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This Hour Has 22 Minutes Format: comedy

 Created by: Mary Walsh

Starring Cathy Jones, Mark Critch, Shaun Majumder, Gavin Crawford, and Geri Hall

Country of origin: Canada

No. of episodes: 22-24 per season, 15 seasons

Original channel: CBC Original run: 1993 – Present

This Hour Has 22 Minutes is a weekly Canadian television comedy that airs on CBC Television. Launched in 1993 during Canada's 35th general election, the show focuses on Canadian politics, combining news parody, sketch comedy and satirical editorials. Originally featuring Cathy Jones, Rick Mercer, Greg Thomey and Mary Walsh, the series featured satirical sketches of the weekly news and Canadian political events. The show's format is a mock news program, intercut with comic sketches, fake commercials and humorous interviews of public figures.

Its name is a parody of This Hour Has Seven Days, a CBC newsmagazine from the 1960s; the "22 Minutes" refers to the fact that a nominally half-hour television program is actually 22 minutes long to make room for commercials.

Jones and Walsh had previously worked together on the sketch comedy series CODCO, on which Thomey sometimes appeared as a guest. Mercer had been a notable young writer and performer on his own, touring several successful one-man shows of comedic political commentary.

Recognized with 24 Gemini Awards and 11 Canadian Comedy Awards, 22 Minutes is broadcast on the CBC Television network. It is taped before a studio audience in Halifax, Nova Scotia.

Cast

Cathy Jones (1993– ) as anchor Sydney Dubizzenchyk (a reference to former CBC anchor Tina Srebotnjak, who had become the host of Midday in 1992) and various correspondents and sketch characters

Shaun Majumder (2003– ) as anchor Tucker T. Bartlett and various correspondents and sketch characters.

Mark Critch (2003– ), as anchor Bas MacLaren (in homage to two well-known Newfoundland radio announcers, Bas Jamieson and George MacLaren) and various sketch characters.

Gavin Crawford (2003– ), as anchor Gavin Cooper and various sketch characters.

Geri Hall (2007- ), served as a fill-in anchor in October & November 2004 and later in March 2007. Geri later became a permanent anchor in October 2007.

Former members

Rick Mercer (1993–2001) as anchor J.B. Dickson and various correspondents and sketch characters. Mercer left the show to devote more time to Made in Canada; after that show ended he launched Rick Mercer Report, a series very similar to 22 Minutes and Comedy Central's The Daily Show.

Colin Mochrie (2001–2003) as anchor Anthony St. George and various correspondents and sketch characters. Mochrie left the show after two seasons to pursue his own projects and other movie roles. Mochrie guest starred on the January 27th, 2006 episode.

Mary Walsh (1993–2004) as anchor Molly McGuire and various correspondents and sketch characters. Walsh appeared less often in season 11 and left the series to pursue her film career and also continue to host Mary Walsh: Open Book, a CBC series in which she moderates a celebrity panel discussing books and literature.

Greg Thomey (1993–2005) as anchor Frank MacMillan and various correspondents and sketch characters. Thomey appeared less often in season 12. Thomey no longer appears on 22 Minutes as of 2006.

Substitute anchors/Special correspondents

Substitute news anchors on the series are people who "guest star" on the series for when series regulars are away (from Season 10 onwards).

Mark Farrell - (February 1999) Jonathan Torrens - (September/October 2002)

Dan Joffre - (February 2003) Jenifer Robertson - (November & December 2003)

Kathy Greenwood - (October & November 2004-)

Shauna MacDonald - (October 2005 - November 2005)

Tracy Dawson - March 10, 2006

Rebecca Northan - (November 2006 & March 2007)

 

Regular characters and segments

 Talking to Americans

Rick Mercer tours the United States, talking to Americans as if from a Canadian news program, asking them about "Canadian issues." The object is to see how little some Americans know about their northern neighbours. The piece was so popular that the CBC had Mercer create a one-hour TV special based on the segment. It became the highest rated comedy special in Canadian television history when it aired on Canada Day, 2001. Some truly memorable bits include Rick Mercer getting Americans to say "Congratulations Canada on legalizing VCRs!" and getting a professor at Princeton University to sign a petition against the re-starting of the Annual Toronto Polar Bear Hunt. In an election 2000 segment, he convinced then-Governor of Texas George W. Bush that Canada's Prime Minister Jean Chrétien was named Jean Poutine and that he was supporting Bush's candidacy. The success of the CBC special got Mercer attention on numerous American media outlets, including ABC News Nightline. Mercer abandoned the concept after Sept. 11, 2001.

No Pun Intended

A Ludacris-ish Indian rapper/politician played by Shaun Majumder who frequently raps about election issues and what he will do if elected. Gavin Crawford as "Mark JacksonBabe Bennett

A 22 Minutes "sexual affairs correspondent" played by Cathy Jones, Babe is a sassy suffragette, 1940s style, who talks about sexual matters. She ends each segment by saying "I'm just goofin' around!"

Marg Delahunty

Mary Walsh crashes press conferences, hosts a "sleepover" for the nation's leading female (and gay) politicians, and threatens to "smite" the likes of politicians as "Marg Princess Warrior" (a loose parody of Xena).

Mark Jackson

22 Minute's Teenage correspondent that talks to politicians and who is played by Gavin Crawford. (The character is carried over from The Gavin Crawford Show.)

Bas MacLaren

A 22 Minutes correspondent portrayed by Mark Critch. He talks to politicians about current events and is also one of the 22 Minutes anchors.

Misses Enid & Eulalia

Two elderly women who talk about daily events (portrayed by Cathy Jones and Mary Walsh, respectively). Upon Walsh's departure from the show, Jones has appeared alone as Miss Enid. (The characters were normally introduced as "the Misses Enid and Eulalia", meaning "Miss Enid and Miss Eulalia", but this was frequently misunderstood by viewers as "Mrs. Enid" and "Eulalia" without an honorific.)

Streeters, aka The Rant

A weekly commentary on current events and political issues which quickly became the show's most famous feature by Rick Mercer in black and white presentations. This segment was later used in colour presentations on the Rick Mercer Report series.

 

Regular characters and segments continued

Max Pointy

A spoof of CBC personality Rex Murphy's political commentaries for The National, performed by Colin Mochrie. Max would start off with a legitimate political issue but end up on an unrelated and generally inane point by the end of his rant.

That Show Sucked!

with Ma and Eddie Reardon (portrayed by Mary Walsh & Greg Thomey) who make fun of TV shows, with Ma saying that whatever show that Eddie watches "Suck" and constantly demanding that he give her "the G.D. clickerbox".

The Quinlan Quints

four quintuplets (the fifth one went missing and has never been found) who live in Buchans, Newfoundland and Labrador; portrayed by Cathy Jones, Rick Mercer, Greg Thomey and Mary Walsh (Colin Mochrie plays Mercer's quint role for seasons 9 and 10).

Inside Media Counter-spin

A satirical talk show with the host portrayed by Cathy Jones. The host makes blatantly stereotypical statements about her guests.

Panic Room with Betty Hope

Host Betty Hope (played by Cathy Jones) parodies Nancy Grace in "breaking news" style segments, in which she interviews someone knowledgeable about a given threat and then spins the facts to make them sound more dramatic and dangerous.

The Right Answer

Two commentators (played by Rick Mercer and Greg Thomey) debate various issues in the news. When one of them makes a point, they hit a chess timer.

The Special Eds

Mercer and Thomey portray two members of the RCMP - Special Constable Ed Cochrane and Special Constable Ed Codner - with questionable ethics.

Nathan Fielder On Your Side

Nathan is a reporter for 22 Minutes asking the strangest questions in one-on-one interviews, as well as questions you wouldn't expect to be asked in a TV interview. His segments usually start with a shot of people walking along a street. He talks almost exclusively in a monotone and has laughed once, to date. He also claims to be allergic to dogs.

Crawford's characters

Stuart McLean Based on the CBC personality.

Uwe Meyer a fashion correspondent that Gavin Crawford portrays. (The character is carried over from The Gavin Crawford Show.)

Gunter Wilson a computer whiz who hosts the segment "Computer Corner".

Natasha Stillwell Based on the former co-host of Discovery Channel's show Daily Planet.

Mark Jackson The teen correspondent of the program, has severe acne and is repeatedly picked on, also talks with a basic braces lisp.

Critch's characters

Rex Murphy Based on the CBC personality.

Danny Williams Based on the premier of Newfoundland & Labrador. On the October 16, 2007 episode, the real Danny Williams kicked him off and took over his seat in the news desk during the show's first segment.

Jones' characters

The Campbell Files With Sandy Campbell who talks about the entertainment industry

Joe Crow An Aboriginal environmental "correspondent" who talks about the environment and the Canadian government's relation with Native peoples. Each segments ends with Crow blowing out his campfire with a single puff.

Miss Enid

An elderly lady with plenty to say about many different issues.

 

Majumder's characters

Raj Binder

a sweaty soft-spoken Indian sports nerd portrayed by Shaun Majumder, who has also been used as a behind-the-scenes interviewer on Just For Laughs.

Ian Hanomansing Based on the CBC personality.

 

Mercer's characters

Billyatropia "Billy" Smithopolis An "outstanding" Canadian sports athlete. Billy has a fear of heights and, according to one skit, is the only Canadian going to the 2008 Olympic Games for sure.

Mochrie's characters

Max Pointy Based on CBC radio personality Rex Murphy

Peter Mansbridge Used in Mansbridge One on One parody skits, where "Peter" has insightful interviews with himself.

 

Thomey's characters

Jerry Boyle a Newfoundland separatist whose campaign slogan is "If you can mark an X, you're my kind of people!" The character was created as a recurring character on CODCO.

Ottawa Gargoyle

A gargoyle who sits on top of the Parliament buildings and satirizes politicians, occasionally throwing hot oil on them.

Tim MacMillan Foreign correspondent who's (almost) never where he's supposed to be. He's also Frank MacMillan's brother. His segments would open with a recurring style of dialogue. "Hello, Tim?" "HELLLOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!" "Are you in Geneva?" [pause.] "NOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!"

 

Walsh's characters

Connie Bloor

A 22 Minutes Prairie correspondent played by Mary Walsh, who reports from a donut shop. Introduced in each segment by the line: "She's flat as the prairies and twice as wide," she wears a tuque and earmuffs, and her speech is punctuated with a series of snorts. One of her recurring gags involves feeding paper printouts of celebrities and politicians through a paper shredder.

Dakey Dunn

A 22 Minutes "Male Correspondent" played by Mary Walsh, replete with gold chain, hairy chest, cigarette and beer, who regularly lays out a macho view of economic and cultural matters. This character was earlier used in the CODCO series. Dakey also once accosted Margaret Atwood at a book signing, reciting one of her most famous poems over and over again.

Famous stunts

Jean Poutine

1999-2000 - During the American election campaign of 2000, Rick Mercer approached Republican presidential candidate George W. Bush on a campaign stop in Michigan, asking for comment on the news that Bush had received the endorsement of Canadian prime minister "Jean Poutine". (The then-prime minister's name was Jean Chrétien, and he had not endorsed Bush — it is standard practice for the Canadian government not to endorse anyone in a foreign election.)

Bush accepted the endorsement with a short and grateful speech to the 22 Minutes cameras, which aired as part of the show's regular Talking to Americans feature. In his first official visit to Canada four years later, he joked that his "one regret" about the visit was that he'd "hoped to meet Jean Poutine."

Oilers vs Canadiens

2003-04 - Shaun Majumder, in character as "Raj Binder", was sent to report on the 2003 outdoors Edmonton Oilers and Montreal Canadiens old timers game, preceding the night's actual NHL regular season game, which was the first NHL game to be played outdoors (at Commonwealth Stadium in Edmonton). Raj actually sneaked into all the team photos, causing uproar from the event's unwitting organizers in the days after, when the photos were released to the press.

 

 

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