Tag Archives: This Hour Has 22 Minutes

Link: Shaun Majumder jumping ship from CBC’s This Hour Has 22 Minutes

From Bruce DeMara of the Toronto Star:

Link: Shaun Majumder jumping ship from CBC’s This Hour Has 22 Minutes
This Hour Has 22 Minutes, CBC’s long-running comedy show, is losing a key cast member with the departure of Shaun Majumder.

Majumder made the announcement on Saturday, on the final night of The Gathering, a three-day festival of food, comedy and music that he founded in his hometown of Burlington, N.L. Continue reading. 


Susan Kent sings the praises of This Hour Has 22 Minutes

For This Hour Has 22 Minutes, entering its 24th season tonight is astounding longevity. For Susan Kent, entering her fifth season as a full-time cast member is equally astounding.

Some of her favourite recent sketches are one of Mark Critch’s from last season inspired by the fact that a Breaking Bad writer is rebooting Anne of Green Gables for CBC, and the Heritage Minute spoofs by writer/comedian Adam Christie, including one where Kent’s little boy character got to name Winnie The Feces Bear.

“What a job,” she said. “It’s your dream as a performer to get a gig that’ll last a couple of months because that’ll give you time to hustle to get the next gig, so to have four solid years of work is a dream.” She breaks into song: “I cannot believe this is true.”

Kent breaks into song and voices sporadically, a funny and relaxed  performer even in an interview. The gig isn’t all fun and games, though. She describes the rapid-fire schedule of putting together the show, which starts on Tuesday morning with the first pitch meeting and ends on Monday night with a live taping in front of an audience.

By Wednesday evening they know what sketches they will shoot starting Thursday, and the art department and props get busy. “Oh dude, it’s crazy, and the only thing open is Walmart. You call in favours, make things yourself—we’re like MacGyvers on Wednesday night.”

Her boyfriend also works for the show, otherwise she says she would never see him. “It’s important to understand why your spouse is happily stressed out and won’t look you in the eye because they’re figuring out how they’re going to write that sketch or make that robot.”

This Hour Has 22 Minutes airs Tuesdays at 8:30 p.m. on CBC.


The 22 Minutes Holiday Special makes mincemeat of traditions

From a media release:

Holiday shopping got you down? Sick of cheesy decorations and annoying Christmas carols? We’ll take your mind off that on Dec. 8 with The 22 Minutes Holiday Special.

In Holiday Yoga, fan favourite the Yoga Lady (Cathy Jones) muses rather angrily about gifts, family, weight gain and expenses.

In Holiday Tips from The Chief, Susan Kent returns as the cynical gunslinger; while in Last-Minute Shopper, Mark Critch and Shaun Majumder are desperate shoppers whose “mortal enemy is the elderly lotto enthusiast whose sole purpose is time suckage.”

The 22 Minutes Holiday Special also features the ever-popular Mrs. Enid, Hipster Chef, and Agnes from Newfoundland, along with hilarious newbies including Method Santa, Crazy Jeff the Weatherman, and Heroes of the Holidays. In No Room at the Inn, the Nativity story gets a surprisingly fresh re-make, with Joseph, Mary and the three Wise Men comparing travel and accommodations.

The hour-long television event even reveals … the return of the Quinlan Quints, with special guest Mary Walsh. With holiday greetings from 15 mayors across Canada – from Fredericton to Toronto to Calgary and Whitehorse – the holiday special airs Dec. 8 at 8:00 p.m. / 8:30 p.m. NT on CBC Television.

This Hour Has 22 Minutes, now in its 23rd season, continues its provocative satire, targeting politics, culture and world events. It remains one of Canada’s best-known and top-rated comedy shows. It has won numerous awards, including most recently four 2015 Canadian Comedy Awards, including Best TV Show (Season 22). In addition, it was recently announced that 22 Minutes will be honoured with the Academy Icon Award, to be presented during the Canadian Screen Awards in March.

