Tracy Letts is an actor, screenwriter, and Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright. If that’s not enough, he also performs from time to time with TJ Jagodowski and David Pasquesi. Thanks to David Razowsky for sharing this awesomeness!
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Canada is having a moment.
It’s the sudden explosion of Canadian comedy, on a scale that hasn’t been seen since the ‘90s.
Whether you’re a maple syrup-slurping Mountie, or just someone who googled “How to move to Canada” recently, here’s our unofficial guide to some of the funniest stuff from these parts. First up…
Baroness von Sketch
Unless you’ve been orbiting Mars or on a social media fast, you’ve probably seen the “Locker Room” sketch, which racked up over a million views in a matter of days.
Sketch after solid sketch, this laugh-out-loud look at modern life is a breath of fresh air on the male-dominated airwaves. It’s also a middle finger to the face of anyone who says women aren’t funny.
The series was created by and stars comedy powerhouses Aurora Browne, Meredith MacNeill, Carolyn Taylor and Jennifer Whalen.
Improv fans will also recognize Ann Pornel, Lee Smart, and Kris Siddiqi, among others who make guest appearances. And with additional writing by Jennifer Goodhue, Dawn Whitwell, and Monica Heisey, Baroness is a showcase of Canada’s fiercely funny female talent.
Did we mention Reggie Watts is also a fan?
Catch it Tuesdays, 9:30 pm on CBC, or view online.
The Whole Truths
Jim Annan, Scott Montgomery, and Kurt Smeaton (a.k.a. Falcon Powder) have been killing it in the comedy community for over a decade. Their new series for CBC digital, The Whole Truths, brings their rapid-fire, surrealist humour to a wider audience starting July 4.
If you’re not already a fan, we promise that after watching this trailer you will be.
This Is That
Also from CBC digital, This Is That is “a current affairs program that doesn’t just talk about the issues, it fabricates them.” The show built its fan base on CBC radio, beginning in 2010.
Long-time fans will remember Pat Kelly and Peter Oldring from their improvised web series Good Morning World, which was picked up by Comedy Network. And judging by the first few promos, this new series will be coming soon to a TV near you.
Keep an eye out for appearances from some of our other favourite improvisers, including Kayla Lorette and Caitlin Howden.
Tiny Plastic Men
Edmonton improvisers non pareil Mark Meer, Chris Craddock, and Matt Alden have written and starred in this part-sitcom, part-sketch series for the past three seasons. The story revolves around three man-boys who work in the testing department of a toy company. In other words, nerd nirvana.
You can watch it on Super Channel in Canada, or stream it on Hulu in the States.
People of Earth
While not a Canadian production, we had to give this a special mention. Whether he’s doing a solo show, or climbing all over Isaac Kessler in 2-Man, No-Show, Ken Hall is loved by the improv community. So when People of Earth was announced this year, starring Wyatt Cenac, Oscar Nunez, and one Ken Hall, well, the community went a little crazy.
Check out the trailer below.
Other great series created by Canadians include White Guys, Doing It! with Brian and Darla, and Womanish. It’s exciting to see so many improvisers and sketch comedians bring their talents from stage to screen.
Hopefully this means network execs are finally wising up. After the sudden and short-sighted cancellation of Picnicface and more recently, Sunnyside, it’s time someone besides Lorne Michaels promoted Canadian comedy, in all its flavours.
As Obama said, “The world needs more Canada.”
You don’t have to be from The 6 to enjoy this vintage footage of Drizzy improvising at The Rivoli. Especially when he breaks into song as awkward as any performed by Colin Mochrie on Whose Line?
Check out this amazing 45-minute interview with Jason Chin and David Pasquesi. Love watching David’s thought process as he answers everything from his approach to improv to his favourite curse word.
“His ‘Yes’ is so strong, he doesn’t need an ‘And.'” I heard somebody say that, and I was thinking, “Well that’s terrible.” – David Pasquesi
Oh. Muh. Guh. As of May 1st, you can watch TJ & Dave on Vimeo On Demand. Where’s that “truckload of ‘Likes'” meme?
Watch Susan Messing rock as she walks her TEDx Talk – even without expletives.
We were hoping Second City would release this one day! It’s the “Maya” sketch from their 50th anniversary, featuring Stephen Colbert, Steve Carell and David Razowsky.
Now if someone would just post the full video of Pinata Full of Bees…
If you live in Toronto, you may think you’re all laughed out from Mayor Rob Ford’s latest hijinks.
But if there’s one thing we Canucks excel at (and believe it or not, there are things besides smoking crack), it’s comedy.
That’s why improviser/KD heartthrob/friend of the blog, Devon Hyland, has launched a new thing called Comedy On Tape. It’s a live and online showcase of Toronto’s top-of-the-pops improv, sketch and stand-up.
Carefully curated by Hyland, the show features CCA winners, CBC writers, JFL veterans, and other super-funny folks not associated with acronyms.
The next show is Wednesday, November 13 at The Tranzac, 292 Brunswick Avenue, and the line-up includes improv superstars RN & Cawls, Falcon Powder, Chad Mallett, and many others.
Doors open at 7 pm, and admission is $10.
You can view past shows (in convenient, bite-sized viewing chunks) here or by clicking below.
Someone wrote recently that improv is like a cult.
It’s true. Once you learn improv, nothing is ever quite the same. Whether you’re an actor, comedian, artist, filmmaker, doctor, lawyer, call centre operator, grocery bagger, or a writer like me, improv informs everything you do.
And yet, for such a massively influential force, there’s very little evidence of its history on film.
Now two filmmakers are trying to change that.
The Committee: A Secret History of American Comedy is a documentary about the legendary improv theatre company that took America by storm in the ’60s. Members included Del Close, Howard Hesseman, and Rob Reiner, and the group’s output changed comedy culture forever.
Jamie Wright and Sam Shaw, the brains behind the project, have launched a Kickstarter. But with only six days left, they still have a way to go to reach their goal.
After all that improv has given us, we couldn’t say no to this worthy cause. If you’d like to contribute in the spirit of “yes, and,” every bit helps.
You can read more about the project, watch the trailer, and donate here: