May 12, 1961
Edmonton, Alberta, Canada
Actor, Comedy writer, Songwriter, Director, Playwright, Screenwriter, Forklift operator
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Described by his Kids in the Hall cohorts as "the socially retarded but lovable member" of the comedy troupe, sweet-faced, big-eyed Bruce McCulloch met Mark McKinney while working with the Loose Moose Theatre Company in his native Calgary. After forming 'The Audience' together, the duo moved to Toronto, eventually teaming with Kevin McDonald, Dave Foley and Scott Thompson as 'The Kids in the Hall' (the group's name coming from the description Jack Benny used for young writers who were trying to sell him gags). Through years of live performing, the quintet honed its shtick, a distinctive mix of zany antics, ribald humor, somewhat surreal moments and musings on life, before Lorne Michaels, a Toronto native best known for creating NBC's "Saturday Night Live," launched them in 1989, producing their Canadian TV show (aired in the USA on HBO, CBS and Comedy Central). Boyishly cute, but shorter and more muscular than his compatriots, McCulloch frequently appeared in women's clothing (as did the others), not just for drag novelty, but to create full-bodied female characters.When the series went off the air in 1995, the group members (with the exception of Foley who had already committed to NBC's "NewsRadio") banged out the feature-length "The Kids in the Hall BRAIN CANDY" (1996), and the most telling symbol of Foley's detachment from his friends was his refusal to appear in drag when the screenplay went before the cameras. A writer close to the troupe told the NEW YORK POST (April 8, 1996): "He wants to be a big star, and you don't do that wearing dresses and playing gay men." The Kids energetically portrayed over thirty characters, and though some critics found the confection palatable, particularly the splashy "coming out" musical number, most did not feel the sum of its sweet parts made for a satisfying whole. McCulloch, whose debut album "Shame-Based Man" had come out the previous year, contributed two songs to its soundtrack. He has also authored and performed four one-man stage shows, "Slightly Bigger Cities (One Yellow Rabbit)," "Two Headed Roommate," "Jazz Stenographers" and "Trapped on a Lawnchair," as well as contributing material to "Saturday Night Live."In 1998, McCulloch made his big-screen writing and directing debut with the fairly pleasant (if slight) Toronto-based comedy "Dog Park," a picture with the clever take that dog parks are the singles bars of the 90s. He also acted in it but gave the best comic material to his old pal McKinney as the canine psychiatrist. He turned up as Carl Bernstein opposite Will Farrell's Bob Woodward for the Watergate-era satire "Dick" (1999), which also featured Foley as Bob Haldeman, and returned behind the camera to helm that year's Michaels-produced "Superstar," starring Molly Shannon and Farrell. Unfortunately, it suffered the growing pains that most "SNL" skits experience when expanded to feature length. McCulloch continued his association with Canada's CBC when he played the role of Rex Reilly, host of series star (and creator) Don McKellar's favorite talk show, in "Twitch City," described as "'The Odd Couple' on acid and 'Friends' from Hell." The network rebroadcast the six original episodes in the fall of 1999, and seven new ones followed in 2000.