But if, at the outset, we can remind people what brings us together and share a laugh it makes whatever follows more likely to be listened to.
Well, I’ll say this about the Leaders’ debates that took place at the Canadian Museum of History in Gatineau, Quebec this week; they brought an overwhelming majority of consensus to the forefront. Unfortunately though, that consensus is… this country needs to drastically improve the way we do Leaders’ debates. From the format of having five parties represented of which two have a legitimate mathematical chance of winning, to the truly inexplicable inclusion of having more journalists and non-journalists asking questions than the already too many candidates, to the choice of a moderator for the English debate who appeared to be a scorned supply teacher hell-bent on interrupting the candidates more than they interrupted each other, this really was the least informative, most impossible to follow Leaders’ debate in Canadian History. Which I suppose at least explains the choice of venue.
...the downfall of humanity may still be a swath of moronic miscreants.
With a new school year (where children will actually ATTEND! school), a tense Canadian federal election (that seemingly only one man actually wanted) and a human-caused climate catastrophe now upon us, I thought this might be a good time to remind everyone how to not be complete and total assholes to each other. It seems pretty straightforward really. Our human predecessors, the Neanderthals and Cro-magnons, became extinct because they failed to evolve and were eventually overcome by either dinosaurs or ice (I’m not an anthropologist) So you would think we may have learned something over the past 200,000 years about survival. But it seems that even though the world is threatened by an ever-mutating plague and a human-made climate catastrophe, the downfall of humanity may still be a swath of moronic miscreants.
...the bond between comedy and audience and between comedians is something that really must be experienced to be understood.
This past week has been a roller coaster of sadness and elation in Canadian comedy. Beginning with the sad part, last Saturday the Canadian comedy family lost a cherished member when Montrealer (but really all-around Canadian) Andrew Albert, a veteran comic who played many stages and even more non-stage “stages” all across Canada over many years, died suddenly of a heart attack at the age of just 46. While I didn’t have the opportunity to work and play with Andrew as much as many other Canadian comedians did, it became clear after his passing just how much he meant to everyone he came in contact with. To audiences and comedians alike, Andrew was a universally loved man who was quick with a joke, generous with his time, and possessed a personality (and a booming laugh) that made you believe all was ok in the world, or at least it would be. The online outpouring of sadness and love from a community that is, by its nature, solitary and sarcastic, has been extraordinary. If you’d like a testament to Andrew’s talent you can download his album here and a GoFundMe page has been set up to assist with funeral costs since, like most comedians, we prioritize our finances towards killing on stage, not dying off of it. (I hope Andrew would laugh at that. I believe he would.) RIP Andrew Albert. Thank you for enriching the world with your joy and for setting an example on how to do this job with kindness and compassion.
...our women showed the world they work very well together.
Last week, the Tokyo Olympics gave us American Simone Biles showing pure mental strength by admitting mental doubt and removing herself in the midst of competition. This week, the Canadian Women’s soccer team gave us a pure golden moment. In case you missed it: a) Sorry to spoil this for you and b) it’s just as thrilling to see them win a SECOND time, the Canadian women upset Sweden in “penalty kicks” which I still don’t think is a good way to end an Olympic soccer match. But given the outcome here, I’ll allow it.
...I can’t imagine what it’s like for an athlete to participate in the Olympics.
This week, American superstar (and borderline superhuman) gymnast, Simone Biles, withdrew from the team and individual finals in the midst of Olympic competition (which I still don’t think should be happening in Tokyo right now) after experiencing a bout of “the twisties” and deciding, for the sake of her own mental health and safety, to not continue. Then, social media went nuts.
...Bezos couldn’t be further out of touch with the people of Earth...
This week’s world news was dominated by two things: The Tokyo “2020” Olympics opening in the midst of a pandemic and billionaire Jeff Bezos blasting off into space inside of a giant rocket-powered penis. It’s too close to call yet on which was more of a dick move. In the case of the Olympics, I already discussed here a couple of weeks ago my thoughts on it. While I don’t want to deny the world-class athletes of Canada and every other country the opportunity to fulfill their lifelong dreams, I’m pretty sure their dreams didn’t include unnecessarily risking the lives of themselves and others to do it. It could have and should have been further delayed or yes, even cancelled by the International Olympic Committee. But the I.O.C. is the S.O.B. of international sport. If they were a spaceship, they’d be shaped like a giant penis.
...it was daunting to see a whole bunch of people walking around an indoor space...
