Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Comedy Saturday Night

Saturday night used to be the most watched TV night of the week.
What happened?
I blame it on VCRs and DVDs which splintered the audience until mostly reruns dot the landscape.
For the summer at least CTV should keep us laughing.
CTV is running a block of Comedy Now! shows Saturdays at 10 p.m. starting June 12 followed by another block showcasing the funsters of Comedy Inc.
First up on Comedy Now! there's a baggy comic from the logging town of Terrance, B.C.
Ian Bagg is really quite winning despite some rather questionable (for prime time) material and a preference for words usually only heard on cable.
He has a friendly way with audiences, yarns that are something else and would be perfect for his own CTV sitcom only Brent Butt got there first.
Up next week is another Canuck comic, Simon King, a butterball type who moved with his family to B.C. from England when he was young. He excels at accents --particularly Scottish --and if some material isn't exactly politically correct so what, it's very funny. As his act unfolds he becomes ever more manic but never loses control of the audience. He'd be perfect for a late night comedic turn a la Fallon or O'Brien --Canadian TV has lacked its own late night stand ever since Mike Bullard was forcibly retired.
However his act was obviously taped before Barack Obama became U.S, President --the date at the end is 2009 so some of the jokes need updating.
Comedy Now! is basically a taped standup thing but it works because of smooth camera work and use of audience reaction shots. The show was created by Sandra Faire who used to make dazzling musical specials for CBC when CBC was still into making specials.
At 10:30 there's the return of Comedy Inc which stars a gaggle of bright, young Canadian sketch comics. If anything the cast is too large --I can't remember who's who most of the time and not all seem to be around for every episode. It would be nice if they could all get together at the end for one big bow or something.
In this rapid fire sequence of skits some work very well but others bomb. And one word of advice: stop laughing under your breath when a sidekick gets really carried away. It annoys me.
I watched the first two episodes which are ripe with double entendres. The bit about the psychologist and the animal patients started off strongly but came back once too often. Best was a Technical Hotline where the experts deliberately try to confuse clients who phone in.
The second half hour on a week later had a great item about a seaman named Quint that broke up the cast and a very dark item about a hospital spokesman who is completely out of line.
My verdict: there's nothing else on this time of the year so why not sample some Canadian content? You can't watch U.S, repeats all the time, can you?

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