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

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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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