Friday, August 18, 2006

Canadian comedy and clubbing seals

Some clips of Rick Mercer's Talking to Americans show have been cited on BoingBoing via Digg. I'm not a huge fan of the show just because the belittling becomes tiresome after a time. However, I think the generalization that Canadians know more about Americans than Americans know about Canadians is true mostly because of our relative sizes and cultural influence.

It's easy for us Canadians to know a fair amount about America. We have been exposed to American media and culture all our lives. I grew up watching PBS and ABC almost as much as CBC. I think Americans are more inward looking than Canadians (and that is NOT a good thing) partly because they are surrounded by their own self-generated culture, insulated from the effects of other nations. I think that American producers could find similarly witless Canadians. Although they'd have to look a lot harder to find them, and nobody in their target viewing market would really care.

On a lighter note:

Rick Mercer (who has his own blog) was formerly a part of a CBC satirical news show called "This Hour Has 22 Minutes ". It's focused primarily on politics and current events. One of the all time greatest segments was when they sent recurring character Marg Delahunty to then Prime Minister Jean Chretien's office in Ottawa:

After some comedic conversation (also involving Marg sitting on the arm of Chretien's chair while he was sitting in it), she managed to get the Prime Minister to help her practice her golf swing.

So there he is, the leader of our country, standing in his office with his arms around Marg, helping her hold the club - y'know like 2 spoons in a drawer. Overcome by being cradled by the Prime Minister, Marg mocks a faint and collapses to the floor at the prime minister's feet. Just before they cut to commercial, Jean Chretien, our then-current leader, raises the club high over his head giving the indication that he's going to club her like a baby seal.

I remember thinking two things to myself: 1) How the hell did they convince him to do this on national television? and 2) I'm so proud that he's got such a great sense of humour.

Where have all the great personalities in politics gone?