When Dave Foley answers the phone, he’s enjoying a cup of coffee and watching a DVRed episode of the previous evening’s The Late Show with Stephen Colbert.

It’s right in the middle of the interview with the First Lady, Michelle Obama, and just after Colbert had eviscerated Donald Trump Jr. for his Tweeting of a meme comparing Syrian refugees to Skittles.

If you follow or even just quickly scan Foley’s own Twitter account, @DaveSFoley, you know how much the latter would have pleased him, as the Toronto-born, now-L.A.-based actor, comic and Kids in the Hall member is often taking aim at Trump Sr.’s run to the White House.

That said, despite the laughs it’s still providing on late night talk shows, Foley, like many, long ago stopped finding it funny.

“No, no,” he says. “It’s lost all of enjoyment. It’s now just white-knuckled panic at this point. It’s horrible.

“And, you know, watching my daughter just aghast at all that’s happening around her … she’s 13 and she keeps saying, ‘I could live in Canada.’ ”

Well, unfortunately he won’t have the opportunity to price out some houses when he returns to his homeland to help host the YYComedy Festival Gala on Saturday night at the Jubilee Auditorium, as it will be a quick trip.

He’s in the middle of production of the second season of ABC’s Dr. Ken, meaning he’ll leave work Friday and head straight to the airport for his duties in Calgary before returning to Cali on Sunday to shoot another episode.

And he’ll do so gladly.

The series, which stars Ken Jeong and features Foley as his “very lightly racist boss” Pat, returns him to the network sitcom world, one that he’s familiar with, comfortable in and ecstatic to be a part of once more.

“I love it,” he says simply. “It’s the best life you can have in show business, doing a live audience show. You know, because your week is spent rehearsing, which you don’t get to do anywhere else, and at the end of the week you get to get up in front of a few hundred people and actually put on a show and find out for a fact if it’s working or not.

“There’s nothing theoretical in a live audience show.”

Again, it’s something that he’s had more than a taste of over his lengthy and diverse career that has included everything from standup and sketch comedy, to film and voice work.

In fact, other than as one-fifth of The Kids in the Hall, it’s where he has made his biggest and most lasting impression, most notably as part of the brilliant American sitcom NewsRadio. The series, which ran from 1995 to 1998, was centred on a fictional New York station and had one of the finest and funniest ensemble casts in TV history, including Foley, Joe Rogan, Andy Dick, Stephen Root, Maura Tierney, Vicki Lewis, Khandi Alexander and the late, great Phil Hartman in his last role before he passed away.

“I watched an episode with my daughter a little while ago, and I was happy with how it stands up,” says Foley, who played the nice-guy and, yes, Canadian station manager Dave Nelson.

It was, he admits, a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, and something he’s proud of. As to whether or not that guides how he chooses his roles and series these days — something that will leave that kind of mark on the comedic landscape — the 53-year-old says it’s not something he even considers when signing onto something.

“I guess at this point in my life I’m looking for a place where I’m going to be happy going every day. And that’s the first thing I’m thinking about: am I going to be around nice people.

“And then it’s also, is this a place where I can satisfy myself comedically.”

He laughs. “That’s the second concern. And I’ve got that all right now; I really love doing the show I’m doing right now.

“NewsRadio was obviously a very special time in my life and it came right on the heels of Kids in the Hall. So it was incredibly fortunate for me that I got to do these two really good shows in a row.”

He continues. “But it’s not like every day I’m going, ‘How am I adding to my legacy?’ It’s, ‘Where can I go and be funny today?’ And with Dr. Ken, I get to go in, and the writers always write me some really funny lines and I get to play a weird character, which is nice, because usually I have to play the normal guy. I get to play more of the Phil Hartman role in this one.”

That, of course, took some time to get the opportunity to do, considering that Foley has often, in film and on television, been typecast as that normal, nice guy, due mainly to his boyish looks and sometimes-squeaky voice.

And while it may have held him back from a few roles, he says it certainly served him well in the early days of his comedic career.

“With Kids in the Hall I could always get away with more because I looked so cute and young,” he says. “So I could just say really dark stuff and people would just find it adorable.

Perhaps that’s why he enjoys Dr. Ken so much and, especially, returning to The Kids in the Hall every so often for reunion tours and even the 2010 reunion miniseries Death Comes to Town — for the freedom it allows.

Ask Foley, though, if he misses the world of sketch comedy and would prefer to work in that boundary-less medium and he pauses thoughtfully.

“Uhm. No, not really. I love when Kids in the Hall get together and we do stuff — I love that,” he says.

“But it’s such hard work. Especially because we, the Kids, how passionate we are about it, to do the kind of stuff that we want to do it’s just so hard. You’ve got to be young to do sketch comedy because you pour almost as much of your brain into three minutes as goes into a full feature script sometimes.

“Good sketch is just one of the hardest things to do,” he says, praising recent and current shows such as Key & Peele, Inside Amy Schumer, Portlandia and Fred Armisen and Bill Hader’s Documentary Now!, which he’s “really loving.”

Foley will get to revisit his own sketch comedy past briefly as he’ll share the hosting duties of the YYComedy Festival Gala with two of the other Kids, Kevin McDonald and Scott Thompson.

He notes the irony that the only two troupe members who got their comic starts in Calgary, Mark McKinney and Bruce McCulloch, will be the only ones missing but thinks fans will still get a great taste of as, along with introducing the standup acts on the night, such as Brent Butt, Sean Cullen and Kristeen Von Hagen, the three will sprinkle in some Kids bits.

“We are going to do a few pieces mixed through the show. Which I think Kevin is picking and organizing,” he says, before quickly adding, “I hope.”

Dave Foley appears Saturday at the Jubilee Auditorium as part of the YYComedy Festival Gala. For tickets and information go to yycomedy.ca.



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