This week, I went to a shopping mall with my family. Normally, that sentence wouldn’t be interesting enough to start an article (and depending on your standards, it still may not be) but given how few places we’ve gone to and how few people we’ve seen over the past year, this might as well have been a trip to space aboard my company’s own space plane!
I’m not saying it’s not the same as previous Olympic games, it’s just totally different and several times more life threatening.
The official motto of the Tokyo Olympic Games, unveiled in February of 2020, is “United By Emotion”. Little did organizers know that shortly after that motto’s unveiling it would become un-possible to unite. These 2020 games were originally scheduled to take place in, wait for it, 2020. But of course they couldn’t take place last year, because, well, nothing could. We were in a pandemic then. The same one we’re still in now by the way. So the International Olympic Committee and the local organizing committee in Japan got together (by which I mean, stayed well apart) and said “I guess we should postpone this thing eh?” (at least that’s what I imagine the Canadian members probably said) Then any of the members who would suffer personal financial loss and were in no way otherwise personally affected probably said “Why? Let’s just see what happens!” (again I’m paraphrasing)
If this school year of the perpetual break didn’t break you, congratulations, you’re unbreakable!
If there were ever a school year to end with an emphatic “don’t let the door hit you in the arse on the way out”, this was it. From a tentative beginning last fall where some students went to school in person while others stayed at home in “virtual learning” (which is virtually impossible) to an extended winter break which no one was quite sure would ever end, to an even more tentative “spring break” that sailed right through to the summer, only one thing was certain: If this school year of the perpetual break didn’t break you, congratulations, you’re unbreakable!
We are at a moment of reckoning in Canadian history that requires more than immediate apology.
If any year in our lifetime could use an excuse for a party, this is the one. From the complete write-off of 2020 to the Armageddon-like beginning of 2021, I wasn’t sure the world would even make it to the middle of this year, let alone be on the rebound. But here we are, on the verge of July 1, and re-opening plans abound in various degrees across various provinces despite a new Covid variant that may or may not be impervious to the various vaccines. Patios, restaurants and ‘personal services’ are re-opening in Ontario (though I still haven’t seen an add for a “wax and vax” combo, which I think is a missed business opportunity). In Alberta, The Calgary Stampede is, well, stampeding on somehow (despite the fact that they had to create a lottery with millions of dollars in cash prizes to encourage more people to get vaccinated. True story.) Meanwhile in Montreal, the Canadiens are in the Stanley Cup Finals, so the streets are filled with screaming, unmasked, uninhibited fans. Because as every red-blue-white blooded hockey fan knows, pandemics aren’t contagious in the later rounds of the playoffs.
...that meant talking to John Chester Patterson—the man my brothers and I have always referred to as Slim.
The first thing you should do when you find out you’re becoming a father is talk to your own father to see what advice he has to offer. In my case, that meant talking to John Chester Patterson—the man my brothers and I have always referred to as Slim. Born in 1931 in Gaspé, a small city in Northern Quebec, Slim would eventually be the oldest of ve children. He grew up in lean times (a gentle way of referring to the Great Depression) and became the man of the house at a young age because his father was away a lot (he was a military man). My dad would do whatever he could to bring in money for the household, including taking work as a delivery boy and an assistant at the local lumberyard.
From that moment on, my priorities in life officially shifted.
While Nancy was getting her much-needed rest, I also had the opportunity to have Scarlett go skin on skin against my chest. We had read in one of the parenting books that this helped create a bond between father and baby, and the nurses at the hospital encouraged it—provided it took place in our room and didn’t result in me walk- ing shirtless through the halls. So while Nancy slept, I reclined in the hospital chair (not technically a recliner) and held baby Scarlett firmly to my bosom (you might think dads don’t have bosoms, but . . . well, I do) while she slept contentedly. That’s when I realized that the feeling of your baby’s skin resting on your own is the greatest feeling in the world, bar none. I can hear you pet owners saying, “I don’t know—it’s pretty great when little Patches puts her paws on my face and then settles down on my lap.”
...this seems like as good a time as any to go over basic dining out etiquette...
Restaurant patios in Toronto just re-opened at midnight on Friday and many people were gleefully lined up to try to catch up on months and months of NOT consuming beverages on a patio with strangers, within the first 2 hours if possible (it’s not important how I researched this). So, with the re-opening of restaurants for “dining in” options, even if the ‘dine in’ has to happen outside on a patio that may or may not have been a street lane open to vehicular traffic as recently as that afternoon, this seems like as good a time as any to go over basic dining out etiquette which many of us, especially those of us with SMALL children who have eaten exclusively at their own homes every day for the past 455 days consecutively (but who’s counting? I am, clearly) could likely use a quick refresher course in...
