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 [...]
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 [...]
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 [...]
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 [...]