The cast will be seen next on Dec. 31, with 22 Minutes Counts Down to Midnight, a New Year’s Eve special on CBC-TV. A highlights show airs Jan. 5, 2016, with regular episodes resuming on Jan. 12.


Academy announces Canadian Screen Award special award winners

From a media release:

The Academy of Canadian Cinema & Television is pleased to announce six Academy Special Award winners for the 2016 CANADIAN SCREEN AWARDS: Ivan Fecan, This Hour Has 22 Minutes, Ana Serrano, Mark Starowicz, Karen Walton and the Performing Arts Lodges (PAL Canada).

Academy Board of Directors’ Tribute: Ivan Fecan
Ivan Fecan has been in the media industry over 40 years. Beginning at CBC Radio, he produced Quirks and Quarks, then went to Citytv, co-creating CityPulse News. In the 80’s, legendary NBC programmer Brandon Tartikoff recruited Ivan as VP Creative Affairs where he was the executive on such shows as SNL. Returning to Canada as Director of CBC TV Programming, then VP of English Television, he greenlit such programs as Kids in the Hall, Degrassi Junior High, Codco, This Hour has 22 Minutes, Air Farce, Road to Avonlea, Love and Hate, The Boys of St Vincent. In the 90’s, he became CEO of Baton Broadcasting (renamed CTVglobemedia). He acquired CTV, launched Sportsnet and the Comedy Network among others, bought TSN/RDS, Discovery, CP24, MuchMusic, Bravo, E!, and Space, won the rights for the Vancouver Olympics, overseeing the broadcasts. He greenlit Corner Gas, Flashpoint, Canadian Idol. Under his watch, CTV dominated the top 20. Currently Ivan is Executive Chair of Thunderbird Films, which is comprised of multiple production and distribution companies. Ivan, with his wife Sandra, are philanthropists who believe in giving back to the arts, making major gifts to York University’s Faculty of Fine Arts, the National Ballet, the AGO, the National Ballet School, and the Soulpepper Theatre Company, among others.

Academy Icon Award: This Hour Has 22 Minutes
This Hour Has 22 Minutes is an acclaimed, provocative Canadian satirical sketch/variety show that skewers politics, culture and world events. No story is off limits, and no personality too big for dynamic cast members Mark Critch, Cathy Jones, Shaun Majumder and Susan Kent to tackle. Politicians and celebrities frequently make guest appearances, some willingly … some not. Produced by DHX Media, 22 Minutes is currently in its 23rd season on CBC, and continues to be one of Canada’s best-known and top-rated comedy shows.

Digital Media Trailblazing Award Sponsored by the Ontario Media Development Corporation (OMDC): Ana Serrano
Ana Serrano is the Chief Digital Officer of the Canadian Film Centre and Founder of CFC Media Lab, the world-renowned and award-winning institute for interactive storytelling created in 1997. Serrano is driving the digital transformation of the CFC into a unique blend of talent, product and company accelerator and creative production house. Most recently, she launched Canada’s first digital entertainment accelerator IDEABOOST with founding partners Shaw Media and Corus Entertainment. To date, Ana has directed the development of over 130 digital media projects, mentored over 50 start-ups, and has received numerous awards from the digital media, film, and theatre industries in both Canada and the U.S., including a DigiAward for Visionary of the Year, a Best Canadian Feature Film Award from the International Reel Asian Film Festival for her own transmedia production Prison Dancer: the Musical, and a Jim Blackaby Ingenuity Award for Body/Mind/Change.