We all have a lot of questions to ask. But first, we have a lot of listening to do.
With the heaviness of the news in Canada that the bodies of 215 indigenous children were found buried on the grounds of the former Residential School in Kamloops last week my inclination was to write this week’s article about anything BUT that. We need a “break” from this awful news. I’m a comedian. Stay in my lane. Do what I do best. Right? Wrong.
So this deal that Bezos made for $8 billion is essentially worthless in Canada. Man, how has this guy made so much money?
This week was a good reminder that some people have more money than they know what to do with and that one guy in particular has so much money, he can buy pretty much anything or anyone he wants, including famous fictitious characters. I’m talking of course about the news of Amazon and their gazillionaire founder Jeff Bezos, buying MGM movie studios, which includes the James Bond film franchise, for $8.45 BILLION American. (That’s infinity dollars Canadian.) Prior to this, I laughed at grown men who would buy limited edition cars or watches because they wanted to “be like James Bond”. But I never thought I’d see the day when a man bought James Bond himself? Especially since, in Canada, since James Bond author Ian Fleming died in 1964, his works entered the public domain on January 1, 2015. So this deal that Bezos made for $8 billion is essentially worthless in Canada. Man, how has this guy made so much money?
...Canadians are being discouraged from gathering in large groups to avoid spreading the “third wave”, while simultaneously being encouraged to get vaccinated, so that we can once again gather in large groups.
This weekend is “Victoria Day” long weekend in Canada. Or, as most self-respecting Canadians call it, ‘May two-four!’, assumingly in reference to how many beers the average adult will consume over the weekend (not between two to four beers. A “two-four” as in a case of 24. Just in case anyone reading this is not fluently Canadian). This holiday marks Canada’s history with the British Commonwealth by giving every adult in the country three solid days and nights to get hammered in the woods with each other. Just like Queen Victoria would have wanted. Victoria Day has been observed as a federal holiday since 1901, the year that Queen Victoria died, and was celebrated on May 24th because that was her birthday. But in 1952, statutes were revised to celebrate the holiday on the “Monday preceding May 25th” which this year falls on, wait for it… May 24th.
Suing a yacht company for taking you out to sea is like suing an elevator company for getting you up to other levels in a building faster than taking the stairs.
I’m sorry (but not really sorry) to say that sometimes hearing of the misfortune of people with vast fortunes makes me feel like a billion bucks. Such as the story that emerged this week of billionaire Ottawa Senators owner Eugene Melnyk and his super yacht excursion gone super wrong. Apparently the trip, booked last December (when most decent people were putting aside personal travel plans for the greater good of humankind) was derailed by an “odorous” British captain who wouldn’t cater to Melnyk’s whims to navigate the super yacht too close to shore and hence subjected the party to the rough seas of the ocean. Which is hilarious to me. Suing a yacht company for taking you out to sea is like suing an elevator company for getting you up to other levels in a building faster than taking the stairs.
Moms don’t need a pandemic to worry about. They were worried about us before all this and will keep worrying long after.
First things first, it shouldn’t be called “Mother’s Day”. It should be called “Mother’s Day OFF." And every mother in the world should get to do whatever the hell she wants. Whether it’s to spend the day reading a book, taking a bath, reading a book in the bath or having a book read to her in the bath by the reader of her choice (you know who’s a pretty good reader? Brad Pitt.) But of course that’s impossible this Mother’s Day. And not just because, just like the rest of us, Brad isn’t supposed to be traveling. For twenty-four hours a day, three-hundred and sixty four days of the past year and beyond, mothers have been on the job: Keeping babies safely nestled and fed, their young children close at hand and fed, and their teenagers, adult children as safe as they could. Quite often by keeping them fed.
Newfoundlanders are to helping others as water is to fish. Which, now that I think about it, may have something to do with their close relationship to fish.
This week there was a beacon of hope in the news that would pierce through any fog and provide some calming relief in any storm. Fitting considering the source: Newfoundland and Labrador sent a contingent of urgent care specialists to Ontario to assist our severely over-extended intensive care wards and provide essential help to our own heroic and outrageously overworked essential healthcare workers. The contingent, comprised of 3 doctors, 5 nurses and a nurse practitioner, is lead by Dr. Allison Furey who happens to be not only an Emergency physician with international relief experience but also the wife of Newfoundland and Labrador Premier Andrew Furey, who happens to also be an orthopaedic surgeon.
