Some of SNL’s best golden-era material came from regional specificity, whether with the Midwestern charm of Bill Swerski’s Super Fans or the suburban Illinois slackers from Wayne’s World or any of the other niche characters of that era. But one of the best and most popular acts was imported from the Great White North: Bob & Doug McKenzie, played by Rick Moranis and Dave Thomas with oblivious hearts and full bottles of (actual, at least for a while) beer.
The McKenzie Brothers started out as a filler sketch on the hyper-influential Canadian sketch series SCTV, but soon became breakout characters in their own right. By the early ’80s, Moranis and Thomas eventually showed up on Saturday Night Live, recorded a hit tie-in song featuring Geddy Lee, and even found their way into a McKenzies spinoff movie, 1983’s Strange Brew. (Truly, Strange Brew would earn its place on a Mount Rushmore of “Comedy Central early afternoon classics from the 1990s.”) And although Moranis hasn’t performed in years, the McKenzies are on their way back…for one night only. And in Toronto. Sorry, American readers.
Granted, it’s not for the most fortunate of reasons; Thomas’ nephew Jake suffered a terrible snowmobile accident that left him paralyzed from the waist down, and the reunion will take place as part of the July 18th event “Take Off, Eh! An All-Star Benefit For Jake Thomas and Spinal Cord Injury Ontario.” The benefit concert will also feature appearances from fellow SCTV alumni Martin Short (as Jiminy Glick), Dan Aykroyd, Catherine O’Hara, Joe Flaherty, and Eugene Levy. They’ll be joined by The Kids in the Hall, represented here by Scott Thompson, Dave Foley, and Kevin McDonald. And given the roster depth of Second City in all of its locations, we can’t imagine who else might pop up.
Tickets will go on sale next week starting at $500 (Canadian), but for a good cause and the chance to see what’ll very likely be a one-time event, those with the means should really consider opening the pocketbooks for this one. And for the rest of us, let’s enjoy some of the classic sketches: