A great week for Canada here on the Pacific seaboard in Tinseltown, U.S. of A. Impressed by the success of Ry Cooder's unearthing of of a lost generation of Cuban musicians with the Buena Vista Social Club CD, ITV executives have announced plans to revive its classic 70's comedy variety format, The Wheeltappers and Shunters' Club, replacing the original line-up of tough, Northern working class stand-up comedians with some of Canada's greatest living singer-songwriters!
Laughing Lenny Cohen: "Give order!! On behalf of the committee, when I said drink Canada dry..."
Executives are convinced that the show - originally compered by Colin Crompton - will be an even bigger hit in the hands of his successor, veteran tunesmith Leonard Cohen. The pre-publicity claims the show "will amaze and delight a whole new generation of viewers". "We loved the spit and sawdust atmosphere and rough and ready humor of the original show", said a spokesperson for the broadcaster, "but we just felt that it needed a little injection of sophistication in order to appeal to a modern audience. That's why we've gone for the Canadian singer-songwriters - what could be more sophisticated than a graceful, pithy chanteuse like Joni Mitchell telling blue jokes and having a go at gays and mothers-in-law?"
Martha, Martha - I love you can't you see!!
Mitchell and Cohen will be joined by Neil Young, Robbie Robertson and brother and sister act Rufus and Martha Wainwright. The latter have come up with an interesting take on some of the staple routines beloved of the Northern working men's club comedy acts. "We felt that it was time to bring the working man's club act into the noughties", said Martha. "Rufus does a great anti-straight spoof of Bernard Manning and Jim Davidson - picking on all the foibles of manly, meat and two vegs masculinity. He is to the 'Ooh er missus gag' what Charlie "Alright Precious" Williams was to the racist joke. For my act, I try to bring a feminist slant to the Mother-in-law gags beloved of comedians such as Les Dawson and Bernard Manning. I keep the same format as before only I have made my own father the target of the jokes. So instead of saying 'I wouldn't say my mother-in-law's ugly, but the last time I saw a face like hers it was being milked', with me they go something like 'I wouldn't say my Father's ugly, it's just that whenever he looks in the mirror, he's a bloody m*therf*cking *sshole..' and so on and so forth."
Young: "Whine, women and song..."
Veteran rocker Neil Young was looking forward to his new role and brushed off suggestions that the subtleties of his work would be missed in the rough and tumble, hurly-burly atmosphere of the Northern club circuit. "Heck, I'm used to it", responded the gruff Canuck legend, "after all, I've been a miner myself - for a heart of gold."
Wheeltappers and Shunters Social Club will be broadcast in the Spring.
Love on y'all,