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McCulloch relives wild youth with standup show

Kids in the Hall alumnus Bruce McCulloch still likes the stage

By: Anna Borowiecki

  |  Posted: Saturday, Jan 18, 2014 06:00 am

COMING BACK – Comedian Bruce McCulloch brings his standup act to the Arden Theatre.
COMING BACK – Comedian Bruce McCulloch brings his standup act to the Arden Theatre.
Supplied photo

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Young Drunk Punk
Bruce McCulloch
Monday, Jan. 27 at 7:30 p.m.
Arden Theatre
Tickets: $30. Call 780-459-1542 or purchase online at

He grew up in Edmonton, found fame in Toronto and moved to the Hollywood Hills writing pilots for big studios.

However, Bruce McCulloch, best known for his work with comedy troupe The Kids in the Hall, returns to his old stomping grounds. On Monday, Jan. 27, he drops by the Arden Theatre to deliver Young Drunk Punk, his latest stand-up routine that combines comedy, music and autobiographical insights.

Young Drunk Punk is a one-man performance that allows McCulloch to relive his days during the infamous rock-punk music scene of the 1980s.

It starts as a young punk in Calgary to his transformation into a father who is comfortable padding around the house in pajamas and hanging out with his two kids.

McCulloch, who enjoys a lucrative career writing television pilots, lately experienced a desire to get out of his isolated study and interact with people.

“I felt a real need to lay it down and communicate with people. Writing pilots is no way to communicate with people,” McCulloch says.

Born in Edmonton in 1961, he later attended Strathcona Composite High School. Active in sports, he competed in long distance running and weightlifting.

But he was also a self-described rebellious young man who in his Grade 12 year drove around the city acting like a punk and crashed his Toyota Corolla.

Then he discovered rock music, a safe spot to dissipate the anger.

“My spirit was aroused by rock music. It was a place where weirdoes could find themselves,” he said.

After moving to Calgary to attend Mount Royal College, McCulloch realized a talent for stand-up comedy. He started at Loose Moose Theatre with a show called Late Night Comedy and succeeded quickly.

But he couldn’t wait to leave for Toronto, where he would hook up with fellow Kids in the Hall creators Dave Foley, Scott Thompson, Kevin McDonald and Mark McKinney.

After The Kids in the Hall ended its television run, Hollywood beckoned and McCulloch became a young success story, in part due to the studio system’s structure of developing a show.

“They may commission 1,000 scripts in a year. One hundred get read and maybe 10 are developed. You get paid, but you never know if your script will be read.”

Getting back to his dark comedic roots and polishing his chops for Young Drunk Punk turned into a family affair. McCulloch, who has had a long-standing creative partnership with Yellow Rabbit’s Blake Brooker, flew him to Los Angeles for input.

And guitarist-accompanist Brian Connelly, a good friend since Grade 8, will share the stage.

“He’s the coolest guy in the world. He’s performed at all my one-man shows. We acted together and did Kids in the Hall together. He’s made me sound cool since high school.”

McCulloch now sees Calgary as a touchstone for his shows, but the Edmonton area holds a certain cachet, especially since his mother and sister still live in Fort Saskatchewan.

Does he have regrets about leaving Alberta?

“Not at all. It’s what you did,” he said. “You would either go to Vancouver or Toronto.”

For more information about the show visit


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