Kevin McDonald

Kevin Hamilton McDonald, actor, comedian, writer, director (b at Montréal 16 May 1961).

Kevin McDonald

Kevin Hamilton McDonald, actor, comedian, writer, director (b at Montréal 16 May 1961). Kevin McDonald is a gifted comedian and improvisational actor, and while his beginnings at Toronto's Second City training centre revealed a gift for improvisation and an enthusiasm for live theatre, his skill as a writer has propelled him to the forefront of sketch comedy. Indeed, a unique trait of nearly all successful Canadian comedic actors is their ability to delve into their personal experience to create characters and settings suited to their strengths, and it is this talent for finding hilarity in the normal, even urbane, aspects of Canadian culture that distinguishes McDonald and his peers from their Hollywood counterparts.

McDonald got his start in show business shortly after moving to Toronto, where he met Dave FOLEY in 1982. The 2 often performed together in live sketch comedy, theatre sports and college radio, developing many of the characters that would make them famous by the late 1980s. From the beginning there was a distinctly morose quality to all of Kevin McDonald's incarnations. He would often begin his routines with a bland setting like an office or a coffee shop and then add a character consumed with remorse, even rage. Characters would cry out or violently act upon some perceived snub from a friend, co-worker or complete stranger, then often face an even worse retaliation, deepening the sense of alienation from which they suffered.

McDonald and Foley were spotted (along with Bruce MCCULLOCH, Mark MCKINNEY and Scott THOMPSON) by Saturday Night Live creator Lorne MICHAELS, and were approached to form their own sketch comedy series. THE KIDS IN THE HALL (1989-94), its name taken from McDonald and Foley's own troupe, became one of the most successful comedy series in Canadian history. The series aired around the world and received multiple GEMINI AWARDS and Emmy nominations during its five-year run on CBC and on HBO in the US. McDonald was specifically known for his characters The King of Empty Promises, Jerry Sizzler of the clearly insane Sizzler Sisters, and Evil Simon. His roles were routinely more intense than those of his castmates, and while they often concentrated on sketches that leaned more towards the surreal, McDonald always had a foot in realism, particularly regarding the emotionality of his characters.

McDonald has appeared in many classic American and Canadian TV programs including Seinfeld, Arrested Development and Corner Gas. He has also lent his talents to feature films such as Galaxy Quest (1999), The Ladies Man (2000) and Lilo and Stitch (2002, voice), and The Kids in the Hall brought their comedy to the big screen in 1996 with the full-length feature Brain Candy. They reunited in 2000, 2002 and 2008 to tour with their unique brand of sketch humour. In 2009 the troupe filmed The Kids in the Hall: Death Comes to Town, an eight-part miniseries that began airing on CBC-TV in January 2010.

Kevin McDonald is seen or voices roles in a variety of TV series, among them the Winnipeg-filmed Less Than Kind (2008), WordGirl (2008-10), Dino Dan (2010), The Soup (2010), Papillon (2011) and Fish Hooks (2011). He was cast in Guy MADDIN's haunted gangster film Keyhole (2011) as Ogilbe, a cutthroat hood with a taste for young, living-dead molls; the film was a hit on the global arthouse cinema circuit. McDonald has also voiced characters in several animated television series including The Penguins of Madagascar and Kung Fu Panda: Legends of Awesomeness.