The Hilarious Story Of Canadian Comedy
Narrated by Paul Gross
Standing Room Only Entertainment
180 minutes plus extras
Comedy Gold The Hilarious Story Of Canadian Comedy is an encyclopedic documentary of Canadian comedy over the last fifty or so years. Anyone who is or was important to Canadian and is still alive is featured and there are clips of just about every single television comedy show ever made in Canada. Comedy Gold is also the smoking gun and extra bullets for those conspiracy theorists who believe Canadians are taking over Hollywood and American television. It is a three hour long documentary that does not take itself seriously, features as many funny bits as possible, and manages to be informative and important.
This documentary on the history of Canadian comedy is basically divided in three parts: the early days of radio and the transition to television, comedy shows on prime time Canadian TV, and the influence on Hollywood and the movies. The framework with which the information is presented in these three broad categories is very intelligent and allows the viewer to keep his interest level high. For example, before Comedy Gold The Hilarious Story Of Canadian Comedy begins the story of the early days of the genre in Canada you get a lot of famous Canadian comics and comic actors talking about their early comedic influences and souvenirs.
Of course, this 3 hour documentary begins with Wayne and Shuster which is more than appropriate and also allows the filmmakers to segue from radio comedy to television variety shows and comedy shows. You will learn here the link between Wayne and Shuster, Lorne Michaels, Saturday Night Live, Dan Aykroyd. You also get information about less remembered shows such as Nightcap with Alan Hamel and Billy Van.
What is interesting and typically Canadian is how often a comic or comedian will find success in Canada and parlay it into an American career. When you watch Canadian Gold you realize how many comics from north of the border have helped make Saturday Night Live the hit show it once was. This story is true for just about everybody including great directors such as Ivan Reitman, Lorne Michaels, Norman Jewison, and, we will always have to apologize for that, Tom Green.
Canadian Gold is not your ordinary documentary. There are of course the obligatory archive footage, interviews with important people, well-researched information but you also get a bit of an analysis of why Canadian comedy is so different from American comedy and why shows on Canadian networks are much more biting and politically aware than what you can see on the big networks.
This three hour compendium of Canadian comedy includes everybody and every comedy group you love. This includes Codco, Kids In The Hall, Royal Canadian Air Farce, This Hour Has 22 Minutes, the brilliant SCTV. I still would have wished a bit more about local sitcoms such as King Of Kensington and Pardon My French but nothing is ever perfect though Canadian Gold comes very close.
There is only one moment when the filmmakers get it wrong on Comedy Gold. It is when they say the failure of Tom Green’s Freddy Got Fingered is because it was released at the wrong time. Face facts, it did not win every single Razzie Award because the fix was in.
The extra feature is basically some unused interview footage from some of the many, many Canadians who helped make comedy what it is worldwide such as Dan Aykroyd, Dave Thomas, Greg Malone, and so on.
No matter how you look at it, and you will look at it time and again, Canadian Gold The Hilarious Story Of Canadian Comedy is something any comedy fan, American or Canadian, must have in his or her collection.
Chapters: Introduction – In the Beginning, Live in Black and White, Sketch Satire and The Sixties, Saturday Night Live, Kids In the Hall, Improv Satire and an American Experience, Sit Coms From Both Sides Now, Canadians in US Prime Time, That Mellonville Show, Codco: The Rock That Roared, Political Satire and Air Farce, This Joke Has 22 Minutes, Iconoclasts and Crazy Men, Hooray For Hollywood, Canadian Style, SCTV Goes To The Movies, Hollywood Genius, Epilogue – A Vision of Canada.
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