Posts tagged as canada

Adjusting to America with Canada's Sweetheart Debra DiGiovanni

Her charmingly playful persona is coupled with brutal honesty and quick delivery. More than that, her stats are impressive: she's performed at Montreal's Just for Laughs festival nine times, been awarded the Best Female Comic at the Canadian Comedy Award three times, and made it to the top eight on Last Comic Standing. (To understand her personality quickly, watch the preview for her special, Single Awkward Female.)

With a recent move to Los Angeles, she's now sharing her comedy with American audiences. She returns to Canada to headline the Just for Laughs Road Show Tour in twelve Canadian cities.

I spoke with Debra in Toronto about the enduring [...]

Ken Finkleman and the Art of Being Derivative

Like many series of the mid-90s, 1996’s The Newsroom began as an imitator of The Larry Sanders Show. The latter show opened the door for the cruelty and self-absorption that are the hallmarks of great sitcoms since. The former was huge on Canadian television (and eventually aired on PBS), but it was just one of many series created by Ken Finkleman. Finkleman’s longtime avatar, George Findlay, served as a means of exorcising his own demons, and the shows were indicators of what comedy Finkleman was watching (usually modern experimental sitcoms). It’s fair to accuse Finkleman of being derivative, but his shows are much more [...]

Dave Foley Is Returning to Network TV as the Star of Canada's 'Spun Out'

Kids in the Hall and NewsRadio star Dave Foley is returning to network TV next month, with a starring role in a new Canadian sitcom. Called Spun Out, it's a multi-camera workplace comedy with an ensemble cast that will have Foley at its center. Foley will play the head of the public relations company that all of the main characters work for, with Paul Campbell, Al Mukadam, Rebecca Dalton, J.P. Manoux, Darcy Michael, and Holly Deveaux rounding out the ensemble. Spun Out, which premieres on Canada's CTV March 6th, is Dave Foley's first network sitcom since the short-lived 2011 CBS series How to Be a Gentleman and his first [...]

The Coolest Comedy Scene You've Never Heard of Forms Temporarily Every Summer – in Canada

Every summer, the major cities across Canada play host to a series of Fringe theater festivals. As an American sketch comedian working in obscure black box venues across the Pacific Northwest, I had never heard of the Canadian Fringe Circuit until a fellow sketch comedian, Andrew Connor of the Cody Rivers Show, extolled the fests’ virtues during a panel discussion at the 2008 Seattle Sketchfest. The Fringe, Andrew explained, is a whole other world: a place for comedians to hone their craft, to network with likeminded folk, to get some (hopefully) usable pull-quotes from honest-to-God newspaper reviews, to be inspired by the inventiveness and creativity of other performers, and to [...]

Splitsider's Guide to Vancouver's Comedy Scene

Live comedy, for many, is an art form that is still confined to two major centers: New York and Los Angeles. Other cities — Chicago, Boston, Toronto, San Francisco, Austin, Montreal, Seattle, and Denver — are often unfairly relegated to the periphery. They represent thriving scenes that matter because they exist, but aside from that are generally ignored and rarely scouted.

If the latter cities make up the periphery of the comedy scene, then it would be fair to say that Vancouver, British Columbia — tucked far away in the Pacific Northwest, three hours from Seattle, six hours from Portland, and too many hours from anywhere else — lies in [...]

David Steinberg Introduces the World to the Cast of 'SCTV'

The Paley Center for Media, which has locations in both New York and LA, dedicates itself to the preservation of television and radio history. Inside their vast archives of more than 150,000 television shows, commercials, and radio programs, there are thousands of important and funny programs waiting to be rediscovered by comedy nerds like you and me. Each week, this column will highlight a new gem waiting for you at the Paley Library to quietly laugh at. (Seriously, it’s a library, so keep it down.)

Canada’s David Steinberg is probably best known today as the host of Showtime’s Inside Comedy. As you no doubt gathered from the title, in it [...]

