If you want to know where they tape The Beaverton, look for the church in Toronto’s East end that just burst into flames.
That’s because there are few sacred cows on the sassy news satire. The Comedy Network original is spun off from the web site TheBeaverton.com, and, yes, it really does shoot in a rather nondescript office building that also houses a church.
I attended a taping about a week ago along with over 100 other audience members. We saw two versions of the first five minutes of the opening episode: one where Hilary Clinton wins the U.S. presidential election, and one showing Donald Trump triumphant.
Spoiler alert: Trump won. At the time of the taping, the Trump version seemed pointless. Clinton was seen as a sh00-in.
The writers actually prepared a third version in case there was the kind of deadlock that put the result of the George W. Bush/Al Gore election of 2000 in doubt.
There are many reasons why it is a shame Clinton did not win. Here’s one CNN has overlooked: the jokes in The Beaverton‘s “Clinton victory” reel were better.
For example: home audiences missed hearing Clinton described as “America’s first openly-female president.” There was also a visual gag suggesting Clinton and her husband Bill would be the first two presidents to have sex in the White House “since Thomas Jefferson and John Adams.”
The series is hosted by Emma Hunter (returning next month in the annual Air Farce New Year’s Eve special) and Miguel Rivas (Meet the Family). They’re joined by correspondents Aisha Alfa (also on Air Farce), Laura Cilevitz, Donavon Stinson and Marilla Wex.
TheBeaverton.com writer/editor Luke Gordon Field and Jeff Detsky (Call Me Fitz) are the co-executive producers. Several other Beaverton web writers contribute to the series, including writer/creators Alexander Saxton and Jacob Duarte Spiel. Pier 21Films helped bring the series idea before Bell, “who got it right away,” says President Laszlo Barna.
Hunter says she’s a fan of both John Oliver and Samantha Bee. She likes the dry approach to satire. “For me,” she says, “the bigger they go, the more they spell out the joke, the less honest the comedy.”
Hunter’s parents hail from The UK and they raised her on Britcoms. “I spent my entire childhood watching Fawlty Towers and French and Saunders,” she says. “I think I’ve seen every episode of Are You Being Served? 10 or 12 times.”
Rivas is also big on British fare, especially the ‘90s series The Day Today with Chris Morris and Steve Coogan as well as the later series Peep Show. He also liked the way former SNL “Weekend Update” anchor Kevin Nealon was less about making fun of newscasters, more about “letting the jokes be the jokes themselves.”
The Beaverton airs Wednesday nights at 10:30 p.m. ET/PT on The Comedy Network, right before the series it most resembles: The Daily Show with Trevor Noah. Read more about the launch of The Beaverton here at this feature I wrote this week for The Canadian Press.