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Friday, 16 December 2016 02:09

Air Farce New Year’s Eve 2016

Written by  Dennis Kucherawy
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CBC’s “Air Farce New Year’s Eve 2016” Returns A Day Early – Dec. 30th

Two national icons… “Hockey Night in Canada” and “Air Farce” … slug it out for airtime this New Year’s Eve

By Dennis Kucherawy

This New Year’s Eve, Alec Baldwin shall weep.


Watching Canadian TV for the first time, Donald Trump shall grab his hand-held and tweet furiously with his tiny, orange, baby carrot fingers.

The reason? Craig Lauzon’s hilarious Trumpster impersonation on CBC-TV’s annual Air Farce New Year’s Eve.

Actually, New Year’s Eve comes one day early for the CBC farceurs because Hockey Night in Canada is scheduled for Saturday, Dec. 31st and nothing bumps CBC’s sacrosanct shrine of national identity.

So, before you can say “What, the puck?,” Air Farce will premiere at 8 p.m. (8:30 p.m. NT) on Friday, December 30th. You could call it New Year’s Eve, Eve. Encore broadcasts will air nationally on Dec. 31st.

And that’s not all that’s new for Canada’s venerable variety/current affairs/ comedy show.  For the first-time ever, women in the troupe out-number the men four to three.

Significantly, fan favorite Jessica Holmes is returning after a six-year hiatus.  She said she was nervous as she had not done sketch comedy during that time.

“Last year, I watched the New Year’s special and began missing the show, everything about it,” she told Song & Script.  “It’s a whole, giant family of people who have been together for years.

“So I e-mailed Don Ferguson (one of the two remaining Farce founding members) and asked him `Do you have room for one more?’  When I began rehearsing, I found it all came back, just like riding a funny bicycle.  Doing (her character) Sister Bessy was when I felt I hadn’t forgotten what I knew.”

In this year’s show, she also plays Sophie Grégoire Trudeau in a farce film:  “I’m not a natural dancer, so dancing badly was right up my alley!”

Holmes recalled she joined the Air Farce team when she was 27 or 28 years old: “I worked full-time with them for six seasons. It was a very impressionable relationship.”

She regards the late Roger Abbot and Don Ferguson as “two of her greatest `career’ AND life mentors,” and calls her return a “full circle moment.”

The same is true with Craig Lauzon, who joined Air Farce as a featured player in 2002, then as a team member in 2004, 12 years ago.  “I can’t believe it’s been that long,” he told Song & Script.  “I feel like I just started.  I miss Roger Abbot – he was a phenomenal guy.  I can’t believe I’m one of the longest people on the show.  I think I’ve done more shows now than (the late founding member) John Morgan which floors me!”

Members of the current cast include founding members Don Ferguson and Luba Goy, veterans Jessica Holmes and Craig Lauzon with newcomers Aisha Alfa, Darryl Hinds and Emma Hunter.

He says the current troupe makes it a truly Canadian show.

“We now have two people in their 70s, two women in their 30s, one in her 20s, a native guy and two people of color,” notes Lauzon.  “It’s unfortunate Penelope (Corrin) and Alan (Park) left.  But the new people have such diversity and represent Canada well.”

In this year’s show, Craig does a hilarious impression of US president-elect Donald Trump.  it is a triumphant union of acting and his makeup and hair by Sue Upton, who is also a visual artist.  “She is phenomenal,” said Lauzon.  “She does those BMO commercials where Sir John A. Macdonald comes alive off the $10 bill.”

But “doing” Trump is not as easy as some may think, Lauzon says: “People think it’s an easy impression, but I found it very hard.  With some people, there’s a thing you can hook into.  (Former PM Stephen) Harper is stiff.  He has so many things you ask what do you choose to go with?”

In response to Alec Baldwin’s popular portrayal on Saturday Night Live, Lauzon wanted it “to be my own thing.  I worked hard to get the voice down.  I don’t feel I’ve nailed the voice quite yet.  He’s got these physical hands; he walks like (the Addams Family’s) Lurch.  He’s a lumbering kind of guy.  His shoulders are lunched.  I just wanted to put energy into him and make the impression my own.”

In keeping with the Air Farce New Year’s tradition, special guests appear:  actor Yannick Bisson (Murdoch Mysteries) who plays a Canada 150 sesquicentennial re-enactor; Peter Mansbridge, preparing for his retirement by helping Don Ferguson deliver the “fake news” summary of the year; and Christine Sinclair, soccer superstar who “fans” the Olympic flame for a young admirer.  Other surprise guests consist of:  Ron MacLean from “Hockey Night in Canada,” party leaders Tom Mulcair (NDP) and Elizabeth May (Green Party) and MPs Tony Clement and David Christopherson.

Of course, Air Farce’s popular F-Bomb will take revenge on some of the year’s most irritating celebrities chosen by visitors on airfarce.com. Pictures of the top five will be splattered by the Farce-Bombs filled with “monstrously, messy guck dropped from 50 feet above.

Is there any challenge to who the Number One target this year will likely be?

Show Times

Encore broadcasts of “Air Farce” will air on New Year’s Eve as follows:

Full hour show at 10 p.m.:

Ontario, Québec, Manitoba and Saskatchewan

Full hour at 12:05 a.m.:

British Columbia, Alberta and the North; and a

Half-hour versions:

11 p.m. – Maritimes; 12 midnight – Newfoundland

The entire one-hour special will repeat on New Year’s Day at 7 p.m. (7:30 NT).

For more details and updates, please visit airfarce.com.

Facebook:  Facebook.com/AirFarceCBC

Twitter:      @AirFarceCBC

By Dennis Kucherawy    

Last modified on Friday, 16 December 2016 02:15
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