Comparing comedy troupes to 90’s boy bands is like comparing apples to oranges, but the two types of entertainment ensembles actually have a lot in common.
Well, that’s if you listen to Scott Thompson of the cult sketch comedy group, The Kids in the Hall, who will be taking the stage at the Wilbur Friday night. According to the comedian and actor, he and the other members have had nearly three decades of success performing together due to the fact that none of them have taken off as an individual superstar.
“None of us has become a Justin Timberlake, I guess,’’ Thompson told Boston.com in a recent phone interview. “See, if he hadn’t become a superstar, N’Sync would still be together. So that’s our secret.’’
While Thompson and fellow KITH member Dave Foley, who also talked to Boston.com in a phone interview recently, may jokingly downplay their accomplishments, both have done pretty well in their individual careers. And the rest of the Kids, like Kevin McDonald, haven’t done too bad for themselves either.
Currently, Thompson plays FBI investigator Jimmy Price on the hit NBC show “Hannibal.’’ The performer also had a memorable stint on “The Colbert Report’’ earlier this year when he took his flamboyant KITH character Buddy Cole to the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia.
While Thompson felt like the controversy surrounding the Games was a bit overblown by American media outlets, the openly gay actor was excited to get the chance to bring his iconic character back to television.
“I had this idea, and I went to a bunch of different people and approached them. The only one that responded was Colbert, and they responded immediately,’’ Thompson said. “It was fantastic going to Russia. I’ve never seen the Olympics, I’ve never been to the opening ceremonies, I saw all that stuff. It was a real thrill and it was very thrilling for me to see that Buddy Cole hasn’t been forgotten. The reception from the audience was quite overwhelming for me.’’
While Foley never became the Timberlake of the group, he’s definitely had the most individual success. The Canadian actor has appeared in what seems like every sitcom under the sun, from starring in the classic “NewsRadio’’ to guest roles on shows like “Veep’’ and “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia.’’
Foley, who currently stars in the Canadian television comedy “Spun Out,’’ also occasionally lends his voice to animated films, having recently appeared in 2013’s “Monsters University.’’ Despite the high profile gigs, Foley still loves to tour with the other Kids above anything else.
“The other four guys make me laugh more than anyone else in the world,’’ Foley said. “Not even when we’re performing, when we’re just hanging out, we wind up having a really great time, despite the fact that we’ve spent a lot of time making each other miserable over the last thirty years.’’
“No matter how horrible we treated each other, the other Kids in the Hall are still able to make me laugh more than anyone else. It makes it worthwhile coming back to it.’’
Both Thompson and Foley wish the group could collaborate more often, as they would love to work on another KITH project, whether it be a special or another television run. But considering that each member lives in a different part of the continent, it’s hard enough just getting together to go on tour.
“It’s harder now, because Bruce [McCulloch] and I live in Los Angeles, Mark [McKinney] and Scott are in Toronto, and Kevin is in Winnipeg,’’ Foley said. “We’d prefer to all meet in Winnipeg if we could, but, it’s just hard.’’
Despite the challenges, Thompson admits that he appreciates every chance he gets to spend with the other members.
“We just really love being with each other, that’s it,’’ Thompson said. “We have great chemistry. Comedy, no matter what happens in life, no matter if it goes bad or good, comedy is always the way to deal with it.’’