...we’ve all heard the term “essential” bandied about and wondered what it means exactly.
As I sat down to write this week’s article I was thinking about all the different things I could write about: Vaccinations and how Canadians seem to finally be getting them, Earth Day (it was April 22nd. If you missed it, well, there’s always next year… Hopefully), another space travel mission launch (this one was called ‘NASA Space X Crew 2’ which sounds like a pretty good hip-hop band) and of course, whether or not it’s ok to mock an incompetent and suddenly repentant Premier who breaks down crying in a public address. (note: I would say no to the mocking, just as I said “hell no” to voting said Premier in in the first place)
Living each day as if it’s your FIRST on the other hand is essentially how toddlers live every day.
I know that’s not the way the expression goes. But since I had a birthday this past week, it’s how I’d like to live from here on in. If you live each day as if it’s your last, well, you end up doing foolhardy things. Like skydiving, driving off a cliff or, if you live in Ontario right now, well, you’re already rolling the dice it seems. Living each day as if it’s your FIRST on the other hand is essentially how toddlers live every day. Which is to say, you don’t have to do anything for yourself, everyone understands that you’re a little tipsy when you walk and no matter what you do you get a wide berth because of your birth.
...if everyone followed it, the world would be a much friendlier, better place.
As I entered into the last few days of my 40’s this week I found myself reflecting on the best piece of advice my father ever gave me and which I try to follow as best I can every day. The advice is simple and deceivingly ambitious: Don’t be an arsehole and don’t spend time with arseholes. It’s good advice because, if everyone followed it, the world would be a much friendlier, better place. Plus if it were a pre-requisite for election into public office, we would either have much better world leaders or, well, none at all.
The history of April Fool’s, dates back to 1582 when France switched from the Julian calendar to the Gregorian calendar (assumingly because of the Gregorian’s constant chanting).
Since the past year and a bit has seemed like a horrible, never ending April Fool’s “joke” anyway, the world’s favourite day for pranksters lost a lot of lustre this year. However with April Fool’s falling on Holy Week this time around, culminating with Easter Sunday on April 4, this does seem like the perfect opportunity to compare April Fool’s Day with Easter and try to determine how different they really are.
Some of them even brought along their own hotdogs to cook on the lava...
If you read this headline and thought that auto correct had gone out of its way to deflect profanity or perhaps that I had a brief stroke midway through writing, then quickly recovered, well, clearly you’re not as Icelandic as I thought.
...I’d like to talk about why the current world we live in needs far more good men...
On March 20th, 1779, Capt. William Jones of the United States Marine Corps, advertised in the Providence Gazette for "a few good men" to enlist. The men that answered that call thought of themselves as “good” but were they really? It’s difficult to ask them now. In the 1992 movie “A Few Good Men”, Jack Nicholson perfectly played the role of a top ranking military official who was a bad man arguing that the world needed him to be that way. And yes I will provide a link to the classic ‘you can’t handle the truth’ scene at the end of this article.
The performing arts sector has lost more money as a percentage of GDP due to the pandemic than any other industry in Canada...
I read an article this week by Globe and Mail arts critic Kate Taylor which was hopefully enlightening for all and certainly sobering as a Canadian entertainer (and I wasn’t even drunk when I read it). The performing arts sector has lost more money as a percentage of GDP due to the pandemic than any other industry in Canada except for the airline industry. With the important difference being that the airline industry is still holding on to several thousands of dollars in people’s paid fares for trips that didn’t happen and if they are FORCED to pay that money back, they will most certainly be bailed out by the government. Performing artists have no such cash cushion and no such government genie waiting to grant wishes for cash. This despite the fact that most people pass the hours during long flights being entertained by… performing artists.
...the good doctor has been a staple of reading at my house...
You probably heard the news this week that ‘Dr. Seuss Enterprises’, working with a panel of experts and educators, decided to no longer publish SIX books from the vast Dr. Seuss (actual name Theodor Seuss Geisel) catalogue including his very first book, 1937’s “And To Think I Saw It On Mulberry Street”. The books were discontinued because, as the company itself describes, “they portrayed people in ways that are hurtful and wrong”. The news immediately caused debate in literary and non-literary circles and full on outrage from arguably the MOST non-literary group: American far-right Republicans (many of whom quite possibly haven’t read a book since their foreign, underpaid nannies read Dr. Seuss to them as children)
This week in Canada held some actual promise.
