From the Publisher
A rollicking, behind-the-scenes look at Canada''s favourite
A staple of CBC television for fifteen years, with diehard fans
numbering in the millions, Canada''s Royal Canadian Air Farce
exemplifies brilliant comedic mayhem. Written by the founding
members of Air Farce-Roger Abbott and Don Ferguson-this candid
memoir, full of anecdotes, photographs, scripts, and other
memorabilia from the authors'' private collection describes every
aspect of their hard-scrabble early life in 1970 as an onstage
comedy troupe, their historic run on radio, and their spectacular
success on prime-time television.
With contributions from many of their longtime friends and
collaborators, including Dave Broadfoot (whose "When I regained
consciousness" tagline is now part of the Canadian vernacular), and
the irrepressive Luba Goy, Air Farce takes readers behind
the scenes, and onstage, into the day-to-day creative vortex of one
of the most popular comedy shows in the history of Canadian
- Offers unprecedented access to the intimate workings of
Canada''s legendary comedy troupe-from their days as "something fun
to do on Sunday nights" in theatres to their arrival on Canadian
television, as one of its highest rated shows
- The authors share the highlights, lowlights, successes, and
tragedies that resulted from their Air Farce collaboration
Offering a no-holds-barred look at the key players that turned
comedy talent into prime-time gold, Air Farce offers their
legions of fans a genuine keepsake destined to last at least as
long as the troupe''s forty-year career-if not longer.
From the Jacket
The Farce is with us because it is us. From their zany, crazy,
bizarre minds we have learned to laugh at ourselves for a very good
reason we''re funny. It just took Air Farce to make us realize it.
Long live the Farce."
In my lifetime the Air Farce were always with me. I never much
liked going to soccer practice when I was a kid but I loved the
drive home; it meant my father and I would listen to Air Farce
together. Usually we would end up sitting in the driveway, in his
truck, listening to the last ten minutes, not taking a chance to
run indoors in case we might miss something.
I was amazed at what they got away with, how saucy they were and
the reaction they could generate, the laughter and the outrage.
As a kid I not only wanted to do what they were doing but I
wanted to understand every joke. This meant watching the news,
reading the paper and asking questions. They got me addicted to
news and current affairs, they taught me it was okay to kick up and
never kick down.
They were so much more than a group of funny people. They were a
Canadian institution, like CN, The Rockies or the Atlantic cod
stocks; always there when you needed them."
The Farce took it to the next level after Wayne & Shuster
with a kind of participatory comedy. They helped us laugh at
ourselves and we love that self-deprecating kind of comedy in
Canada. In my experience of being on the show, you were just
encouraged to be yourself and have fun, and I think that''s what
everybody in the end did, and that''s what made it work."
I know both Roger and Don were instrumental in bringing my show
to CBC, although neither of them ever mentioned it. Without the Air
Farce I don''t believe there would be any comedy shows on the CBC
schedule. It would just be news, hockey and documentaries about
Air Farce were deeply important to me as a comedian. They were
Canadians, out there, doing a show, being funny and reaching an
It was one of those shows in Canada that went on forever, that
went through generations of actors and all sorts of insane talent
and original ideas. The backbone of our industry is shows like
About the Author
ROGER ABBOTT was born in England in 1946. He immigrated to
Canada in 1953 and grew up in Montreal, where he began his
broadcasting career off-the-air in programming and management in
DON FERGUSON was born in Montreal in 1946. He too worked in
private radio and as a photographer and documentary filmmaker until
he discovered that comedy writing and performing were more fun.
Friends since they were thirteen, Roger and Don both stumbled
into comedy in 1970 with the improvisational comedy troupe, The
Jest Society. In 1973 they became two of the founding members of
Royal Canadian Air Farce, which ran for 24 seasons on CBC
When Air Farce made the jump to a weekly television series in
1993, it became an instant hit. It was one of the highest-rated
series in Canada for 16 years, and over that time its average
audience topped 1 million viewers. The annual Air Farce New Year''s
Eve special has garnered huge ratings.
Winners of the Governor General''s Performing Arts Award in 1998
and recipients of a star on Canada''s Walk of Fame in 2000, Roger
and Don and their fellow Air Farceurs became the first Canadian
inductees into the International Humour Hall of Fame in 1992.
Air Farce was the recipient of fifteen ACTRA Awards for radio
and television, and a Juno for best comedy album. At the 2000
Gemini Awards, they received both the Earle Grey Award for Air
Farce''s body of work in Canadian television, and the viewer-voted
People''s Choice Award for favourite television program, which they
won again the next year. In April 2001, Air Farce was inducted into
the Canadian Comedy Hall of Fame. Roger and Don were also honoured
with the Gemini Humanitarian Award for their extensive charity