Son of a Critch! New CBC Comedy series based on Mark Critch book coming soon

Published in 2018, 'Son of a Critch' tells the story of Critch's life growing up in NL.

Published in 2018, 'Son of a Critch' tells the story of Critch's life growing up in NL.

(Mark Critch (Twitter)/Halifax Comedy Festival)

Growing up in the 1980s in St. John's, Newfoundland, Mark Critch used to think he had a "weird" house. 

It was full of seniors, physically removed from society, four miles from anything, just off the Trans Canada highway, and his father worked at a radio station on their property. 

Critch wrote about his experiences in the book Son of a Critch, which CBC has announced will be adapted into a new comedy series, along with the debut of previously announced series Strays and, and returning favourites Workin' Moms, 22 Minutes and more.

Mark Critch is a comedian and author from St. John's. (Penguin, Aaron McKenzie Fraser)

Critch, who is well known to CBC audiences for his work on This Hour has 22 Minutes and the Ha!ifax ComedyFest, now realizes his upbringing was "unique."

"We didn't have a lot of money growing up," says Critch, "My inheritance is the wonderful stories my parents gave to share. I feel like I'm spending it wisely." 

Expected to premiere this winter, and co-created with Montreal-born Tim McAuliffe, whose previous credits include writing for Late Night with Jimmy Fallon, The Last Man on Earth and The Office, Son of a Critch promises to be a heartfelt window into the life of a child using comedy and self-deprecation to win friends and deal with bullying.

Comedy kid: Critch in Grade 1, and Grade 8. (Submitted)

Growing up with older parents made Critch older than his years, and he was bullied relentlessly for being out-of-touch.

When Critch was in 5th grade, he was selected to play the cello, and it wasn't because of his musical skill. 

"It was simply because I, as a husky child, was big enough to carry it. I don't know if you've tried to run away from bullies while carrying a cello but it's not easy." 

The only kid who was being bullied as much as Mark was Ritche Perez, a young Filipino boy who was constantly harassed for being "Chinese". He and his sister Karmela were the only people of colour in school. 

Critch saw that Ritche was in the same boat as him and formed a quick friendship, linked by their mutual alienation. Ritche is now a creative consultant on Son of a Critch and will help bring the story to life.

(Chris Smith)

Overall, Critch says adapting his life and stories to a comedy TV series has been "wonderful".

"Mom and Dad are both gone now but I can hear their voices as I type," says Critch. 

"They've become characters and those characters have a life of their own, but their essence is in there."

Son of a Critch will go into production this summer in St. John's, Newfoundland. 

Six other new CBC comedy series, and favourites returning

CBC has also announced three other new original comedy series on the way, and three new short-form digital comedy series. 

The Kim's Convenience spin-off Strays, premiering September 14, follows Shannon Ross (Nicole Power) to Hamilton, Ontario for her new job managing an animal shelter. Known for being cat-obsessed on Kim's, Shannon's trademark positivity is put to the test with her new oddball team, new relationships, and family (played by Nikki Duval, Frank Cox O'Connell, Tina Jung and Tony Nappo). 

Sort Of, the coming-of-age story of gender-fluid millennial Sabi Mehboob (Bilal Baig), is premiering on October 5 exclusively on CBC Gem, and then debuting on CBC Television on November 9. Sabi is a "sexy bartender" at an LGBTQ bookstore/bar and youngest child in a large Pakistani family, who becomes a de facto parent of the kids they nanny after their mom has a serious bike accident. When Sabi's best friend 7ven (Amanda Cordner) presents them with an opportunity to live and find themself in the "queerest place in the galaxy," Sabi instead makes the decision to stay and care for the kids. Do they regret it? Sort of. 

This winter we'll see Andrew Phung (Kim's Convenience) starring as a stay-at-home dad with an entrepreneur wife and two kids in Run The Burbs. It follows the "young, bold Canadian family taking a different approach to living life to the fullest in the suburbs."

Frick I Love Nature is a new short-form comedy/nature show hosted by Edmonton-based Filipino Canadian comedian Gordie Lucius. The show uses interviews with experts, beautiful scenery and stellar nature facts to educate and entertain.

Revenge Of The Black Best Friend follows Dr. Toni Shakur, a self-help guru whose singular mission is to cancel the entertainment industry's reliance on token Black characters… before she gets canceled herself. It is co-written and co-created by CBC's Amanda Parris. 

Created and written by Aden Abebe, virgins! follows four 20-something year-old women (and virgins) who are too modest for the big city and too provocative for the African homes they come from, awkwardly navigating adulthood and relationships while dodging the all-seeing aunties along the way.

New Seasons

You can also look forward to a new season of This Hour Has 22 Minutes coming September 14, featuring new cast member Aba Amuquandoh, as well as returning favourites TallBoyz, Workin' Moms, and dramedy Pretty Hard Cases coming this winter. Energetic, short-form original comedy series Next Stop is returning on CBC Gem with richly visual and hilarious vignettes of Black Toronto "yutes", and True Dating Stories is back with reenactments of the greatest real dating stories ever.