Entertainment

Fool Canada and Still Standing take aim at the nation's funny bone

There is a reason for the tired cliché that Canadians are nice. It's because it's true — according to two new comedies premiering on CBC Television on Tuesday.

Two new comedy series premiere Tuesday on CBC-TV starting at 9 p.m. (9:30 NT)

Comedian Will Sasso goes undercover to prank unsuspecting citizens in his new show, Fool Canada. The half-hour, hidden-camera show premieres on CBC-TV on Tuesday, before Jonny Harris's Still Standing. (Fool Canada/CBC)

There is a reason for the tired cliché that Canadians are nice. It's because it's true — at least if you judge the national demeanour by two new comedy series premiering this week on CBC Television.

Hosted by Will Sasso, Fool Canada is a weekly, half-hour social experiment that tests the patience of the people of this country, while hidden cameras observe.

"Essentially, it's an excuse for me to get up in goofy costumes," said Sasso, the former Mad TV star and B.C.-born comedian who goes undercover to prank unsuspecting victims.

You may have been an unwitting subject if you recently ran into:

  • A snapshot-obsessed eastern European tourist looking for the perfect pose
  • A sweet-talking British suitor desperate to find a Canadian wife
  • An eager entrepreneurial type peddling iceberg rides off the East Coast

"You see what you get out of people and where the conversation goes," explained Sasso, who says without the politeness of Canadians the show would be "dead."

"If you get ten seconds into a bit and the person is like 'Screw that!' and they don't talk to you, it doesn't work."

Humour from hardship 

Actor and comedian Jonny Harris also found an unsinkable quality in the Canadian spirit while filming his new TV show Still Standing.

Newfoundland-born comedian Jonny Harris hits the road searching for laughs in some of Canada's smallest towns in Still Standing. (CBC)
The weekly comedy program follows Harris on a cross-country comedy tour of small Canadian towns which are facing economic hard times.

"I go in and find out what keeps people there and what keeps them positive about the place," explains the Newfoundland-born comedian, who is best known for his role as Constable George Crabtree on Murdoch Mysteries.

After observing the townspeople for five days, Harris must put on a stand-up show based on what he's seen, testing the community's ability to laugh at themselves.

Harris says small town Canadians have a special sense of humour. "People in these towns are proud but not precious," he said.

"They have pride, but it's a humble pride, so they let me get up there and make fun of them."

People across the country can see if the new CBC shows will tickle their funny bones when they premiere Tuesday.

Fool Canada airs at 8:30 p.m. (9 NT) with Still Standing following at 9:30 pm (10 NT).

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