Monday, January 12, 2004

Humour in the Halls of the CBC

Must be the water in the Barbara Frum atrium, that's the only thing I can think of to explain why the CBC keeps churning out pretty funny shows. Over the years they've given us Air Farce, 22 minutes, Red Green and The Newsroom to name a few. Some of the dramatic efforts on the ole Mother Corp are quickly forgotten, but humour that's their baliwack for some reason.

Tonight was the debut of Rick Mercer's Monday Report The opening of the show seemed to be a copy of the Daily Show with Jon Stewart, but other than that it quickly found it's own feet. While it's hard to beat the first five minutes of the Daily Show (which is probably the best five minutes of satire on TV anywhere) Mercer gave it a pretty good run. Some funny zingers to start the show off, a hilarious send up of Jack Layton dressed in leather chaps as if he were a gay porn star (should help get out the vote in Toronto I guess). There was also a pretty funny bit, listing the content of the Ontario Teachers Pension Fund. It's nice to know they are investing in shopping malls, ritalin and tobacco companies. The future is bright teachers, you'll have to wear shades.

The half hour went by pretty quickly and combined Mercer's keen eye for satire with his ability to pull a rant out of anything. The show struggled a couple of times, but that's to be expected when a one man show tries to take on too much. He did have a contributor just like the Daily Show, but sorry, the Daily Show does that better, perhaps with practice that part of the Monday Report will reach the same level of competence. Pretty good debut though, once they get a half dozen shows under their belt it should smooth out and become a welcome addition to the satire scene.

The only real nitpick was it seemed a tad too Torontocentric, maybe by design for the first show I'm not sure. But judging by the fun and games happening at the BC Legislature the last two weeks or so, there must be some comedy to be mined out west!!!

And for audience participation you can't beat the first contest offered up, selecting which city has the craziest mayor, check out my wishful thinking link for a link to the official entry form, or go to the shows website and check it out. Perhaps your fine burg can qualify, Lord knows most of the zany ones run for mayor for some reason.

Mercer has had some pretty good success over the years, from 22 minutes to Made in Canada ( a great look at the behind the scenes machinations of Canadian television) and of course his Talking to Americans special (though to be fair all he had to do there was turn on the camera, let the folks below the 49th do all the work).

Monday Report will continue to give him a vehicle for his take on Canadian life. And unlike another show on another network, this was actually quite funny. Note to CBC programming, counterprogram one rerun of each comedy show every night around 12 midnight, betcha you come out the winner.

You can check out Rick Mercer's Monday Report every Monday on the CBC at 8 pm.

Here's the URL for the website for Rick Mercer's Monday Report

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