"This Hour Has 22 Minutes is a satirical examination of daily events. Some viewers may not share this sense of humour."This Hour Has 22 Minutes
— Opening Announcement
is a long running
political satire show on CBC
set up as a a fake news show. The title comes from a famous and controversial weekly Canadian news show from The Sixties
called This Hour has Seven Days
(whose impact was widely felt enough that they could make a reference to it in 1993 and people would still get the joke). 22 Minutes is a half-hour show, and subtracting commercials they have about 22 minutes of actual content each episode.
"What kind of show is this anyway?"
— Peter Fonda
"We're 22 Minutes. We're like the news, but drunk."
— Bas Mac Laren
The show is mostly sketch comedy revolving around current political issues, and is pretty much evenly split between the 'news anchors' interviewing fictitious people, monologues or dialogues from various recurring characters and actual interviews with real people, mostly politicians.
Very popular in its early run, made a national star out of Rick Mercer (who later struck out on his own with The Rick Mercer Report
), and to a lesser extent Mary Walsh. At times, its influence on the Canadian political scene could be compared to the current influence of The Daily Show
and The Colbert Report
on the American scene: as an example, there was a period when the Canadian Alliance (the then-right wing of the Canadian political landscape) was advocating a California-style referendum system, in which a petition signed by three percent of the population would cause a referendum to be held on the petition's subject. Rick Mercer picked up on this, announcing his plan to submit a petition for legislation to force Stockwell Day, the then-leader of the party, to change his first name to Doris. This resulted in well over three percent of the population "signing" on the show's web site by the next morning. It is arguable that this single event crushed Day's hopes for ever gaining the Prime Minister's office, although he later joined the government front bench. What is inarguable is that referendum idea was quickly and quietly dropped from the party's platform immediately and never brought up by them again.
"At this time, we need to look to Canada's poets for inspiration. And when we think Canada, when we think poets, we all think... Trooper!"
[Cut to montage of Canadian politicians singing along to "Raise A Little Hell"]
Despite the irreverant and sometimes viciously cynical attitude towards all sides of Canadian politics that the show displays, Canadian politicians are remarkably willing to do guest spots and interviews on the show.
Even the ambush reporting done by "Marg: Princess Warrior" and other personas of the four cast members is popular, and few politicians have tried to escape or failed to bear up with good grace. The fact they are also on other networks at the time, as most ambushes are done during a Media Scrum
, may have something to do with this.
Compare with The Daily Show
and The Colbert Report
"Well, that's the way we saw the world this week."
— Rick Mercer
This show provides examples of:
- Attack of the Political Ad: Parodied several times. For example, a series of ads from the Conservative party mocked Stephane Dion, the leader of the Liberals at the time, by calling him a nerd and claiming his name is not masculine enough.
- In another, a voice over actor continually screws up recording for the NDP. He was supposed to say how the Liberals have a bag of money and should be given them the boot, but instead talks about the NDP having a boot, or giving the Liberals a boot, or describing the animation of the commercial.
- Autocannibalism: In one fake campaign commercial, Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper cuts himself so he can collect and drink his own blood.
- B Roll Rebus: Parodied by having Nathan Fielder take an object out of his coat that matches each noun.
- Canadian Accents: Specifically, heavy Maritime or Newfoundland accents; the production company is in Halifax, and the original four were all from Newfoundland.
- Couch Gag: The second disclaimer at the start of each show.
- Country Matters: During one “Computer Corner” segment, Gunter Wilson abbreviates the phrase “See you next Tuesday” in an unfortunate way.
- Duck Season, Rabbit Season: A non-confrontational variation is used in one of the "Sportsbag" sketches, in which Greg Thomey plays an aging sports pundit who clearly had a few (hundred) head injuries during his own sports career, and talks completely in non sequiturs. His co-host plays along by also talking in non sequiturs, causing Thomey's character to start making sense.
- Gossipy Hens: The Misses Enid and Eulalia.
- Hollywood Nerd: Mark Jackson (Gavin Crawford), the teen correspondent, looks and acts like the stereotypical Type 1 nerd.
- Insane Proprietor: The finance minister as Crazy Jim Flaherty, selling off CBC shows.
- Karma Houdini: Somehow, former Quebec Premier Lucien Bouchard managed to become the only politician ever to effectively escape the clutches of Marg, Princess Warrior.
- Lovable Sex Maniac: All of Geri Hall's characters.
- Media Scrum
- N-Word Privileges: In one sketch Gavin Crawford interrupts a co-anchor's report to apologize for having said "the n-word". A clip parodying the Kramer rant is then shown, with Gavin shouting "Newfies!" a couple of times.
- News Parody
- Running Time in the Title
- Schemers: Recurring characters the four Quinlan Quints.
- There are actually five quints, though in a show with only four regular cast members it's obviously difficult to depict all five at once. The running gag is that one of them is always missing or absent at any given time — although admittedly this isn't always explicitly called attention to anymore, relying sometimes on fan familiarity with their backstory.
- Secret Other Family: In one of the New Year's Eve specials, Rick Mercer plays a taxi dispatcher who is relaying a message to one of the cabbies, telling him his wife on the east end found out about the wife on the west end.
- Sketch Comedy
- Tongue on the Flagpole: In one segment, an eco-terrorist who was responsible for blowing up a pipeline in British Columbia offers some advice to other terrorists. He insists the media was wrong about no one being hurt, since he licked the pipeline not knowing his tongue would get stuck. Things got progressively worse when the bear showed up.
- Who's on First?: Done with Shirley and Bill discussing Telus and Bell.