One of the city’s best known and most influential comedic institutions makes its return to national television this weekend…sort of.
This past summer, in the midst of its 61st Mainstage revue (Tazed and Confused), Toronto’s chapter of the Second City theatre company was approached with the idea of turning select live sketches from the previous show, Facebook of Revelations, into produced sketches for television. The goal was not so lofty as to attempt to recreate the classic (and partial Simpsons-rearing!) SCTV series and was instead the modest brainchild of independent producer Cullen Fairfield:
I was working on The Second City’s Next Comedy Legend for CBC, so I was introduced to the talented folks at Second City and had seen Facebook a few times for different reasons. During one of the shows I started thinking about the sketches as short films and how funny they would be re-imagined for the screen.
Once Fairfield had the support of Second City Toronto Executive Director Klaus Schuller and the directorial vision of Ryan Keller, the trio collectively decided which sketches had the best stage-to-screen potential. The on-camera chops of the stage actors were never a concern. Fairfield assures that “the Facebook cast is a very talented group of writers and performers and [are] so versatile, I knew the idea could be very successful if we could make the idea a reality.” (And if you’ve turned on a television in the past year you have probably been witness to now-departed but then-Facebook cast member Jim Annan honing these very skills in seemingly every commercial, ever.) Funding for all four shorts was secured through Bravo!FACT grants, and production with the six-person cast was underway.
This Sunday, Dec. 7, at 7:30 p.m., the collection gets its premiere broadcast on Bravo!FACT Presents, on—you guessed it—Bravo!. The program will also feature interviews with the cast and crew. And if a new incarnation of one Toronto comedy institution isn’t enough funny for you, hold tight: The Kids in the Hall are coming back too. Treading new ground after reuniting for a tour and even a surprise anniversary gig at the teeny tiny Rivoli earlier this year, the Kids will trade sketch comedy for a yet-to-be-written eight-episode miniseries.
Photo by Theodore Bezaire.