Tag Archives: Miguel Rivas

The Beaverton skewers Canada’s federal election in a new CTV special

The politicians are on the campaign trail, struggling mightily to win your vote. That means long days and nights, crisscrossing the country. It’s an ambitious and deeply tiring schedule. Equally exhausting? Covering it.

That’s what the folks at The Beaverton aim to do. Airing Friday at 8 p.m. ET on CTV, the one-hour special The Beaverton Mocks the Vote puts the federal political leaders in their crosshairs as co-anchors Emma Hunter and Miguel Rivas skewer every step the political parties have taken since the election was called.

We spoke to the pair about what viewers can expect when they tune in to The Beaverton Mocks the Vote.

How much planning has been going into this? Is this a typical writer’s room where you are getting together on the week and figuring stuff out as you work towards the 18th?
Emma Hunter: We are preparing the skeletal outlines for what things could be with a couple of variations, depending on if it goes right or left. We always think we prepare ourselves to have a full, calm day on set and it is always a madhouse. [Co-creator] Luke Gordon Field hasn’t showered, [co-creator] Jeff Detsky is sweaty, somebody’s throwing a muffin and there are a hundred coffees. It’s just chaos in the best way. So I think it will be that. I anticipate that the two days before the taping will just be absolute chaos, but it’s sort of a sick, pleasurable chaos.

Miguel Rivas: We can only write the most relevant stuff as the election is approaching. We’ve already been together for weeks, full time just starting to write other pieces and stuff because it’s going to be a full hour. We’re going to explore lots of elements of the election. So it’s not all necessarily timely related to news that breaks. There are bigger stories that we can dive into in the timeframe.

Anything that you can talk about? 
MR: We’re really excited about what’s going to frame the election and that we’ve already had something big break. The brownface scandal is obviously ongoing, unfortunately, due to Trudeau’s comments and the nature of the fact that it’s time to discuss the harmfulness of brownface and blackface again. That’s the nature of race and immigration and obviously all the candidates mainly from the Conservatives, but also from the Liberals and NDP who’ve been exposed for having said other racist stuff in the past on Twitter. So, we’re taking a huge look at how we identify as Canadians and how it relates to race and stuff.

This election campaign has seemed to be a lot more mean-spirited than in the past. Do you attribute that to what’s going on in the States? 
MR: Yeah, for sure. I think everything we do is affected by the U.S., but the global climate, in general, is one of harshness, shall we say. And yeah, I do think that there’s a tenor that comes with that and I think elections are kind of being redefined in people’s minds what they mean. And personal figures have always been important, but they seem to become so much more important. The symbolic member of the party, Justin Trudeau, Scheer, Trump, whoever, and the cult of personality that builds up around them … I think the nature of that starts to lean into personal attacks rather than discussions of policy. I think many people, if not most people, would consider the biggest issue facing Canada in the world is climate change. And every party has now sort of waded into the waters of talking about climate change, but it still feels like secondary or even third or fourth or fifth in line to issues of is this guy a racist or is that person nice to me?

EH: It’s exhausting and it’s disappointing and I think this brownface thing just left everybody with just this sort of exhalation of like, ‘Really? Really?‘ And I think the way everybody handled it was to be expected, trying to capitalize on it and use it and it was such an easy thing to do. Of course, they would. So it’s just cutthroat out there. It is such a specific thing to want to do with your life, to put every moment that’s potentially vulnerable out there for the rest of the parties to feed on. I have no idea why they do it. I hope the motivation is to make change for a better world, but something inside tells me it’s usually more than that.

The Beaverton Mocks the Vote airs Friday at 8 p.m. ET on CTV.

Image courtesy of Bell Media.


The Beaverton website heads to The Comedy Network for TV

Regardless of who the next President of the United States is, The Beaverton has got it covered. The televised adaptation of the satirical website The Beaverton debuts Wednesday night on The Comedy Network with two possible lead stories. In one? The end of the world. The other? Bill Clinton is the First Husband. [Update: Armageddon it is.]

We were one of the over 100 sitting in the audience watching The Beaverton record its second-to-last Season 1 episode last week and it made for a fun night. Each of the 13 episodes finds anchors Emma Hunter (Mr. D) and Miguel Rivas (Meet the Family) and correspondents in news reporter Aisha Alfa, provocateur Donavon Stinson, financial correspondent Laura Cilevitz and foreign correspondent Marilla Wex skewering world topics.

Co-created by Luke Gordon Field and Jeff Detsky as well as website editors Jacob Duarte Spiel and Alexander Saxton, Pier 21’s Lazlo Barna and Melissa Williamson are executive producers.

“TV was always the dream,” Field says of creating an offshoot of the website for television. “I grew up on satirical television shows like The Daily Show … they were always my favourite shows. When I started writing political satire comedy, it was always in the back of my mind that it would be fun to create a TV show. I didn’t know that The Beaverton was ever going to have that opportunity and wasn’t working towards it. We were just building our name.”

Enter Detsky (Orphan Black), who noticed his Facebook friends were posting Beaverton stories on their news feeds. He immediately recognized the unique voice the site had and its reach (more than six million views in 2016) and knew it was a natural transition to television. Production on Season 1 happened in a nondescript warehouse shared by a church and the upcoming Top Chef Canada All-Stars, with Field, Detsky and 16 writers—most recently Kurt Smeaton, Scott Montgomery and Rupinder Gill—creating, doing table reads, punching up scripts and filming external bits in the week leading up to Thursday night tapings and production that has been rolling since late spring.

This is not The Daily Show. The Beaverton isn’t reacting to what happened in America, Canada or globally the day before. That, Field says, forces them to create original content not necessarily based on a headline. That frees the team up to cover stories that are always on the peripheral, like the Loonie, at a 20-year low, being swapped out in favour of Canadian Tire money.

And while Hunter and Rivas have extensive experience in sketch comedy writing, neither contribute to The Beaverton room. Instead, they’ve focused on delivering the stories and creating their on-screen personas. Rivas is buttoned-up and stiff, so unlike his actual personality, and Hunter is arrogant and braggy, totally opposite her self-deprecating humour when cameras aren’t rolling.

“We both approached it as, ‘What would make the best dynamic behind the desk and what’s original?'” Hunter explains. “Stereotypically, the story is the guy is a goof and super-funny and the girl checks him. This organic thing happened [between us] from the audition where we had this wonderful rhythm of give and take of being the straight man or having a moment and the characters evolved from there.”

“As a man, I agree with everything she just said,” Rivas says with a laugh.

The Beaverton airs Wednesdays at 10:30 p.m. ET/PT on The Comedy Network.

Image via Bell Media.