Just For Laughs Chooses Its 2014 New Faces

Every year, Montreal's Just For Laughs comedy festival chooses a bunch of up-and-coming comedians to highlight in their "New Faces" showcase, and this year's list has been released. Last year's list featured a bunch of comedians who enjoyed a breakthrough year including SNL's John Milhiser and Brooks Wheelan, standups Mark Normand and Aparna Nancherla, Late Night's Conner O'Malley, and more. Just For Laughs splits their choices up by categories New Faces (non-Canadian standups with managers), New Faces: Characters (sketch performers), Homegrown Talent (Canadian comedians), and New Faces: Unrepped (comedians without managers). Click through for the full list of this year's New Faces:

NBC Orders 12 Episodes of a Comedy Starring Andrea Martin

NBC has given an early 12-episode order to Working the Engels, a new comedy starring SCTV alum Andrea Martin that's being targeted for the 2014-15 season, THR reports. The sitcom is a co-production between Canadian company Halfire-Core Entertainment and NBC, the first-ever time a US and Canadian broadcaster have teamed up on a show.

Martin, who recently won a Tony and a bunch of other awards for her role in the current Broadway revival of Pippin, stars in the sitcom as Celia "Ceil" Engel, a self-involved but loving mom. When her husband passes away and leaves the family with a lot of debt, Ceil and her kids must work together [...]

The Kids in the Hall Are Reuniting for a Run of Live Shows in Canada

Legendary sketch group The Kids in the Hall are getting back together for their first live shows in five years. The group's five members, Dave Foley, Kevin McDonald, Bruce McCulloch, Mark McKinney, and Scott Thompson, are reuniting for a series of shows at Toronto Sketchfest from December 4th through December 7th and tickets are still available. Their new sketch show is called "Rusty and Ready," and it's described as "an intimate and raucous Toronto homecoming.  Featuring new material and an assortment of oddities from their deep, dark trunk." Between that and David Cross and Bob Odenkirk's current Mr. Show reunion mini-tour, it's a great year to see performers/writers [...]

Just For Laughs Chooses Its 2013 New Faces

Every year, Montreal's Just For Laughs festival picks a bunch of up-and-coming comedians to take part in their "New Faces" showcases, which puts them in front of a bunch of powerful industry types. This morning, they announced the 2013 New Faces, a list that includes folks like Funny or Die's Dan Klein, Totally Biased's Aparna Nancherla, Andrew Overdahl, who co-wrote/starred in the Amazon pilot Those Who Can't, and more. The New Faces are separated into categories for sketch performers (New Faces: Characters), comedians without managers (New Faces: Unrepped), Canadian comedians (Homegrown Comics), and regular New Faces, which is non-Canadian standups with managers.

Check out the full list of performers [...]

'Extraordinary Person' Visas and the Plight of Canadian Comedians

At some point, every comic serious about their career makes the move to either New York or Los Angeles. Some are lucky enough to grow up in one of the two cities, but the majority of comics migrate there. Their stories are generally pretty similar: drive across the country, rent a brutal apartment in a terrible neighborhood, and start from scratch. It’s an enormous sacrifice, but it’s part of the process. For Canadian comics, however, the situation is more complicated. When your friends from the great white north decide that this is how they want to earn their living, they can’t just saunter across the border into New York to [...]

Watch Some Rare Clips from Lorne Michaels's Early '70s Canadian Sketch Show

Before creating Saturday Night Live, Lorne Michaels starred in and co-wrote an obscure early '70s Canadian sketch show called The Hart and Lorne Terrific Hour with then-comedy partner Hart Pomerantz, and here are some rare excerpts from it via a recently-unearthed 1986 retrospective special that was uploaded to YouTube. Before Michaels ended up working mostly behind the scenes, he was a sketch comedy performer and, as he recalls, was described as "the tall, good-looking one." Although it only lasted 10 episodes and is rarely talked about today, The Hart and Lorne Terrific Hour ended up having an indelible impact upon modern comedy in that it was a precursor to [...]

Stephen Colbert Looks Deeper Into the Drug War In Canada

In light of the recent drug revelations about Toronto Mayor Rob Ford, Stephen Colbert turned his attention to another ongoing drug-related problem in the Great White North, where bong store's fuzzy mascots terrorize the streets.

T.J. Miller Got Super Weird on Canadian Morning TV

T.J. Miller went on breakfast TV in Edmonton, Canada this morning with some crazy hair and a too-small jacket to promote his local gigs. In under eight minutes, he managed to play with knives, drink from four glasses of orange juice, and defend Yogi Bear 3D as "the greatest piece of talking bear cinema that's ever been achieved." NBC need look no further for Matt Lauer's Today show replacement.