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Canada’s Currency of Comedy

Canada is known worldwide for many things: the prevalence of igloos, the importance of maple syrup, and comedy. If every other stereotype about us is wrong, everyone knows how our country pumps out comedic talent like a well-oiled, quick-witted machine. Well maybe not everyone knows; you’ll often hear the surprise in the voices of Americans when they first discover that someone like Jim Carrey called Canada home. Of course, the Canadian in the room takes pride in the fact that one of the best there is comes from Canada and speaks about him as if they’re his relative. It speaks to the comradery of Canadians; we’re all just one big family of 38 million.   

So many comedic icons come from Canada: Martin Short, Mike Meyers, Catherine O’Hara, Eugene Levy, Norm Macdonald, Seth Rogen, and Ryan Reynolds, to name just a few. Not to mention the hilarious shows that were created HERE: Schitt’s Creek, Trailer Park Boys, Corner Gas, SCTV, The Kids in the Hall, and Mr. D, among other series that help give Canada such a beloved reputation in the comedy world.  

So what is it about Canada that breeds such funny people? Is it the fact that five months of the year are unbearably cold so the only options are to laugh or cry and our tears would freeze so we just go with laughing? Is it the self deprecative nature of Canadians, always being the first ones to mock ourselves? Or maybe it’s the fact that so many Canadians have British descent. The British sense of humour is known for its sarcasm and dryness, contributing to a unique genre of humour full of parody. With British and American influences, Canadian humour is the perfect combination of satire and self-deprecation.  

One of the many great things about having the privilege of calling Canada home is that we are privy to the happenings of America, while still having the ability to say “I’m Canadian” at the end of the day. We are quiet observers of American culture, allowing us to then take that culture and joke about it. Take This Hour Has 22 Minutes as an example: many of the sketches within this show are written around poking fun at American pop culture and politics.  

Canada’s relationship with the U.S. is quite comical in itself. We’re like America’s little brother, sitting on the sidelines while America plays in the big game of global affairs. What we lack in population, we make up for in charm and wit. If America is getting too chaotic, the world can look to Canada for a less abrasive, more sustaining experience.  

I don’t mind the false stereotypes that Canadians often get mocked for in other countries. As long as our country’s collective comedic greatness is appreciated, I’ll put maple syrup in my Double Double as I skate back home to my igloo (just remember that Jim Carrey’s from here, okay?). 

Sarah is a freshman at the University of Guelph studying Family Studies & Human Development, with a minor in Media & Cinema Studies. She enjoys photography, music, writing, tv & film, and is an avid fan of music created decades before she was.
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