so, how deranged did you feel by the end?
Well, I mean, we're talking about not just me but the whole crew, for about eight hours, sitting and listening to that track over and over again for all the coverage we shot to cut that piece together. 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. It was a strange day of shooting and I was absolutely losing faith in the piece as we were shooting it all day long.

So does the character just have one record or is he just choosing to play the same song over and over again?
It's just the one single. There was an explanation of it, I can't remember if I edited it out or not now, but there was an explanation that at one point his entire record collection was stolen by bands of scavengers, and the only record that was left was the 45 of "Brand New Key" that had slipped behind the couch cushions.

That's not in the sketches. This is a scoop Dave!
I can't believe I cut that out. [Laughs] But there was that [explanation] that his entire collection had been stolen by scavengers who were using it for fuel.

Much of the appeal of the sketch lies with the character's utterly forlorn expression as he listens to the song. What was going through your mind when you were shooting those moments?
Well, I guess I was doing what they call "acting." [Laughs] Yeah, I was just trying to summon every thought and feeling of isolation that I had inside me, but also at the same time trying to figure out, well, alright, where do I change the gears and the inflection to make it funny.

In one of the sketches we discover the DJ has a wife and twin mutant kids. I saw someone on Twitter suggesting that this is just his fantasy. What do you think about that theory?
[Laughs] Well, that's a fine theory and as valid as any theory I have. In my mind, he does have a wife who survives and he does have a child and a carnivorous placenta locked in a closet.

We also learn that the apocalypse has been caused by "DNA bombs." Where did that idea come from?
Well, I am a science fiction fan, and it was one of those things that, as I was rewriting it, all I could think was, what's the quickest way of setting up the later mutant story? I thought, well, a DNA bomb would do it, if there was something like a DNA bomb that was designed to deliberately cause horrible mutations within a population.

Kids in the Hall
'Kids in the Hall' comedy troupe member Dave Foley on set for his sketch 'Doomsday DJ'
| Credit: Jackie Brown/Amazon

The final sketch ends with the DJ running out of fuel. Is that the end for him or might we see the character again?
I think it's probably the end of him. I don't know what I would do to advance his narrative, at least within sketch comedy. Maybe it's a short film.

A short film? I want to see a full film about this. I want this to be Dave Foley's Fury Road!
That would be fun. Yeah.

The new season of Kids in the Hall is available to watch on Prime Video. Watch the first "Doomsday DJ" sketch above and see the season's trailer below.

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