CBC Program Guide

Don Ferguson

Don Ferguson

Don Ferguson is featured in the following program(s):

Don Ferguson graduated from Montreal's Loyola College with an Honours English degree, then worked in radio and as an audio-visual producer and photographer until he discovered that comedy writing and performing was more fun. Don has written and directed documentary programs for CBC Television, a science-fiction series for radio, a political farce for the stage (Skin Deep) and a stage drama about the ill-fated World War II raid on the French port of Dieppe. Don is a popular after-dinner entertainer, and a keen sailor. His most famous Air Farce characters are Lucien Bouchard, Preston Manning, the Chicken Cannon's Col. Stacy, Mike Harris, Bill Clinton, and former prime ministers Brian Mulroney, Pierre Trudeau and Joe Clark.

Birth place: Montreal

Birthday: May 30

Star Sign: Gemini

Lived in: Toronto, Rome

Reason for becoming a performer:

When the Jest Society moved from Montreal to Toronto, I was hired to photograph the group. I hung around backstage and got to know their routines. Patrick Conlon decided that he didn't want to live in Toronto and was replaced briefly by Steve Whistance-Smith, and then when Steve left, the group needed someone who knew the material. I stepped in, but I never set out to be an actor. I was always too shy.

Favourite Air Farce characters:

I like whichever ones are currently getting the biggest laughs.

Favourite Air Farce sketches: It's fun doing anything with singing in it – Mike the Knife, or Preston Manning doing the dance from Risky Business.

Biggest challenge on Air Farce:

It's such a grind, so it's important not to get worn out. It's essential to take a mid-winter break, and to spend time away from each other in the summer, so that we're glad to see each other again in the fall. I use that time to catch up on reading newspapers and books, and seeing movies... all the things that are part of a normal life.

Highlight of working on Air Farce:

We were doing a radio show in Regina one year in the dead of winter, and were introduced to a family who had driven 700 miles just to see us. I said to (then radio producer) Johnny Dalton, "If I ever think about quitting, remind me about this moment." Doing the TV show has been another highlight. It was like being reborn. The sheer audience numbers (averaging 1.4 million viewers), an entirely different audience than we have on radio, being recognized on the street, working with a production team that can do anything – it’s a whole new sandbox to play in!

Who makes you laugh?

The Larry Sanders Show, Steven Wright, Steve Martin, Chevy Chase (not his movies but when he hosts things) and Jim Carrey because he's so outrageous.

Your attitude towards being politically correct:

It's the antithesis of comedy, but one of the joys of being in comedy is we don't have to be p.c. Actually, it gives you a bit of an edge, because there's more ways to surprise people. There's so many rules now about what's politically correct and incorrect that there are more opportunities to break the rules.

Who was the major influence on your career as a Performer?

The other people in Air Farce. I've worked with them for 25 years.

What did you want to be when you were in school?

I always wanted to be a writer.

What was your least favourite subject in school?

Math.

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