Not empty promises from politicians that they are “losing sleep over long-term care facilities” or “will not rest until every Canadian is vaccinated” or, in perhaps the weirdest example, Conservative leader Erin O’Toole’s Twitter video promise to move Justin Trudeau’s office to an outhouse when he is no longer Prime Minister (his social media manager is apparently a 7-year-old boy whose associates surely assured him he “nailed it”, then got back to trash talking each other in Fortnite).
This week the most exciting news on planet Earth took place on another planet.
NASA’s latest robotic rover, named “Perseverance”, successfully landed on Mars where it will now begin taking photos, sending back postcards (that hopefully don’t have to rely on the US Postal Service for delivery) and collecting samples of space rocks. If all goes well, those space rocks will arrive back on Earth in the year 2034 for testing and could tell us what kind of life exists elsewhere in the universe.
So some will use this as a perfect opportunity to get out of acknowledging Valentine’s altogether...
Well, if ever there were a Valentine’s Day where you need to get creative in gift giving for your special someone or ‘someones’, (just because I’m married doesn’t mean you have to be) it’s this one. Dine in restaurants are a no go, shopping malls to find that perfect provocative present are closed and you’re not even supposed to be with anyone outside of your own household (friendly reminder: worldwide pandemic STILL going).
...I’ve come up with a list of things that can make these shows if not “good” then at least better than the worst it could be.
This week I did an hour long comedy show for a large group of teachers. Virtually of course. So technically, it was for the laptop in my office. But thanks to a little pre-show prep, not only was the show not as awkward as it could have been, I actually enjoyed doing it. And judging from the faces of those that I could see watching, they did too!
So I really didn’t need this last week of this already ludicrously long month to drag me down the wormhole of video game stores, hedge funds, and internet investment group forums.
I’ll be honest, this month was already going to be the longest one I’ve ever experienced even if nothing happened this past week. Januaries always seem to be about 87 days long to me with the post holiday letdown, the New Year’s resolution readjustment (uh oh. Ok, I’ll start exercising daily on Chinese New Year) and the wintry weather (snow is nice on Christmas day. Other than that, it’s just rude). I also, perhaps stupidly, decided I would do a “dry January” this year and, even more stupidly, have actually stuck to that.
No, this column hasn’t been hacked by a doctor or knowledgeable health professional...
I know most talk this week revolved around the mid-week inauguration of Joe Biden as the new American President and more so, let’s face it, new historic Vice-President Kamala Harris! Then talk here in Canada turned to the late week resignation of Governor General Julie Payette over a scathing report on the abusive work environment she presided over. So, you win this week America! But we’ll be back! Until then I’d like to talk about…organ donation.
Finally, the experiences of his youth as an “enterprising non-prescription-medicine entrepreneur” had come in handy in his daily briefings as leader of Canada’s most populous province.
I wouldn’t want to be a provincial Premier right now. Especially the Premier of the province I happen to live in, Ontario, where a state of emergency was declared this past Tuesday (which went into effect this past Thursday) as well as a stay-at-home order, along with guidelines that seemed to contradict both of those declarations. If it’s an “emergency” why did it not come into effect for two days? And while we’re on that topic, why was the last lockdown here initiated the day AFTER Christmas? Why are local small businesses forced to shutter their doors to in-store customers while big box stores operate as if their walls provide some sort of territorial temporary vaccine or magical Covid-proof force field? How will this new order be enforced when the police and newly hired “enforcers” aren’t actually sure what to do? And how is a “stay-at-home” order different from a curfew?
...I have to hand it to the first week of 2021: I didn’t think you had it in you, but you picked up right where 2020 left off.
Between a number of Canadian politicians going on tropical vacations while telling us not to leave our houses (since we are still in the midst of a, you know, goddamn global pandemic!) and an actual coup attempt by a group of largely Caucasian extra large men in that “great” country in our basement, I have to hand it to the first week of 2021: I didn’t think you had it in you, but you picked up right where 2020 left off.
...let’s just say I’m confident this won’t be the worst thing that people don’t read.
A lot has been written and read about New Year’s resolutions already, particularly this year when there is pretty much nothing else to DO. So I hesitated whether to pile on with an article of my own. However, since the first resolution I have made this year is to write an article every week and release it to the world, I feel like this is justified. Plus, given the amount of things written and released these days that appear to have been written with a “write it like no one will ever read it” mentality, well, let’s just say I’m confident this won’t be the worst thing that people don’t read.