Canadian Comedy

I was watch­ing a lit­tle TV this evening, around 7 PM. On the Cana­di­an Com­e­dy Net­work (which often airs shows like the US Com­e­dy Cen­tral’s The Dai­ly Show, Crank Yankers and South Park), a Cana­di­an Sketch com­e­dy pro­gram called Roy­al Cana­di­an Air Farce aired. At first, there was noth­ing too con­tro­ver­sial. I caught a guy with green hair (the green paint was a prod­uct that cov­ered grey) on a date/commercial. Some oth­er silli­ness. Then, right near the end, they had three of the male cast mem­bers in cam­ou­flage uni­forms and hel­mets. After some more sil­ly talk, they announced who had won the “Roy­al Cana­di­an Air Farce Chick­en Hawk Tar­get Award”. It was Bush. Well, that was just the begin­ning. They then load up a big can­non with all kinds of nasty ‘metaphor­i­cal’ ingre­di­ents includ­ing oil, feces, some­thing from a can, and final­ly after many oth­er dis­gust­ing addi­tions, add some ‘sug­ar so that every­thing ends up seem­ing all nice’. Then they shoot the whole mess point blank at a big pho­to of a smirk­ing George W. Bush. The crowd goes wild. “Try and invade that, George W.!” says the cast mem­ber play­ing a sort of General.

Things must have real­ly got­ten bad, when even friend­ly neigh­bor­ing coun­tries lit­er­al­ly shoot shit at the US Pres­i­dent. Then I was even more shocked to learn that this was filmed in 2002! With the CBC strike, Cana­di­an Air Farce, which is a CBC pro­gram, is in reruns until the labour dis­pute is set­tled. So this is what the irrev­er­ent come­di­ans were doing to cheer­ing crowds 3 years ago. I can’t even imag­ine what they’d be air­ing today in new shows. This 2002 spot made The Dai­ly Show’s Jon Stew­art look pos­i­tive­ly deferential.

I have to admit that I had mixed feel­ings watch­ing this. Part of me was think­ing ‘Hey, this is great! They agree with me! A whole coun­try on my side!’ But then it began to sink into me (per­haps the old con­di­tion­ing that goes back to kinder­garten and first grade, where we placed our hand on our hearts and pledged alle­giance to the flag). The US Pres­i­den­cy is still some­thing that some­where in the recess­es of my mind, I hold as some­thing ele­vat­ed, to be respect­ed if not liked. To see a US Pres­i­dent, even one who I hate more than any of them in my life (even Nixon, who I remem­ber with as much loathing as a twelve year-old’s mem­o­ry can bring forth), shot with excre­ment from a can­non… That glee some­how began to melt into shame. I did­n’t vote for that smirk­ing buf­foon, and even left the coun­try due in a large part to him, but I could­n’t bring myself to hurl (or shoot) crap at his effi­gy. At least not with­out a good evening’s worth of drinking.

3 Replies to “Canadian Comedy”

  1. Inter­est­ing per­spec­tive. As a Cana­di­an, CBC rep­re­sents a pub­lic point of view that so many times dif­fers from what one’s own view is. The key con­cern here is that this view is made pub­lic. Now the debate can begin. Tax dol­lars used by the CBC should rep­re­sent all views.

  2. Thanks for the thoughts, Gene.

    Of course, I also assumed that this was the view of the writ­ers of the show and did­n’t reflect that of the CBC or its man­age­ment, etc.
    I think what struck me more was the reac­tion of the stu­dio audience.
    As for tax-sup­port­ed pro­grams sup­port­ing all views, I’m guess­ing that might not be pos­si­ble (lots of views to represent).

  3. David, my best friend, who is from Chica­go, does­n’t agree with the admin­is­tra­tion any more than you do but was just as shocked by the fierce­ness of my (Cana­di­an) friends’ atti­tudes toward the US.

    Hmm, on that note, I’ve alien­at­ed a few Amer­i­can friends myself. Some­thing to chat about the next time we all hang out.

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