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Devon Murphy


Oh, Canada: Are They Laughing At Us, or With Us?

Posted: 10/01/2013 3:41 pm

Canada has a long and storied history of great comedy.

From Kids in the Hall to French Canadian YouTube star Jon Lajoie, Canadian comedy is one of our prime exports. Everyone (at least everyone North of the border) knows that SNL would be nothing without our guys and gals bringing the laughs.

Here are just some of Canada's great comic minds: Will Arnett, Dan Aykroyd, Jay Baruchel, John Candy, Jim Carrey, Michael Cera, Tom Green, Phil Hartman, Elvira Kurt, Eugene Levy, Norm Macdonald, Howie Mandel, Rick Mercer, Lorne Michaels, Mike Meyers, Leslie Neilsen, Catherine O'Hara, Russell Peters, Seth Rogan, William Shatner and Martin Short.

This is why I love seeing non-Canadian comedians in Canada, because they always let the nation-specific jokes fly.

"Do you guys have Saved By the Bell here?" asked comedian John Mulaney, which was the cleaned up version of Bill Burr's quip, "Canada: you don't lock your doors and nobody jerks off!"

Sure, we're easy to laugh at -- if you don't actually know anything about us. Are we really that polite? That progressive? Do our voices really sound like that? I suppose it's better to have a good reputation...

Some people, however, like Janeane Garofalo (who was hilarious, by the way) are up on their Canadian trivia. I'm talking honourary-Canuck status. She made no less than 20 pretty obscure Canadian references during her 7 p.m. show on September 21. Here are some of my faves:

-Flin Flon (The mining town straddling Manitoba and Saskatchewan.)
-Don Bosco (The Catholic high school where Rob Ford formerly coached the football team.)
-Chuck Hughes (The French-Canadian Food Network star.)
-Concordia (That other Montreal university.)
-The Big Nickel (Sudbury's crown jewel.)

And best of all, she said she always thought a great band name would be...

Stephen Harper's Cabinet Shuffle

Now that is a joke that displays both humour and understanding of our political system. Not many Americans can pull that kind of thing out of a hat. Also, that would be a great band name.

Of course everyone laughed when Burr and Mulaney cracked wise about our so-called primitive lifestyles, because those jokes are familiar to us -- comfortable if unappealing, like an ugly Christmas sweater. But it's when comedians are actually familiar with our real lives that I'm impressed.

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  • The Rock

    Yes, Dwayne Johnson's father is Nova Scotia-born wrestler Rocky Johnson. As the <a href="http://www.buzzfeed.com/thehero/14-things-you-didnt-know-about-the-rock" target="_blank">first generation child of a Canadian, Johnson is eligible for Canadian citizenship</a>. Johnson also played in the CFL for the Calgary Stampeders during the 1995 season, but was cut after two months.

  • James Doohan

    Scottie was totally from Vancouver.

  • Emmanuelle Chriqui

    The "Entourage" star was born in Montreal.

  • Frank Gehry

    The world-famous architect was born in Toronto.

  • Rick Fox

    The former NBA star was born in Toronto.

  • Norm Macdonald

    The comedian is from Quebec City. Bonus points if you knew his brother is CBC journalist Neil Macdonald.

  • Nathan Fillion

    The "Castle" and "Firefly" star was born in Edmonton.

  • Ted Cruz

    The potential Republican presidential nominee was born in Calgary. However, because his mother is American, U.S. officials have ruled that he <a href="http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2013/05/19/cruz-eligible-presidential-run/" target="_blank">would be eligible to run for the presidency</a>.

  • Men Without Hats

    That's right, "Safety Dance" came from a Montreal group.

  • Matt Groening

    While born in Portland, Groening's father Homer was born in Main Centre, Saskatchewan and so Groening is eligible for citizenship.

  • Lorne Greene

    The "Bonanza" star was born in Ottawa.

  • Brendan Fraser

    While born in Indianapolis, both of "The Mummy" star's parents are Canadian and so he is entitled to Canadian citizenship.

  • Anna Paquin

    The Oscar winning star of "True Blood" was born in in Winnipeg.

  • David Rakoff

    The regular contributor to "This American Life" was born in Montreal.

  • Kim Cattrall

    While the "Sex and the City" star was actually born in in the U.K., she moved to Coutenay, B.C., when she was just an infant.

  • Mia Kirshner

    "The L Word" star was born in Toronto.

  • Carrie Anne Moss

    The star of "The Matrix" was born in Burnaby, B.C.

  • Eric McCormack

    The "Will and Grace" star was born in Toronto.

  • James Cameron

    OK, you may have known this one already, but for some reason people are always forgetting that the "Titanic" and "Avatar" director was born in Kapuskasing, Ontario.

  • Monty Hall

    The original host of "Let's Make A Deal" was born in Winnipeg.

  • Honorary Mention - Tom Cruise

    OK, so he was born in Syracuse, New York and his parents were both American, but the star of, well everything, went to school in Ottawa for several years in the early 1970s. It was in Ottawa that <a href="http://i.usatoday.net/life/books/tom_cruise_excerpt.pdf" target="_blank">Cruise first became involved in acting</a>, according to Andrew Morton's unauthorized biography.

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  • Next: 13 Things To Never Say To A Canadian

  • Things You Don't Want To Say To A Canadian

    Canadians are normally pretty nice but there are things you just don't want to say to a Canadian... (AP Photo/The Canadian Press, Nathan Denette)

  • This looks like Monopoly money!

  • Hey you're from Canada? Do you know my friend Doug?

  • You lost the War of 1812, right?

  • Polar bears rooting through your garbage at night must be pretty irritating.

    (AP Photo/The Canadian Press, Chris Young)

  • Do you guys all ski to work and stuff?

  • Do you have cable / internet / random technology in Canada?

  • You all speak French right?

  • What part of America are you from?

  • Is Vancouver / Edmonton / Calgary close to Toronto?

  • Do you have a president?

    (AP Photo/The Canadian Press, Fred Chartrand)

  • Is Toronto your capital city?

  • Say "aboot" for me

  • More from our readers!

    We asked our readers to tell us more things that you shouldn't say to a Canadian. We collected the best responses.

  • Rose Simpson

    @HuffPostCanada #AngryCanadian Wasn't it wonderful that Ben Affleck thanked Canadians at the Oscars? Were Canadians in Iran?

  • Andrea C

    @HuffPostCanada #AngryCanadian To someone from Toronto: "I have a friend named .... In Vancouver, do you know them?" "No, it's a 3hr flight"

  • Krysta Ibach

    @HuffPostCanada The old chestnut You guys all live in igloos right? #AngryCanadian

  • Alysha Macdonald

    @HuffPostCanada #AngryCanadian "Is it warm there in summer? Do you drink maple syrup? You say roof (ruff), tour (tore), and bar (ba) weird."


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