While I was a little nervous when I first heard about the cable mini-series The Kids in the Hall: Death Comes To Town (the U.S. premiere is tonight at 9pm on IFC), there are enough funny online clips from the Canadian broadcast debut last January to (partly) relieve my concerns. Dave Foley, Bruce McCulloch, Kevin McDonald, Mark McKinney, and Scott Thompson debuted on HBO in 1989 during my college stint at UNT. Like many of us, they’re older, fatter, and more weather-beaten. But they’ve still got a smart and weirdly compassionate sense of humor.

I became an instant KITH fan back in the day, mostly because they’re more than just good comedians, they’re really good actors (especially McKinney and Thompson). Their work was always unique in that they didn’t concentrate on lampooning pop culture but on creating their own universe with richly detailed characters a la SCTV. Like those Canadian forebears, the Kids sometimes generated an uneven laugh quotient because trying out new ideas came first for them. What has always been reliable is the pure pleasure of watching them inhabit and then develop the characters over time. And when they’re funny, they’re funnier than anyone else on the planet (except maybe SCTV in its prime).

Here’s a great long interview with Scott Thompson in which he discusses his bout with stomach cancer last year and his complicated relationship with the LGBT community. Back in my movie critic days, I got to interview Thompson for the uneven 1996 KITH flick Brain Candy. He was warm, funny, and outspoken in a very un-assholish way. Best wishes, Scott.