Tuesday, October 25, 2011

The CBC, Unhinged

No laughs to be found when comedy comes second to politics

The CBC has a problem with its comedy. Or, rather, a new problem.

For a very long time, the biggest problem with CBC's comedy was that -- unless it was airing Just For Laughs -- the comedy mostly just wasn't funny. Rick Mercer would have the occasional moment, but the political sanctimony of what was passed off as comedy overwhelmed any sense of humour.

This Hour Has 22 Minutes has long been exhibit A in the sheer unfunniness of CBC's comedy offerings. The cast of 22 Minutes has long been made up of untalented hacks more interested in grinding their own political axes than in making the audience laugh. They could elicit the occasional giggle from left-wingers who found their offerings ideologically soothing, but very little from anyone whose political opinions veer even slightly to the right of a Phish concert.

(BTW, Phish sucks.)

Mary Walsh has pretty much set the bar for unfunny comedy on 22 Minutes, but in recent years she's had some competition from Geri Hall. Consider a Sun News Network parody featuring Margaret Atwood in which Hall and Atwood take token potshots at the fledgling news network and generally take turns at being incredibly unfunny.

Apparently "the home of real news spoken by fake blondes" is Hall's idea of a rolling-on-the-floor laugher. And while some cretins delighted in it, most rational people quickly tire of watching something that makes it clear that it's a malicious hit-piece cobbled together by far-lefty "comedians" who were outraged by a challenging interview that wasn't nearly as outrageous as they want to pretend it is.

That the CBC had previously employed Krista Erickson, the target of the comedy sketch-cum-smear, only further reveals just how unhinged the cast of 22 Minutes has become. In dumping so eagerly on a former CBC journalist -- one who served the CBC, although not without controversy, until she chose to go elsewhere -- is making an undeniable statement about the quality of journalism at the CBC.

They're evidently unafraid of dumping all over their own colleagues in order to direct their rage at a former colleague, now turned adversary by way of her employment at a rival network, one one which differing viewpoints have proliferated.

But just how unhinged has the cast and crew of 22 Minutes become? Just ask Toronto Mayor Rob Ford.

Cue the terminally-unfunny Mary Walsh once more. In staging an "ambush interview" for the show, Walsh wasn't interested in waiting for Ford at Toronto City Hall. No, instead she decided to ambush him in his driveway, as he was taking his 6 year-old daughter to school.

Walsh apparently frightened Ford's daughter, and to be frank: who wouldn't be? To behold Walsh, in the pitch of her demagogic fury, raving at the top of her lungs would frighten a lot of adults. Adults, fortunately, are well-equipped to deal with the appearance of a crazy lady on their drive way. Children, not so much.

What's become the most remarkable thing about the confrontation is just how much the 22 Minutes cast and crew just don't get it.

“We were actually surprised at how humourless his response was,” remarked 22 Minutes producer Michael Donovan.

Perhaps if Ezra Levant were to turn up on Donovan's driveway, waving around a plastic sword and shoving a microphone in Donovan's face while his children are present, Donovan would better understand.

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