A while back I did a top 10 british comedies list and while my love of British comedies comes from living over there, I find it amazing that Canadian TV for the most part was completely under my radar. Sharing a border, a language and even having similar accents (Pre Harry Potter, that "funny accent" of the british was a common complaint I heard when trying to introduce British comedies to my friends) and yet our neighbors to the north rarely get play in the US beyond the borders. There are a few that do (Most notably Trailer Park Boys which gets a by for it's family Guy/Southpark level of humor, and Degrassi which played on public TV a lot) but there is a lot more up there probably even more than this paltry list shows (hence the top 5 not top ten) but there is a lot high quality TV up there, here is just a sampling of my favorites.
5- Little Mosque on the Prairie- Thanks to the miracle of the internet, and Hulu needing some original progamming this show is available readily in the US, I kept seeing ads for it when we were on Hulu, so why not? My wife (a bit of a hardcore catholic herself) fell instantly in love with the series. A small town with a heavy muslim community, the show focuses on Amir their mosques new Imam. It is the kind of wholesome comedy you can watch with the family, except xenophobic uncle Bob who will flat out refuse.
4-Puppets who Kill- A halfway house for criminal puppets may not sound like an appealing concept, but hot damn does this ever work. The group dynamic is pretty spot on and has a great mix of heartwarming and creepy to work. Plus who doesn't like Bill?
2-The Kids in the Hall- One of my favorite sketch comedy shows of all time, the Canadian group brought us so many incredible characters. MC Simon Milligan, and Hecubus, The Flying Pig, The Sizzler Sisters, and let's not forget Buddy Cole. ahead of it's time and still a work of genius, it's no shock that this one was a hit in both countries.
1-SCTV- Saturday Night Live is practically an institution at this point. I doubt it will ever go off the air. with it's 38 year old history, and being a breeding ground for talent from John Belushi to Phil Hartman to Kristen Wigg. But this was the show that the original not ready for prime time players followed. it was the comedian's comedy show. It was also a lot tighter than SNL using the backdrop of a 3rd rate UHF Station run by Guy Cabbelero as a backdrop, the sketches weaved into this tapestry. Even the musical acts were part of the show, as opposed to the SNL let's take a break from the comedy and suffer through the flavor of the month band. the musical acts in SCTV were part of the show. Case in point: John Cougar Melloncamp, appeared in a parody of The Jerry Lewis film in which Ed Grimley (Played by Martin Short) took the potion and transformed into Melloncamp. He then played about half a a song (Jack and Diane) before reverting back to Grimley who tried in desperation to complete the set. and Just like SNL and Kids in the Hall, there were so many damned awesome characters, from Count Floyd, and Johnny LaRue, to the Makenzie Brothers and Edna Prickley. It's Canada's Monty Python. and a true classic.