#80 – Channel Surfing, Part Four: This Hour is 22 Minutes (Too Long)

English Canadians watch a nasty, prejudicial, stupid comedy show that sucks so badly that only two of its seasons have ever been put on DVD.

This Hour has 22 Minutes is a lame, stereotype-laden “comedy” effort farted into existence in 1992. The CBC thought that its collection of Quebec-hating lowball comedy (including a hilarious bit in 2007 where an independent Quebec is presented as a third-world land with nothing left but racism) was just the thing to help created a concept of common Canadiana amongst the Anglos. Scoring an amazing 6.5 on IMdb, this hilarious show was all about making pantomimes of what Canada’s regions look like. So Newfies are idiots, the Quebecois are racist evil nasty no-good bad guys, and bothering Rob Ford at home to make an unfunny joke was totally okay!

What really gives with this show? It was the starting point for the careers of people who fled to the United States, and it launched Rick Mercer and his milquetoast non-humor. Did you know that Fort McMurray’s downtown is defined by its residents in terms of the front office of the Edmonton Oilers and how poverty has reduced them to sleeping on their Ski-Doos? Hilarious! Turning YouTube meme-sation “What Does the Fox Say?” into “What Does Rob Ford Say?”, which doesn’t even fit the rhythm of the original tune? Riotous! The show also actively shills for Jean Chretien because he was an effective comedy stump for the show. Never mind the cuts and devastation caused by Chretien’s rule – he made the funnies with the funnymans hee hee hee!

Such a clearly brilliant program obviously played on the successes of Canadian sketch comedy, but it did so in such ridiculous mythological contexts so as to make the whole thing ludicrous. Rick Mercer’s hilarious “Talking to Americans” wherein the expectation that Americans know or care about a country 10% of its size in a context where Mexico is far more important resulted in abjectly humorless hubris from “Canada’s comedians”. The show is supported by Canadian taxpayers – an unfunny, sanitized relic of the days when Canada did sketch comedy well. As it is, the show seems best to shuffle Canadians off to the United States, where they presumably are allowed to be free-range humorists.

I’m sure glad to be subsidizing comedic brain drain by way of an unfunny program that long ago lost its bite. Making fun of Rob Ford? Refering to Stephen Harper as a “King”? Never done that before!! Ha ha ha ha ha. Ha. Ha…

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