Category Archives: TGIF



The Daily Show responds to Rick Perry’s debate meltdown with “joy boners.”

UPDATE: The link above has unfortunately gone dead. However, you can find the bit in Canada here, and everywhere else here. You shouldn’t need to search beyond the direct link, but if you do you are looking for the opening segment of the Thursday, November 10th show. If you haven’t seen it already, it is very funny. Stewart is always especially good at bringing satire into pristine focus when it comes smack up against the delusional vanity and incompetence of politicians. Small victories for comedy, therefore, can result in joy boners, as they probably should.


“Spence’s Republic”

The NFB has always displayed a typically self-deprecating Canadian sense of humor. American history is world-shaping stuff and is to be rendered chin up. Canadian history, not so much. This is one of a handful of historical vignettes that sardonically reminds us that, for all our good fortune, we didn’t have to work all that hard for it and we’d be wrong to romantisize it too much.

TGIF: “The Big Snit”

The Big Snit” may be the most famous animated short by the NFB’s Richard Condie. It was nominated for an Academy Award in 1985, one of the last NFB animated shorts to draw enough attention to be widely seen. It remains a favorite among animators.

In 1980’s “Across the River and Out of the Trees,” Frye considers the effects of mass media upon Canadian broadcasting culture. It is a remarkably optimistic outlook all told, even though the cost to Canadian institutions like the NFB has been high.

But there were difficulties that the coming of television made painfully obvious. These three new media, film, radio, and television, are mass media, and consequently follow the centrifugal and imperial rhythms of politics and economics more readily than the regionalizing rhythms of culture. This was not too crucial a problem for CBC radio, though it was certainly there, but the NFB had to struggle with problems of distribution created by the fact that movie houses had been monopolized by American syndicates. I remember a Spring Thaw skit which was a takeoff of an NFB film, ending with the line “on view in your local Sunday-School basement.” (CW 12, 561)

TGIF: “Special Delivery”

Here’s “Special Delivery” from the National Film Board of Canada. It won an Academy Award in 1978, which NFB shorts regularly did. Seeing this is like getting a glimpse of a Canada that has just about disappeared over the horizon. The NFB is a shadow of its former self, overtaken by events and the critical mass of mass culture. This cartoon short is a reminder that, at least until recently, we were readily able to tap into the whimsically sly element in our national character. Not that we ever made a big deal about it.

TGIF: Jack Layton on “22 Minutes”

A compilation of Jack Layton’s appearances over the years on This Hour Has 22 Minutes.

For non-Canadians, a couple of cues. First, the title of the show, This Hour Has 22 Minutes, is a Canadian in-joke that is so convoluted that it’d be too tedious to relate. Suffice to say, it’s our joke, we share it, we get it.

Second, and most importantly, 22 Minutes is primarily a Newfoundland thing, and that really matters. No other place like it, certainly not in Canada. Their humor is much more like British humor: broad, knockabout, profane, with a bit of a cruel streak. (Cast member Mary Walsh once so publicly humiliated Prince Philip in an improvised routine at a news conference that I still cringe to think about it.) Keep that in mind. Note also that Jack gets more comfortable with the whole thing with each appearance.

TGIF: “Mom Jeans”

In a recent column in The New Yorker, Susan Orlean wondered “why mom jeans?” She can provide the why. The how and the when, however, come, once again, from SNL, and the familiar cohort of Tina Fey, Amy Poehler, Maya Rudolph and Rachel Dratch.

TGIF: Comedians Say What We’re All Thinking

Jon Stewart takes on homophobic presidential candidate Michelle (“Gays are a part of Satan”) Bachmann’s equally homophobic husband, Marcus Bachmann, who runs a “clinic” to help “pray the gay away” but leaves the impression that he protests a little too much. It is a pattern that is familiar enough by now: closeted men on the Christian right who repress their sexuality, which then manifests as hostility toward openly gay people — including efforts to “cure” them through Bible-based “reparation therapy.”

In a nice meta-comical turn, Stewart recruits Jerry Seinfeld to counsel him on how to repress his urges to make jokes about a man who may be repressing urges of his own.

You can watch the video here.

Gay activist and author Dan Savage provides some perspective:

Straight people haven’t just gotten used to gay people—to openly gay people—they’ve come to the realization that they prefer openly gay people to lying closet cases. They would rather have a beer with an honest Cam than a glass of champagne with a lying Liberace. And that’s why Marcus Bachmann is being ridiculed: it’s not because he’s perceived to be gay—it’s not because he pings on everyone’s gaydar save Michele’s—it’s because he’s perceived to be dishonest. He appears to be a lying closet case, a lying closet case who’s made convincing other gay people to join him in the closet his life’s work. And straight people don’t like being lied to.

The reason for the links above relating to the implications of homophobia, by the way, is that the response on the right has been to dismiss all of this as stereotyping. However, home truths about homophobia turn out to have both a public record and a scientific basis.