The Canadian Comedy Awards came and went again this past weekend.
You’re probably thinking, or saying out loud (maybe you talk to yourself, I don’t presume anything), “Those exist? I’ve never heard of ’em.”
And I would respond (out loud, because I do talk to myself), “That’s no surprise. They’ve only been around for 14 years, why would you know about them?”
That’s right, the awards, which shower accolades on Canadian artists in film, TV, radio, web, and live comedy categories, have existed for over a decade.
You’re also probably now thinking, “I like comedy and I’m also Canadian. Why haven’t I heard about these awards?”
That’s a good question, reader, and it’s a question that I have too, for I am also a lover of comedy, and Canadian to boot.
The awards and four-day-long festival, which includes stand-up and improv shows, was in Ottawa this year, but it’s been in other cities over the years, including Toronto and Saint John. Sounds awesome, right?
The awards have a unique twist to them, too: Canadians can register and vote in several of the categories, like best web clip, TV show, and film. They’re like the People’s Choice Comedy Awards. I don’t have access to the voter turnout data, but in my wide-reaching and diverse poll of five people, only one person (me) knew the awards existed. What a shame.
At the 2011 Canadian Comedy Awards, comedian Steve Patterson argued the media should pay more attention to comedy in Canada and “acknowledge the art” comedians produce.
Agreed, but it’s a two-way street, as people say, and this here awards show appears to be the perfect opportunity for some self-promotion. The awards could be used as a vehicle to increase the profile of comedians and bring bigger audiences to their shows and performances.
As for the public seeing the awards show, apparently attendance this year was lackluster, with about half of the 1,000 seats at the theatre filled. Maybe if more people knew they could attend such an awards show, the show organizer, the Canadian Comedy Foundation for Excellence, would get a full house. I know I’d like to see a bunch of funny and/or smug and/or self-deprecating Canadians accept an award called The Beaver (seriously).
The show was broadcast on television in its first two years and The Comedy Network has aired festival specials on and off since then. Producing a TV program is a big undertaking and costs a lot of cheese, I get that, but I’ve heard talk that we are living in the digital age and that cheese goes further on the Internet. How about a webcast? How about uploads to your facebook page and youtube channel the next day. How about an upload to your youtube channel more recent than (as of this writing) 2012? Look, the Twitter feed during the broadcast was great. Good start.
In short, Canadian Comedy Awards: Great idea. Execution of said awards: Needs work. The whole point of the awards show is to celebrate Canadian comedy, so why not invite everyone to the party?
Photo: Backstage at the 2013 Canadian Comedy Awards (l to r: Graham Kay, Jon Dore, Tom Green, Mike MacDonald, Jeremy Hotz, Rebecca Kohler and Greg Schroder).