Gordon Sinclair Award for Broadcast Journalism: Mark Starowicz
“There’s a persistent idea that Canadians aren’t interested in their own stories,” Mark Starowicz once said. “I’ve made a living proving that isn’t true.” The ultimate expression of Starowicz’s passion for Canadian history and culture is the 30-hour CBC documentary series Canada: A People’s History (2000-01), which he created and executive produced. It attracted over 14 million viewers and won three Gemini Awards. Mark Starowicz was raised in Montreal and graduated from McGill University with a Bachelor of Arts in History. He began his career in newspaper journalism, then joined CBC Radio in 1970, where he received particular acclaim for his reworking of As It Happens and his creation of Sunday Morning, a three-hour weekend review. In 1979, he joined CBC Television, where he was the architect and executive producer of the hugely successful current affairs and documentary program The Journal (1982-92). As Executive Producer of CBC’s Documentary Production Unit and later executive director of documentary programming, he oversaw The Greatest Canadian (2004), Hockey: A People’s History (2006), 8th Fire (2012), and a decade of acclaimed independent productions. Starowicz is an Officer of the Order of Canada, and has won the Canadian Journalism Foundation Lifetime Achievement Award, a Governor General’s Performing Arts Award, nine Gemini Awards and one Prix Gémeaux.

Margaret Collier Award (for Writing): Karen Walton
Karen Walton is an award-winning screenwriter and creative producer whose credits span an eclectic array of popular, critically-acclaimed and/or ground-breaking film and television works. To film lovers, she’s the sardonic scribe behind the international cult horror classic, Ginger Snaps. In television, she’s been in the earliest writing rooms for game-changing series such as gay culture classic Queer As Folk, and science fiction sensation Orphan Black. A graduate of the Canadian Film Centre’s Film and TV Writing programs, her other credits include the Gemini awarding-winning Mow script for the true rape-culture saga, The Many Trials Of One Jane Doe, biopic Heart: The Marilyn Bell Story and six other original drama series, Flashpoint, The Eleventh Hour, and The Listener among them. Her unique voice and dedication to social change through innovative content has won Karen a Canadian Comedy Award, a special jury citation from the Toronto International Film Festival, Canadian Screen Awards for Best Dramatic Series, and the Writers Guild of Canada’s Writers Block Award for outstanding contribution to the national screenwriting community. Born in Nova Scotia, 2016 marks Karen’s 22nd year living and writing in Toronto.

Humanitarian Award: Performing Arts Lodges (PAL Canada)
PAL Canada Foundation is a national charitable organization whose mandate is to create and encourage programs and services for senior and disadvantaged members and associates of Canada’s professional artists’ community, in the areas of affordable accommodation and overall well-being. PAL Canada Foundation supports 8 individual PAL chapters across the country: Halifax, Ottawa, Toronto, Stratford, Winnipeg, Edmonton, Calgary, and Vancouver. Each PAL chapter has its own unique requirements, which are defined by the needs of their local community. Depending on the chapter, the focus may be to provide and sustain quality affordable housing for seniors and/or challenged individuals within their professional and performing arts community. Alternatively, some chapters may not require accommodations, but do need support for their members. This support typically takes the form of a volunteer-driven team known as “Supporting Cast”, a group of volunteers who offer personal assistance to PAL members so that they can continue to lead independent lives in their own homes. These services may include assistance in dealing with community agencies and health care providers, rides to medical appointments or running errands. Supporting Cast also offers companionship and checks in with members who are on their own. Some chapters also organize group activities.


Interview: Susan Kent talks 22 Minutes and metal music

Who knew Susan Kent was a metal head? I certainly didn’t when she and I started to chat about the 22nd anniversary of This Hour Has 22 Minutes. That was just part of our conversation about the behind-the-scenes preparation that goes on during a whirlwind week on the set of the veteran CBC parody program.

The Corner Brook, Newfoundland, native describes a collaborative writing squad that churns out a shocking amount of content that never sees the light of day and the breakneck speed needed to create a skit like last week’s parody of Meghan Trainor’s “All About that Bass,” repurposed as a PC attack ad about Justin Trudeau called “Just a Pretty Face.”

Congratulations on the show’s milestone.
Susan Kent: Thanks, it’s great to be involved in something that I had nothing to do with! I totally lucked out.

Do you still feel like you’re the newbie on the cast?
Not so much anymore. I feel pretty integrated now. Every now and again I’ll get one of those twinges that I used to get. ‘Oh my God, what am I doing? Why do I think I can do this?! This is the big leagues!’ And then I’m like, ‘It’s just me and these people having a good time.’

