|Hartman was always pitch perfect on SNL|
Should the late, great Phil Hartman be in Canada’s Walk of Fame?
They sure think so over at SiriusXMCanada where all this month of April has been declared Phil Hartman month. Hartman’s many hilarious comedy recordings have been in high rotation on the satellite station, especially on “Laugh Attack.” (Listen to a Laugh Attack WOF pitch for Phil here.)
I was always a big Phil Hartman fan, from his early work as Popeye-like Cap’t Karl on Pee-wee’s Playhouse through his glory days on Saturday Night Live. The best Simpsons episodes, in my opinion, always featured Hartman, so good there as smarmy attorney Lionel Hutz and has-been actor Troy McClure. The producers of The Simpsons, to their great credit, never featured those characters again after Hartman’s tragic death in 1998, with his final appearance on the 10th season episode “Bart the Mother” ending with a dedication to the actor.
|Lionel Hutz. A Troy McClure feature was in the works|
Hartman was from Brantford, Ontario, living there until his family moved to California when he was 10. Trained as a graphic artist, he designed album covers for bands like Poco and America in the ’70s. He got into improv comedy with The Groundlings, helped Paul Reubens develop Pee-wee and, after eight stellar seasons on SNL, eventually distinguished himself as a pretty good sitcom lead on NewsRadio.
In short, he was one of Canada’s greatest comedy exports ever.
His brother, Paul Hartmann, has been lobbying since 2007 to get Phil inducted onto Canada’s WOF and has a Facebook site dedicated to the cause. Plenty of people have rallied tot he cause, including Jerry Seinfeld and Will Ferrell. A member of Parliament even stood up and called for Hartman’s induction in 2010.
If you want to see Hartman so enshrined, you can do something about it now. Go to the WOF site and nominate Phil Hartman for induction. It only takes a second and you can do it right here.
Russell Peters was inducted last year, Eric McCormack the year before that. Hell, Howie Mandel, the Kids in the Hall and Pamela Anderson are in the Canadian WOF and Hartman is not? There are significant parts of Anderson that aren’t even Canadian!
Another guy missing, as Don Ferguson reminded me a few weeks ago, is the great Dave Broadfoot. Broadfoot was the original Canadian stand up star, traveling endlessly across Canada, creating memorable Canadian characters like Bobby Clobber, Sgt. Renfrew and the member for Kicking Horse Pass. Besides his long association with the Royal Canadian Air Farce, in radio and television, he dates back to appearances in Spring Thaw and The Ed Sullivan Show. As Rick Mercer so perfectly put it in this blurb on the back of Broadfoot’s biography, “If the comedy business was a railroad, Dave drove the first spike and the last. The rest of us just road the rails.”
I had the pleasure of interviewing Broadfoot last year for Air Farce: 40 Years of Flying by the Seat of Our Pants, and found him to be a sharp and savvy as ever. Check out this brief video clip of our conversation.
Now 86, Broadfoot deserves to take his proper place at the next WOF induction. So vote for Broadfoot as well as Hartman. You have a few days left to get both their names into the mix. Nominations close May 1.