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Dave Foley was a founding member of the comedy troupe Kids in the Hall and was one of the leads on the TV sitcom NewsRadio.
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Dave Foley co-founded the comedy troupe Kids in the Hall in 1984, and in 1989, a self-titled show reached American television audiences on HBO. By the end of its run in 1994, The Kids in the Hall played on CBS primetime and enjoyed frequent reruns on Comedy Central. In 1995, Foley landed a starring role on TV’s NewsRadio and went on to both TV and film acting after the show’s long run.
"I always assumed that famous people have something about them that made them more recognizable than ordinary people. Now that I am, I guess, a famous person, I realize that, no ... It's just being on television."
Actor and comedian David Foley was born David Scott Foley on January 4, 1963, in Toronto, Canada. His father, Michael, was a steamfitter, and his mother, Mary, a homemaker. Foley says that his family "was always very, very aware of TV, particularly comedy shows." Foley watched the Dick Van Dyke Show obsessively as a child, but his parents never thought he would become a comedian or actor because of his extreme shyness.
"Dave would run away if he saw a camera," his mother recalls. Foley, who read the dictionary for fun, spent his free time writing stories and jokes, and his parents thought he might become a writer. However, Foley finally emerged from his introverted shell when his classmates laughed at a comedy story he wrote for a school assignment.
Despite his literary bent, Foley regularly skipped school and his parents placed him in a Toronto alternative high school for intelligent, but struggling, students. In 1980, at the age of 17, he dropped out of school to pursue a career as a stand-up comedian. Foley enrolled in improv acting classes at the Second City Theatre in Toronto, a breeding ground for young comedians. There he met Kevin McDonald, and the fast friends formed a comedy duo that performed local stand-up comedy shows throughout the 1980s.
In 1984, Foley and McDonald teamed up with another Canadian comedy duo, Mark McKinney and Bruce McCulloch, as well as solo comedian Scott Thompson, to form the comedy troupe The Kids in the Hall. The Kids in the Hall landed gigs throughout the Toronto area, including regular appearances at the downtown Rivoli nightclub, and quickly gained popularity for their smart and provocative brand of humor.
The Kids in the Hall gained the attention of Saturday Night Live producer Lorne Michaels, who was looking to launch another sketch comedy TV show. In 1988, The Kids in the Hall debuted on Canada's CBC network. A year later, they reached American television audiences on cable network HBO. By the end of its run in 1994, The Kids in the Hall played on CBS primetime and enjoyed frequent reruns on Comedy Central.
Inspired largely by Monty Python, the show's outlandish humor mocked such taboo subjects as religion, sexuality and disease, and was perhaps best known for the actors' frequent cross-dressing. According to Foley, cross-dressing was more of a practical necessity than an artistic choice. "The drag thing was mostly because we couldn't get any women to stay in the group," he admits. Foley carved out a role as the troupe's straight man, earning laughs for his deadpan responses to the other characters' wild antics.
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