Everything about Still Standing, eh?

CBC’s Still Standing kicks off Season 3 in Fort McMurray

It isn’t within Still Standing‘s guidelines to visit a place like Fort McMurray. After all, one of the stand-up/documentary hybrid’s keystones is to visit small communities across the country and Fort McMurray’s population is over 61,000. But the other rule is to focus on an area hit by hard times, and you don’t get much harder hit than the Alberta town which saw much of its area consumed by wildfires.

Returning with two back-to-back episodes on Tuesday at 8 p.m. on CBC, Harris and his crew stop in Fort McMurray during the first half-hour before jetting to Bell Island, Nfld, for the second instalment.

“We thought the story [in Fort McMurray] was so compelling and important that, with the one-year anniversary of the evacuation coming up [for filming], it was a story we could tell,” Harris told us during CBC’s upfront media day. Harris, his writers and producers spent several days in the area, interacting with folks and preparing original standup material to be performed for the community. Rewatching video of the events of May 3, 2016, brings the seriousness of the situation to light. It’s not, you’d think, something folks would want to laugh about. But they do, whether it’s at Harris’ suggestion some folks’ sins brought hell upon them or his own admission he’d freak out during an emergency.

But the episode is as much about joking about the situation as it is about the little triumphs and “disasterhood.” People offered up food, clothing, water and rooms to those affected by the conflagration. And, over a year later, the community is rebuilding, burgeoning and offering surprises.

“I was amazed by how multicultural it is there,” he Harris says. “I’ve met people from every corner of the globe in Fort McMurray and it doesn’t have that rough and tumble, work camp sort of feel. It’s got great restaurants and a healthier art scene than you might expect.”

The mark of a community getting back on its feet.

Still Standing airs Tuesdays at 8 p.m. on CBC.


CBC renews Still Standing and Baroness von Sketch Show

From a media release:

CBC today announced the renewal of its acclaimed original series STILL STANDING and BARONESS VON SKETCH SHOW. Starring comedian Jonny Harris and winner of the 2016 Canadian Screen Award for Best Factual Series, STILL STANDING has been renewed for a third season (13 x 30). Production is currently underway. All-female sketch comedy series BARONESS VON SKETCH SHOW (6 x 30), which made its debut in June, has been renewed for season 2 (7 x 30) and will begin production this fall. Produced by Frantic Films in association with CBC, both series will return with new seasons in 2017.

STILL STANDING – Season 2 continues with all-new episodes Tuesdays at 9 p.m. (9:30 NT)
STILL STANDING follows Canadian comedian Jonny Harris (Murdoch Mysteries) as he explores the country, veering off the main highway to discover the hidden comedy in Canada’s far-flung small towns. Each week, Jonny takes a hilarious and heart-warming journey to find humour in the unlikeliest of places — small towns on the ropes. After immersing himself in the lives of local characters and unearthing the tall tales in these tiny towns, Jonny delivers a rousing original stand-up comedy routine — a toast, not a roast — for the whole community. Upcoming episodes include a visit to Canada’s most northerly mosque in Inuvik, Northwest Territories, sharp-shooting with a former Olympian in Omemee, Ontario, and welcoming a recently-arrived Syrian family in Mabou, Nova Scotia.


BARONESS VON SKETCH SHOW – Season 1 finale airs tonight, Tuesday, July 19 at 9:30 p.m. (10 NT)
BARONESS VON SKETCH SHOW is an all-female, single-camera sketch comedy series that takes a fresh look at the world’s narcissistic contemporary culture. Fast-paced and irreverent, the series celebrates the absurd, mines the embarrassing and satirizes daily lives. Drawing on 15 years of comedy experience and multiple collaborations, the award-winning, talented team of Carolyn Taylor, Meredith MacNeill, Aurora Browne and Jennifer Whalen are the writers, stars and executive producers.


Still Standing celebrates more Canadian small towns in Season 2

Jonny Harris is back with Still Standing, celebrating small-town Canada with big laughs. Returning Tuesday with what’s quickly becoming a summer staple for CBC, the likable Harris sheds his Constable Crabtree duds and spikes his hair to hit the road, shining a spotlight on communities of folks ekeing out a living in the place they call home.

Tuesday’s return finds the young Newfoundlander in British Columbia, where the 800 citizens of Skidegate are struggling to keep their Haida culture intact amid a history of boom and bust.

Shop owner Rose Russ discusses the local artisans, tourism and an economy that once did well thanks to fishing and logging; Haida elder Diane Brown gives a history of the area and reveals she is one of a mere handful who still know their ancient language; and Jags tells of the once-thriving community of Skedans that was decimated by smallpox.

As with Season 1, Harris successfully tells the history of the community he’s visiting without a hint of malice. He’s there to point out the hard and good times, but there’s no meanness in his comedy. There are references to Europeans arriving in the area and promptly stealing totem poles (“How are you going to show that off to your friends and not look like a complete a-hole?”). And it’s not all bad news in Skidegate: Ben Davidson is a renowned local artist creating Haidi works, a heritage centre promises to educate the youth on their history and language and the Skidegate Saints kick butt on the basketball court.

Upcoming stops in Still Standing‘s season include Omemee, Ont., Inuvik, NWT., and Georgetown, PEI.

Still Standing airs Tuesdays at 9 p.m. on CBC.


Comments and queries for the week of May 20

CBC unveils its 2016 summer schedule

It’s a good schedule, but I was hoping for a second run of This Life. Also, the upcoming drama Shoot the Messenger was previously announced as a summer show but it didn’t make the cut. I will watch Still Standing and When Calls the Heart, plus I will check out Four in the Morning and Baroness Von Sketch Show. —Alicia O

Murdoch Mysteries‘ Season 9 and what’s to come in Season 10

I LOVE, and repeatedly re-watch, every episode of all nine seasons! Great entertainment! Amazing cast! Extremely creative plots! (Except there was just too much of the James Gillies character for me.) There is SO much fun in this show, even in some of the seemingly minor details! (Like Brackenreid’s barber—who gets rich by investing—being played on the show by the author of the best-selling book The Wealthy Barber!) But I do have one question: what about Terrence Meyers? I guess we are to assume his rocket ride was fatal, but sometimes I wonder. —LAL

Canada AM‘s Jeff Hutcheson announces retirement

The only reason we watch the show is because of Jeff’s calm, personable, subtle humour. He is a great presenter, announcer, weatherman and the best interviewer on the show. How will you replace that? All the best to him in his retirement. Our mornings will not be the same. —Elaine

Got a question or comment about Canadian TV? greg@tv-eh.com or via Twitter @tv_eh.