Canada has always been the neglected younger child while the United States struts across the world stage puffing his chest, Canada sits meekly alone.
But that is quickly changing as Canada content has made some splashes world wide – especially with hits like Schitt’s Creek, Working Moms, and Kim’s Convenience. Schitt's Creek, especially, has really broken through in a way that not a lot of even American-produced comedies have done lately. It doesn’t hurt that the main star, Eurgene Levy has been a successful comedic actor for decades and has stared in hits like American Pie and Best In Show.
Eugene Levy and his son Dan secured CBC secured as the Canadian broadcaster, but the shows producers thought the show’s concept could also do well south of the border — something that's eluded many Canadian-made comedies for decades, even as Canadian comedians such as Mike Myers, Martin Short, Seth Rogen, and Jim Carrey became household names. Schitt's Creek, in particular, is enjoying a rare combination of commercial and popular success.
Dan and Eugene Levy, the show's creators and stars, already had CBC secured as the Canadian broadcaster. But Schwartz, a Canadian well established in the U.S. TV system, thought the little show with the funny title just might work there as well.
It's a show that started with a wealthy family, a riches-to-rags story that in itself doesn't seem like anything we haven't seen before," says Schwartz. "But the writing and the acting is so phenomenal, that the little things happen in the episode and the characters learn from those little things that happen, that change them in the next episode, and change them in the next episode."
The show benefited from being on a smaller network in the U.S, where it could find its legs, make mistakes, and grow its audiences gradually before being growing. It didn’t hurt that Netflix picked it up last year, exposing the show to a whole new audience.
In another fictional Canadian town, a group of characters have made their way into the hearts of American audiences. Letterkenny, the comedy, has aired on Crave TV in Canada and is based on the popular YouTube series by actor Jared Keeso, called Letterkenny Problems. The original YouTube videos were gaining a lot of viewership globally mostly in North America, Australia, and England.
Then there is Workin’ Moms which is a little dark generally for CBC and Canadian broadcasters but has made waves across North America. Show creator Catherine Reitman has created a gritty show that shows the underbelly of society, and modern-day pressure all from a feminine point of view. It is superbly written and is one of those rare shows that manages to tightrope walk comedy with serious issues.
The new generation of Canadian comedies benefited from the exploding universe of streaming platforms. Before, a Canadian comedy would have to compete for a spot on one of the major American networks where it would have to go head-to-head with some of the best funded and most aggressively marketed comedies in the world such as Friends, Fraser, and Seinfeld, but now they are free to be discovered by a whole new audience.
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