Monday night, the cast and crew of This Hour Has 22 Minutes took over the Glenn Gould Theatre at the CBC Broadcast Centre.

The occasion was the first-ever Toronto taping of the sketch series, which normally is based each week in Halifax, Nova Scotia. The Toronto episode airs tonight at 8/7c on CBC and CBC Gem.

Main cast members Mark Critch, Trent McClellan, Stacey McGunnigle and Aba Amuquandoh took their places behind the relocated anchor desk. They also threw to scenes from several pre-taped sketches.

Supporting player Chris Wilson shines in a bit tonight as newly-elected Conservative leader Pierre Poilievre, who made defunding the CBC part of his campaign messaging during the leadup to the Tory convention.

Wilson as Poilievre tells exactly what he plans to do to CBC shows such as Strays, Son of a Critch, and Pretty Hard Cases. That went over big time at the theatre taping, despite the fact that many cast members of those very shows were in the audience.

McClellan did a desk bit goofing on the Toronto Maple Leafs that may have him escorted back to Halifax.


There was plenty of ribbing directed directly towards CBC president and CEO Catherine Tait, also in attendance as were several other top CBC executives and programmers. Also in the house were two of the people who gave 22 Minutes the green light back in 1993: former Head of Variety Programming George Anthony and former executive director of Arts & Entertainment Deborah Bernstein.

Several former cast members and writers were also in attendance, including Geri Hall and Gary Pearson, both currently touring venues throughout southern Ontario in their hilarious play, “Middle Raged.” Meredith MacNeill, a former desker now starring in Pretty Hard Cases, was also on hand.

Long-time series executive producer and co-creator Michael Donovan paid tribute to cast members old and new before the taping. He also singled out the network for praise.

“These 30 seasons would absolutely not have happened without the ongoing commitment and support from out broadcast partner,” he said. “This show can only be on CBC. No other broadcaster would be foolish enough to bite the hand that feeds it.”

That point is driven home on tonight’s episode. If Poilievre does indeed become Prime Minister, one of Wilson’s best characters might be banished to YouTube or Tik Tok.

Next Tuesday, October 11, This Hour returns for a special 30th anniversary edition, featuring classic sketches from today’s cast as well as the all-Newfoundland original Fab Four, Mary Walsh, Cathy Jones, Rick Mercer and Greg Thomey. I’ll have more on 22 at 30 in an upcoming feature in The Toronto Star.

Write A Comment