Set visit: Air Farce New Year’s Day special

That’s a wrap: Lauzon, Ferguson, Park and Corrin

Happy to report there are plenty of laughs in this year’s annual Air Farce New Year’s special.
Attended the Thursday night taping of the sketch comedy hour at the CBC Broadcast Centre in Toronto. (A second night of taping takes place Friday.) Was a little apprehensive heading in. This is the first Air Farce performance since the death of Farce co-founder Roger Abbott, for years the true ringleader of the troupe. Roger was the guy who worked the floor, greeting out-of-towners and generally turned taping night into a family gathering.
In true show-must-go-on tradition, Don Ferguson acknowledged Abbott’s absence right off the start. Then he singled out the cameramen, introduced the cast and everybody took their marks. A whiskered Ferguson performed an opening sketch as that “Most Interesting man in the World” opposite Craig Luzon’s robotic Stephen Harper. Alan Park threw himself into spirited characterizations of Barack Obama, Ron James and Bob McCown.
Luba Goy and Penelope Corrin are back, Jessica Holmes is not. Arnold Pinnock, one of the stars of Combat Hospital, is the new recruit and stepped seamlessly into sketches as Mike Tyson and Oprah. The acoustic duo Ground Crew were back singing “Jesus’ Brother Bob” and other ditties between sketch setups. Stage director Pat McDonald had his headphones back in place and urged the folks in the bleachers to “stand by to laugh.”
There are several fun Farce films in the New Year’s mix–one pitting Toronto mayor Rob Ford (Lauzon) vs. Margaret Atwood (Goy) is especially hilarious–as well as guest appearances from Kevin O’Leary and Amanda Lang, Ron MacLean, Adam Beach, Rowdy Roddy Piper and Battle of the Blades champ Tessa Bonhomme. Ferguson and company even found a way to sneak a clip of Abbott into the hour.
The deal ends with another messy reloading of the “F-Bomb.” Take heart, Canada, the Farce is still with us. Catch the Not New Year’s Eve special a night later than usual, Sunday Jan. 1 at 8 p.m.

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