“Every year it gets likelier.”
Thomas Lennon wants to bring back cult comedy show 'The State' with 1 big twist
The 'Reno 911' creator calls it a 'Monsters of Rock' tour for '90s sketch comedians. Will 'The State' and 'Kids in the Hall' join forces?
Nostalgia and comedy: two things that are very in right now. Thomas Lennon, who's best known as Jim Dangle, the short shorts-wearing Lieutenant Deputy of the Reno Sheriff's Department in the cult sketch comedy show Reno 911 and fresh off a Quibi reboot, has a plan to quench all our appetites and reunite his seminal '90s sketch comedy group The State with the seminal '90s sketch comedy group Kids in the Hall.
"Every year it gets likelier and likelier The State will do something," Lennon tells Inverse.
As he explains it, during a recent benefit show they performed on Zoom, "Dave Foley from Kids in the Hall joined us to do a little bit with us.[...] Jokingly, I said maybe when COVID, when there's some sort of vaccine or something and theaters open, I was like, what about a State-Kids in the Hall Monsters of Rock tour, together?"
That's an idea worth exploring, to be sure. But exactly what is The State?
Thomas Lennon's sketch comedy supergroup gained national attention on MTV in the early '90s, first, as part of the Jon Stewart-hosted program You Wrote It, You Watch It, before going on to lead their own successful sketch series.
The talent that came out of The State is filled with recognizable names: Kevin Allison, Michael Ian Black, Robert Ben Garant, Todd Holoubek, Michael Patrick Jann, Kerri Kenney-Silver, Joe Lo Truglio, Ken Marino, Michael Showalter, David Wain, and of course, Thomas Lennon.
Lennon and company didn't want to create recurring characters for their show, but MTV's demands brought forth the inception of Ken Marino's Louie and his memorable catchphrase, "I'm gonna dip my balls in it." And surprisingly to the crew, the network wanted more.
Tapping into their theater school roots and a punk rock mentality that Thomas Lennon compares to that of The Clash, the group went all-in on bringing their best characters to the fold in the show's third season in the unexpected form of a live Kabuki Theater stage play.
"When they said please do some more Louie sketches, I wrote one which was actually called 'Kabuki Doug'," He tells Inverse. "We did a full Kabuki play with all of our recurring characters based on a real Kabuki storyline called 'The Love Suicides at Sonezaki.' And we did it in Japanese."
So now what? We've got vaccines and there's talk of theaters opening up in the coming months. Will this Monsters of Rock tour of weird '90s comedians actually take place? It better. After all, Louie's balls aren't going to dip themselves.