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Friday, October 14, 2016

Why are Canadians so damn funny ??




(Credit: Getty Images)


There are several things Canadians are known for. Beer, for one. Also bacon. Certainly maple syrup. And snow. And hockey. And for being resolutely, insufferably polite and apologetic.
But perhaps more than anything else, we are known for our comedy. Or more to the point, our wonderful comedic talent. No matter where I have travelled, people tell me Canadians have a terrific sense of humor and I have to agree.
We have literally  thousands of ex-pats or exports to the US, amazingly talented people, who after they gained success up here, decided to also make it 'down there'. Apparently, if you become successful in the USA then you have reached the zenith of your career and need go no further. After they have made it south of the border, many of them trickle back home, having proved themselves, at least by their own standards.


(Credit: Alamy)                   
Mike Myers is one of the comic stars to hail from Canada – though like many Canadian comics many people think he’s actually American

Once we’re safely ensconced in Hollywood, we tend to downplay our origins. I mean, why rock the boat? On finding out where some of these funny people come from, I have often heard Americans exclaim, "Gee, I had no idea he/she was Canadian".
Before the arrival of Brits who can feign American accents brilliantly, such as Hugh Laurie and Martin Freeman, Canadians were the primary covert fake Americans on TV and in movies.
But we don’t export all of our comedy. We save some for ourselves, like the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) national news satire This Hour Has 20 Minutes, The Royal Canadian Air Farce, Corner Gas and Trailer Park Boys. CBC Radio is rife with comedy programming. We are masters of homegrown self-deprecation.
We are inundated by American culture, pouring across the border, but tend to observe and enjoy it and even embrace it, to a point, then toss it back across the border, very politely,  because down deep, we are not that alike.
Our national identity, if we have one, could be said to be low self-esteem, or at the very least chronic insecurity but also a very deep and abiding love for our country. We have no real ‘star system’ of our own because deep down we truly believe that, to quote Mike Myers, “We’re not worthy”.  None of which applies to French Canada, which avidly supports and celebrates its culture – particularly comedy. It is surely no coincidence that the world’s largest annual comedy festival is held in French-speaking Montreal, Quebec.
So what is it that makes us so hilarious?  Canadian humor is the art of observation
 We have gradually outgrown our deeply conservative nature but the insecure part is still very present.
A Canadian comic character actor whose name I’ve long since forgotten once said: “American humor is the art of overstatement, English humor is the art of understatement, and Canadian humor is the art of observation.”


(Credit: Getty Images)
John Candy was one of the many Canadian comedians who rose to prominence on SCTV, a Toronto-based sketch show (Credit: Getty Images)

(Credit: CTV)
Though many Canadian comedians defect to Hollywood, Canada has aired its own very popular comedy series on TV, such as Corner Gas (Credit: CTV)

Common wisdom has it that the Canadian sense of humor is borne out of the inherent isolation of our large and under-populated country. That and the weather. The prevailing image is of small groups of fur-wrapped Canucks, huddled together in some remote snowed-in hunting lodge, cracking wise and laughing their bums off in an effort to keep them warm.
And there may be some truth to that. Coming from a smaller community certainly gives one a unique comic perspective. SCTV’s greatest material came from the period they were working out of isolated Edmonton, Alberta, free from distraction and far away from the meddling interventions of network suits. Canadian comedy in its purest form, like maple syrup, is crafted primarily for one’s own enjoyment. 
SCTV is best known for its eerily accurate satire of US pop culture. Making fun of our neighbours to the south is something of a shared strength for Canadian comics. The most popular American comedy TV show in Canada right now is The Big Bang Theory, a US sitcom about outsiders. We can relate because, in a broader sense, we too are outsiders, on a national scale.


(Credit: Netflix) 
Trailer Park Boys was a hugely popular mockumentary programme on Canadian TV from 2001 to 2007 – it’s since been revived for Netflix (Credit: Netflix)

Although we are bombarded  by US culture, we have no real stake in it, aside from our exported talent. This puts us in a unique position to observe and ridicule, and get away scot-free.
We are funny in self-defence because we are ‘other’, and humor is inclusive. Ivan Reitman disagrees with this theory. And I guess he would know. Early on in his career, he produced two of the most successful comedies ever filmed, Animal House and the original Ghostbusters(which he also directed).
Yet Reitman also exemplifies the small-town theory: though he was raised in Toronto, he came of age at McMaster University in the mid-sized steel town of Hamilton, Ontario. So did Dave Thomas, who was born in the even smaller St Catherine’s. Eugene Levy and Marty Short were both born in Hamilton. John Candy and Jim Carrey are from tiny Newmarket; Mike Myers from suburban Scarborough.
But more than anything else, I think, our humor comes down to our communal self-consciousness. At the height of SCTV’s success as an export to US television, when movie offers were pouring in left and right, Thomas talked of walking the streets of LA and looking over his shoulder, convinced that at any moment someone was going to shout, “Hey you! You don’t belong here! Go back to Canada!”
And how Canadian is that, eh?

4 comments:

  1. The Canadians has a great sense of humor and style and maybe rest of the world should take a look and try it .

    PIC , I had to stop by to tell you things are hectic here , but in a good way , I will write you tomorrow for sure to tell you about the party and they did get day the Blowup doll . he's excited and asking everyone do they know what it is Hahahaha!!!
    see you tomorrow sweetie.
    take care and don't over do it .
    Tell Brain I'm proud of him for taking it easy .
    Love you PIC

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  2. My dear Lady ,
    I beg to differ with you , all Canadians are not funny or nice .
    They are like most people , some good , some not so good .
    Most of the people I met is really nice and a few is butt-holes .(Laughing my butt off)
    I put a thank you on my Birthday post .
    Hugs HB

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  3. I do not claim that all Canadians are funny and nice. There are butt-holes in every culture, without a doubt. But our comedy and comedic talent is terrific for sure. And we all enjoy it. We are still basically nice and polite people and pacifists. But I have seen changes in the last decade and more which disturb me and all the older Canadians who remember a gentler, kinder time when we didn't have to lock our doors.
    Rudeness, cruelty, violence and crime are making inroads. But, so far, we still have one of the lowest crime rates and Toronto is considered to be one of the safest large cities in the world. I am sure that will change too.
    Love and hugs
    Bfly

    ReplyDelete
  4. Go to WAG for some laughs
    Love PIC

    ReplyDelete

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