Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Royal Canadian Air Farce
The show, a weekly topical sketch comedy series, focuses on political and cultural satire, and is one of the most popular shows on Canadian television. It is so firmly established as a Canadian institution that no-one can claim to be a major political figure in Canada until they have been parodied by the Air Farce.
Former cast members
- John Morgan (1973-2001), retired in 2001, died at the age of 74 on November 15, 2004
- Dave Broadfoot (1973-1993, occasional guest star on the television series)
The group started in Montreal, Quebec in 1970 as an improvisational theatre revue called The Jest Society, a play on then-Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau's famous goal of making Canada a "Just Society".
After a number of personnel changes, the group became The Royal Canadian Air Farce in 1973 with a lineup that consisted of Abbott, Ferguson, Goy, Morgan, Broadfoot and non-performing writers Gord Holtam and Rick Olson . They debuted on CBC Radio that year, and quickly became one of the network's most popular programs. They travelled throughout the country to record their weekly radio broadcasts, which featured a mixture of political and cultural satire.
Recurring characters included addle-brained hockey player Bobby Clobber (Broadfoot), Sgt. Renfrew of the RCMP (Broadfoot) and socialite Amy De La Pompa (Morgan), along with political figures such as Brian Mulroney, Joe Clark and Pierre Trudeau. They recorded a one-hour television special in 1980, which evolved into a ten-week series and two sequel specials in addition to their regular radio series.
In the early 1980s, Air Farce's summer hiatus periods were filled by another comedy troupe, The Frantics, who later moved on to their own TV series, Four on the Floor. Later summer hiatus periods, however, were filled by Ferguson and Abbott playing classic comedy recordings.
In 1992, Air Farce took a second plunge into television with 1992: Year of the Farce, a satirical New Year's Eve special. A ratings smash, the special led the troupe to produce another weekly television series, which debuted in 1993. However, this time the move to television was permanent, and the radio series was discontinued. Broadfoot retired from the troupe when they moved to TV, although he continued to make occasional guest appearances.
Recurring characters on the TV series included commentators Mike from Canmore (Morgan) and Jock McBile (Morgan), movie critic Gilbert Smythe Bite-Me (Abbott), bingo player Brenda (Goy), and political and cultural figures such as Jean Chrétien (Abbott), Preston Manning (Ferguson), Sheila Copps (Goy), Lucien Bouchard (Ferguson) and Paul Martin (Ferguson).
However, Colonel "Teresa" Stacy (Ferguson) quickly emerged as the show's most popular character -- each time he appeared, Stacy would load up the Chicken Cannon and fire rubber chickens and other assorted projectiles at whomever he deemed the most annoying public figure of the week (or year).
Morgan retired from Air Farce in 2001, and the remaining three members carried on with a rotating stable of guest stars until Holmes joined the show in 2003. Holmes added celebrity figures such as Paris Hilton and Liza Minnelli, and Canadian politicians such as Belinda Stronach, to the troupe's roster of characters.
While the show is held up as de facto Canadian tradition, some critics have felt that that the television show's quality has diminished over the past few seasons. However, it still continues to draw solid ratings each week.
- Brent Butt (December 31, 2004), making New Year's resolutions
- Jean Chrétien, as himself
- Patrick McKenna (December 31, 2004), making New Year's resolutions
- Colin Mochrie (December 31, 2004), making New Year's resolutions
- Ben Mulroney (December 31, 2004), making New Year's resolutions
- Trish Stratus (December 31, 2004), who acted in several skits
- The Canadian Tire Couple
The Air Farce has received many awards including
- the Governor General's Performing Arts Award (1998)
- a star on Canada's Walk of Fame (2000)
- a Juno Award for comedy album of the year
- Maclean's Honour Roll of Canadians Who Make a Difference
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