All countries the world over have insane weather. All countries the world over have insane politicians. Insane rules. Insane road construction. Insane drivers. Insane <fill in the blank>. So I’m really not sure what it is that causes Canadians to have such wonderful senses of humour.
All the trees, perhaps. All that oxygen in the air, that clean, northern air. Or the winters. Possibly the CBC. The hockey, too. The lakes! We have a TON of lakes here. It’s gotta be the lakes.
There’s no way to say, “We’re funny because we have too much/so little…” and finish the sentence, pinpointing accurately the source of the fabled Canadian funny bone.
But senses of humour we have a plenty! We’ve produced a bevy of comedians. Here’s a smattering of some of our most popular comedic talent, in alphabetical order:
Will Arnett, Dan Aykroyd, Jay Baruchel, Samantha Bee, Bowser & Blue – a favourite at the Montreal Laugh Fest, Mike Bullard – I’ve met the man numerous times and he’s SO nice, you guys!, Brent Butt, legendary and gone too soon John Candy, Jim Carrey, Michael Cera, Tommy Chong – yes, THAT Tommy Chong, legendary group CODCO, Gavin Crawford, Sean Cullen, Gerry Dee – the man we all wish we had for a gym teacher, sweetheart and Canadian jewel Lorne Elliott, Joe Flaherty, Dave Foley, Michael J Foxx, Luba Goy, gross out master Tom Green, brilliant genius Phil Hartman, one of my personal favourites Jeremy Hotz, the ridiculously talented Ron James, comedic siblings Andy and Cathy Jones, Elvira Kurt, the amazing Jon Lajoie – seriously, go to his youtube page, Eugene Levy, my personal favourite Rich Little, Mike MacDonald, sweetheart of a man Norm MacDonald, Shaun Majumder – if you didn’t say his name in his accent then you’re not a real Canadian!, Howie Mandel whose smile makes me smile, Bruce McCullock, Kevin McDonald, Mark McKinney, the very politically hilarious Rick Mercer, everyone’s favourite producer Lorne Michaels, Colin Mochrie who killed it on Who’s Line Is It Anyway?, everyone’s favourite nerd Rick Moranis, everyone’s favourite spy Mike Myers, everyone’s favourite Friend Matthew Perry, Leslie Nielson who ate the lasagna, Cat O’Hara who still, to this day, makes me laugh with her eyes alone, Russell Peters, the physically disfigured Ryan Reynolds – honestly, that guy is a troll, Caroline Rhea, Seth Rogen, Will…iam….Shat….ner…, Martin Short, one of my personal childhood favourites Frank Shuster, Lilly Singh, the late Alan Thicke, Dave Thomas, Scott Thompson, Mary Walsh, another of my personal childhood favourites Johnny Wayne (of Wayne and Shuster).
That is but a drop in the ocean of our very talented comedians.
Today, however, I’d like to talk to you about two very talented, and hilarious, brothers. Meet Bob and Dough McKenzie, hosts of Kanadian Korner on SCTV, later changed to Great White North.
The brothers loved to drink beer, discuss local issues (why there weren’t enough parking spots at the take-out donut shops, for one, which, 37 years later, is still a very valid topic of discussion!), and call each other ‘hoser’.
Rick Moranis and Dave Thomas dreamed up these wonderful characters when SCTV moved to CBC, and they’ve become classic Canadian characters since then.
The word ‘hoser’ is uniquely Canadian and even more unique to Bob and Doug McKenzie. According to Wikipedia, Canadians don’t use this word, it’s used to make fun of us by non-Canadians. Hilarious, considering I’ve never heard a non-Canadian use this word. It’s also not a word that can be traced further back, beyond Bob and Doug McKenzie. They apparently made the word more popular but did it exist before the advent of Bob and Doug? Only the shadow knows.
So my third hat to celebrate the uniqueness of Canada, the uniqueness of being Canadian for ME, is ‘hoser’. I was a child of the 80s and grew up with SCTV, CODCO, SNL (when it was very raunchy and mostly filled with Canucks and totally inappropriate for me to watch but I did anyway), and Kids In The Hall.
The language of Canada is unique to us, like all countries are with their own lingo. We have our own slang, our own words that others don’t understand. It is part of what makes us who we are. “Take off, eh?” means nothing to many Americans but for many Canadians, specifically those of a certain age, it brings you back to plaid shirts, toques, accents, eh?, beer, and Canadian content. Sitting around the tv watching CBC. Hockey Night in Canada. The Nature of Things.
Happy early 150th birthday, Canada! You don’t look a day over 10,000 years old.