Born Bruce Ian McCulloch on May 12, 1961 in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada, Bruce grew up an only child in Calgary as “a moody kid.” The “Shame Based Man” behind some of the most memorable characterizations in the annals of the now legendary Kids in the Hall comedy troupe, Bruce McCulloch was, along with fellow Kid Mark McKinney, one of the founding members of the Canadian quintet.
McCulloch studied journalism at Mount Royal College before taking classes with Calgary-based TheaterSports and meeting McKinney at the Loose Moose Theater Company. Forming a comedy troupe bearing the moniker the Audience early on, the pair crossed paths with future Kids Dave Foley and Kevin McDonald in 1984. Scott Thompson came on board as the fifth and final member soon thereafter (hounding them at live performances until they eventually caved in and accepted him as a member), marking the formal birth of the troupe as they are known today.
The Kids in the Hall
Discovered by Saturday Night Live founder Lorne Michaels in the late ’80s, The Kids in the Hall launched a successful five-year-run as a comic skit program on HBO in 1989, remaining active well after the cancellation of the show by means of film and live performances. McCulloch served a brief stint as an SNL writer before the troupe regrouped and shot to fame.
The Kids in the Hall debuted as an HBO pilot in 1988. With a distinctly edgy and frequently surreal style, The Kids in the Hall slowly gained a loyal fan base. McCulloch’s quirky monologues and oddball characterizations such as the chauvinist Cabbage Head and happy-go-lucky Flying Pig served as the very definition of the bizarre antics that separated the Kids’ unique comedy style from the rest of the pack. Following their cancellation in 1994, the troupe would receive mixed reviews with an attempt to translate their humor to the big screen with The Kids in the Hall: Brain Candy, and find success touring the U.S. and Canada as a live stage act.
Post Kids in the Hall Work
McCulloch’s bizarre 1995 debut album Shame Based Man received critical success and struck a solid chord with dedicated fans. While apart from his chums, McCulloch made appearances on Saturday Night Live, The Tom Green Show and Twitch City before returning to the director’s chair in 1998. McCulloch had made his directorial debut in 1992 with the short film Coleslaw Warehouse (1992). Dog Park (1998) marked his first feature length film as a director and writer. He followed up the success with Superstar (1999) and Stealing Harvard (2002).
He co-wrote, starred in, and was executive producer of the Kids in the Hall 2010 reunion project Death Comes to Town.
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