It’s the day after Bell Let’s Talk; the best medicine to deal with the winter blues is to have a good laugh.
Canada is home to some of the funniest humans on the planet. Our sense of humour is unique to our home and native land for its particular brand of self-deprecating, likeable dry wit. It seems to me that Canadians grow up watching classic American stand-ups and then filter that through our storyteller style of humour.
Canadian comedians are often forced to adventure to the United States or the UK in order to make a living, but it’s hard to hold it against them, especially when they retain the hoser twinkle in their eye. The Post Millennial takes a look at seven of the funniest Canadians to ever take the stage.
- Norm MacDonald, born in Quebec City and perhaps best known as the anchor on SNL’s “Weekend Update”, he is often referred to as a comedian’s comedian. That may be true, but he’s the funniest guy around in many a fella’s books. We’ll let his stand-up attest to that. In clip here from Late Night, Letterman cordially asked MacDonald to give the final stand-up performance on his show.
2. Jim Carrey, born in New Market, Ontario, is the man who is now universally known for his outstanding comedic performances in movies such as Dumb and Dumber, Ace Ventura, and Me, Myself and Irene. His glowing sketches on the hit 90s show In Living Colour. But did you know that Carrey got his start as a stand up?
3. John Candy was born in New Market as well Candy met a tragic early death in 1994 at the age of 43. In such a short span of time Candy he managed to be a major player on the sketch show SCTV, had a string of blockbuster comedies including, Planes, Trains and Automobiles, Uncle Buck, Stripes, Canadian Bacon and Spaceballs just to name a few. It seemed every great in the business wanted to work with Candy–and it’s easy to see why. Not only was he a performer with instant likability but he had a kindness to his demeanour that to this day remains unmatched in Canadian comedy. A candid home interview shows that side of Candy here.
4. Martin Short was born in Hamilton, Ontario. This funny man was on the cast of the infamous SCTV too. Martin Short is best known for his explosive performances and his original characters like Jiminy Glick. He is now 69 years of age and still tours extensively alongside his longtime comedy companion Steve Martin. A recent guest appearance on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon shows that after all these years, he’s still got it.
5. Leslie Nielsen, born in Regina, Saskatchewan, Nielsen got his start as a dramatic actor in film and television in the 50s through to the 70s before making the leap over to comedy in the 1980s. He seemed to bring that classic dramatic deadpan style to the comedic stage with hit film series such as Airplane and the The Naked Gun trilogy. He was even introduced to a new generation of comedy lovers with his appearances in the Wayne brothers’ Scary Movie series. Here is a classic clip of Nielsen’s dry wit at work.
6. Cathy Jones was born in St. John’s, Newfoundland. She is one of the original cast members of Canada’s longest running comedy show ever, This Hour Has 22 Minutes. She is also the only cast member to be present for every single season since its initial airing back in 1992. What makes Jones so special is the versatility of her characters. She can play young, old, man or woman, with ease. Here is her demo reel to showcase just how dynamic of a performer she continues to be.
7. Mike Myers was born in Scarborough, Ontario. This guy has many feats to boast about from his time on City Limits, Second City and SNL. City Limits is actually where a young Myers first began crafting the infamous Wayne of Wayne’s World. SNL is where he honed is and on the silver screen he perfected it. Austin Powers was box office and gold and Myers showcased his dramatic skills with such films as Studio 54 and a sublime cameo in Tarantino’s Inglorious Basterds. Let’s take a look at another one of Myer’s many characters in this 1993 SNL sketch.