Monday, January 23, 2006

Canada, Comedy and Cable

In my mind, the word Canada has become synonymous with the word Comedy. Not just for the fact that most of the world considers us a laughable country. If you talk to Canadians and then to Americans, it is easily determined that Canadians have their own quirky sense of humor. This is not to say that all American's don't have a good sense of humor, case and point Jon Stewart (who is, in my mind, one of the most original comedians out there), Dane Cook and the late Mitch Hedberg. Yet, Americans tend to be more concerned with the way they present themselves, while Canadians couldn't care less about what others think.

It's not that American comedy is unfunny, it's just that comedy has not been excepted into mainstream culture in America as easily as it has in Canada, although lately one could suggest that more American comedians have been credited with higher Hollywood status (ie. Steve Carell). Comparing Canadian comedy with American comedy is like comparing (I'm not going to say apples and oranges, because in that statement the meaning is lost) fine wine with an ice cold beer. American comedy is very primped, proper and perfected like an art, which it is. It suits all tastes (making sure to be politically correct), bringing the high class and the lower classes together. Canadian comedy is more raw, made for the people and by the people. It doesn't get the attention of the upper classes, mainly because it chooses to poke fun at them. Yet, it does apply to the common man, which is the preferred audience as the common man makes up a larger demographic than the wealthy.

Yet in Canada, the main television stations (CBC and CTV) have comedy hours and even an entire friday night commited to relaxation and laughs, allowing for Canada's comedic audience to expand. One could bring up the fact that America has an entire station committed to comedy, Comedy Central, yet this station is only available through the purchase of cable. Even without cable Canadians can enjoy a good laugh... I would know, I don't have cable. What a shocker! People often ask me how I survive. I tell them, "Just fine!" which is true. I believe whole heartedly that life is a lot simpler without cable. One could say that I live a happily filtered life. With only 6 channels to watch, CTV and CBC among them, I am still able to watch quality shows. I always look forward to CBC shows like This Space for Rent, This is Wonderland and This Hour has 22 Minutes. The shows I watch are limited, but this gives me more time to go about doing more productive things like reading (<-- yes, people still read). The Just For Laughs Comedy Festival, often featured on the CBC and based in Montreal, has brought together some of the most talented Canadian and American comedians.

Being a Canadian, I take pride in coming from a country that can laugh at itself as well as others. And the statement that will always be my proudest is "Yes, I did attend the Just For Laughs Comedy Tour, in Vancouver".

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