How does the writing process work for 22 Minutes? Do you all come up with ideas and then bring it to the table? Walk me through a typical production week.
Monday is the live show, so we do all of our prep stuff throughout the day. Sometimes Mark will do a satellite interview with a politician during the day. Monday nights we do the desk stuff and show everything we’ve shot the previous week and that morning to the audience.

We come in Tuesday morning for the next week’s pitch meeting. It’s all of us together and we just go around the table and pitch ideas and riff on each others’ ideas. And then [executive producer] Peter McBain either says, ‘Yeah, go ahead,’ or ‘No, don’t waste your time,’ and we all go away and write as much as we can. I write for myself and for other people as well. We all do that. We all like to write for each other. We do all that until early-ish on Wednesday and then Peter makes the choices for what sketches will be read out of the book and that’s usually about 40. And then everyone who works on the show gathers together in the studio and we read all of those sketches. Out of that read and based on the response and hearing things aloud he decides what will be shot. We get the rundown for Thursday and Friday and everybody starts sewing costumes and hitting Walmarts to make things.


We shoot all day Thursday and all day Friday. Oftentimes Mark Critch will go on road trips to do interviews on the Wednesday or sometimes on the weekends. He doesn’t stop. He is insane. Our director and our editors start work on Friday, editing stuff. And then Monday is the live show all over again.

Do you work the weekend too, or do you just sit and worry for two days?
Yeah, I sit and drink wine and worry about what’s going to happen!

How many writers are in the room besides the core four?
There are about eight writers right now and out of that crew there are a few who work from home because they have new babies and stuff like that. They call in during the pitch meeting and write from home.

You guys are creating a ton of content every week.
Oh God, it’s insane. It’s insane the amount of stuff that gets written. Let’s say each writer writes six sketches and each sketch has three or four jokes. Once those jokes don’t make it to the read, those jokes are burned and can’t be used again. The jokes that make it into the read but don’t make it to what gets taped are burned too. And the jokes that are shown in front of the audience but don’t make it to air are burned too. You can only imagine the amount of really quality stuff that never sees the light of day. For all of the desk jokes that you see on TV, we’re written double that for the show. Those guys are pumping out an insane amount of stuff, yeah.

On top of all that you have to be timely.
When all the bananas stuff was happening with Rob Ford last year, oftentimes we’d arrive on Monday and something we were going to do for the live show was trumped by something that had to do with him. That happens quite a bit.

This past week’s episode featured the PC attack song. Whose idea was that?
Well, Meghan Trainor gets the all the props for that. I think that idea was an idea between Peter and Mike Allison, the guy who wrote it. Mike has a really extensive history with music and he’s really good at it and he’s very good at parody songs.

Were you really singing it?
Yeah, that was me singing. I did all the back-ups and everything. It was cool. We have this music genius named Mike Farrington that comes in and does all of the music for the show. I didn’t know that song–I listed to more metal and punk rock–so I listened to it a bunch of times before the read. It was the first time I had listened to the song all the way through and we learned we’d be shooting it the next day. That meant recording it that night. I listened to it a whack of times and then Mike and I worked on my phrasing. Mike Farrington found out at 5 o’clock that we were doing it and was in the studio by 6. By 6:05 we were laying it down. It goes fast and luckily the two Mikes are so talented.


As a fellow metalhead, I have to ask: who do you listen to?
Right now I’m into this band named Midnight. They’re like an awesome cross between Venom and Motorhead.

Oh jeez, when you say metal, you mean thrash metal.
Oh yeah, thrash metal is probably my fave. I love metal hybrids. Zeke is one for my favourite bands.

When you said metal I was thinking of Van Halen and Poison. Now I sound like a wimp because I was thinking of hair metal.
I love hair metal! I love party metal. It’s just so fun. Some if it is garbage and but then again some thrash is garbage.

This Hour Has 22 Minutes’ retrospective special This Hour Has 22 Years airs Tuesday at 8 p.m. on CBC.