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Part one in my two-part series on the Canadian identity. In this blog I comment on Canadian produced entertainment and comedy – the FIGHTING entertainment & comedy!!

Within Canada, for I can imagine many decades, there has been an impressive debate taking place on what it means to be Canadian; what is Canadian culture and the Canadian identity? Many, and somewhat justifiably so, will push away any suggestion that Canada is anything more than the 51st state of the US of A.  However, it is obvious to acknowledge that Canada is noticeably and uniquely bilingual and the landscape of this nation is larger and more diverse than many of the other nations on God’s green earth. But what the debate is about is the difference between Canadians and peoples of other nationalities. And furthermore the difference between Canadians within Canada. It is very easy to admit that Canada has a lack of identity. However, has this vacuum of culture been beneficial or harmful to Canadian society?

I, for one, take great pride in where I am from and where I was raised. Although, I don’t see me and the people I grew up with as true cliché Canadians. By this I mean the slow talking, Anglo-Saxon, polite, lumberjack, hockey playing beer-drinkers. Of course I’m very familiar with this culture but is it not necessarily who I am.  Unfortunately I have not traveled far and wide throughout this great land but it is my contention through deliberate observation that there is a great divide between rural and urban Canada. What an uninformed foreigner would think of as a Canadian is probably the rural Canadian – similar to the peoples mentioned above.

To reinforce my point on the distinct difference between rural and urban Canada I am going to attempt to use Canadian produced comedy as an arguing point. If there is anything besides hockey and beer that Canada is known for it is comedy and comedians. Jim Carrey, Mike Myers, John Candy and Norm McDonald are among other comedy legends who were all born in the Great White North. A lot of excellent sketch-comedy and sitcom television series have come out of Canada and have been more-or-less successful south of the border. But what comedy does to showcase the difference between small-town and big-city Canada is in who the show’s audience is. Earlier this spring Canada said goodbye to the somehow-successful Corner Gas. I’m from Hamilton Ontario, I’ve lived here my whole life and I do not find that show in the least bit funny. I, in fact, would rather spend the weekend in a dentist’s chair than watch one-minute of that god-forsaken television series. It’s just about how things are simpler in small-towns; I get it, move on and learn how to act! But I’m not the only one, I have yet to find anyone that is not from a town with more than 100,000 pop that does not completely loath that show. Nonetheless Corner Gas was somehow successful and one could only assume that the majority of its ratings came from small-town Canada.

The same could be said about other shows such as all the kife currently on CBC that I cannot bring my fingers to type and that horrible, horrible penis of a band Nickelback. Ironically maybe it is Americans who are buying Nickelback music but I have a seizure every time I hear that purposely-raspy and untalented voice.

On the other hand there has been some fantastic Canadian entertainment such as controversial shows like Kenny vs. Spenny, The Tom Green Show and The Jon Doore Television Show. And you can’t talk about Canadian genius comedy without mentioning Trailer Park Boys. Not-to-mention old school shows such as SCTV and Kids In The Hall. I find all these shows fantastically funny and entertaining. What I think is the big difference between Kenny vs. Spenny and Corner Gas is that KvS and other good domestic shows are not deliberately trying to be Canadian. I cannot fucking stand it when comedians on the Comedy Network make jokes about Canadian politicians and snow. It is not fucking funny and the majority of Canadians don’t want to hear this shit. Kenny Hotz said it himself when criticizing the likes of Royal Canadian Air Farce (which, ironically, was also recently canceled) to paraphrase he said: Dalton McGuinty jokes are not funny but fart jokes are funny. Mr. Hotz could not have been more right. There is no doubt that both Americans and Canadians share a very similar sense of humour, so that shows like South Park or The Simpsons are going to enjoyed by both countries alike. I agree with Kenny that it is pathetic and annoying to deliberately try and make jokes Canadian. Most Canucks don’t even follow domestic politics so why bring it up in comedy sketches? It is better to just make jokes about drugs, sex and alcohol similar to what was aired on Trailer Park Boys and Kids In The Hall.

There can be no more of a logical conclusion that the major reason for much of this purposely Canadian material is that there is a small audience for it in rural Canada. That part of Canada that some would argue is “the true Canada”. Similar to the American Mid-West that many Yankees see as vastly culturally different to the US of New York, LA and other coastal big cities.

As I get to the end of my observation I would like to honour Trailer Park Boys for not just being probably one of the funniest and smartest shows of all time but for also coming the closest to crossing the rural-urban divide in Canadian entertainment. TPB makes enough weed and piss jokes to make anyone laugh – no matter where you are from; it also uniquely has many aspects that only Canadians can appreciate – with out hitting you over the head with it. If an American with a sense of humour had watched the show they also would think it’s hilarious but to Canadians, of all walks of life, TPB is that much more enjoyable.

Frick off Barb!

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Written by shanedantimo

May 31, 2009 at 8:21 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

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