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Radio / Royal Canadian Air Farce

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Colonel Stacey: "Greetings, civilians! I'm Colonel Stacey. Some of my close friends call me Theresa."
Audience: "Hi, Theresa!"
Colonel Stacey: *winks*

Royal Canadian Air Farce is a long running Sketch Comedy group which began radio broadcasts in 1973 and switched to TV in 1993, with TV specials before that time in 1980 and 1992. The original stable cast consisted of Roger Abbott, Don Ferguson, Luba Goy, John Morgan, and Dave Broadfoot, many of whom have become institutions in Canadian entertainment in their own right.

The Air Farce's mix of political and cultural satire has been a mainstay of the program, and has in many ways set the mold for political satirists of later years, both Canadian and abroad.

The show came to a close with the 2008 "Final Flight" season, culminating with their series finale on December 31, 2008. However, they've still done New Year's Eve specials since.

For those that want a taste of the funny, the official website has video from every season available for free download.



  • Adored by the Network: In-universe. One skit showed the schedule for upcoming shows for newly created cable channels. The network controlling these extra channels adored Seinfeld, because it appeared on all channels in the same timeslot. But not as much as the Seinfeld channel, which occupied every time slot.
  • Atomic F-Bomb: Taken to it's literal extent with the F-Bombs, which replaced the Chicken Cannon after the series finale.
  • Audible Gleam: Several of the sketches, including the New Years' Eve 2012 spoof of Murdoch Mysteries, employ this.
  • BFG: The Chicken Cannon, Canada's biggest Weapon of Mass Distraction, which the troupe uses to make fun of various people and things in the news (as well as, at the start, Canada's military budget cutbacks in the '90s). It is loaded with Abnormal Ammo: sometimes a rubber chicken, but often a mix of various gawdawful stuff appropriate to the target.
    • Plus jello. There's always room for jello.
    • The cannon was replaced by the aforementioned "F-Bombs" on the subsequent post-finale New Year's Eve specials, which take the form of missiles filled and dropped from the top of the studio in a similar manner.
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  • Brake Angrily: Dave the Cabbie does this at one point when a passenger mentions paying for a purchase (to an associate on the phone, not for the cab ride) with her Visa card.
  • Canada, Eh?: Played with in every single episode. The troupe are accomplished mimics and play regional characters from across the country.
  • Can't You Read the Sign?: In the October 31, 2003 episode, Anne McLellan is at a gun store helping people register their guns. A guy brings his rifle in and puts it on the counter. Anne says, "Ugh, did you not see the sign?" and points to a sign reading "DO NOT bring FIREARMS to gun registry office." The guy looks at the sign and says, "Well, I don't smoke!"
  • Captain Obvious
    Announcer: Coming up next, the overnight forecast.
    Weather Guy: Dark!
  • Catchphrase: Usually at least one per character, taken to new heights in the "Canadian Moment" skits (see also Running Gag)
    • "You got that right!" "You betcha!" "Tell me about it!" "Oh yeah, oh yeah, oh yeah!" "Totally!" (A Canadian Moment)
    • "I'm Mike. From Canmore."
    • The page quote, from the opening of Chicken Cannon News.
    • "No Visa! Take Visa, I kill you!" (Dave the Cabbie)
    • "I'm smarter than you; I'm Gilbert Smythe...Bite-Me." (At The Movies)
    • "How's she goin', my trout?" (Jimmy O'Toole)
    • "Get Stuffed!!" (Jock McBile)
    • "When I regained consciousness." (Sergeant Renfrew of the Canadian Mounted Police)
    • "Now get out of my store! Get out of my store!" (Akbar the Outspoken Convenience Store Operator)
    • Heikki Flergenpootz and Svetlana start their news broadcasts by saying, "Goodnight," and end by saying, "Hello!"
    • "Gosh, I love me." (Stockwell Day)
    • "I'm not bitter." (John Nunziata, usually in an extremely bitter tone of voice)
    • "Hi! I'm Ed Broadbent!"
  • Caustic Critic: Gilbert Smythe-Bite-Me.
  • Comically Missing the Point: Svetlana often does this during ESL News segments. For example, Heikki asks her to give a weather report and she says, "It's pretty warm in here." When he asks her for the health news, she says, "I'm feeling pretty good."
  • Conspiracy Theorist: A recurring conspiracy theorist character likes to share his theories with strangers on the street. According to him, the Kennedys were assassinated by Hitler, George W. Bush and Osama bin Laden are brothers, bin Laden is in Canada working at a gas station, and the Chernobyl accident happened because aliens spilled a Slurpee on the control panel.
  • Dark Horse Victory: The TV show started just before the 1993 federal election and did a prediction of who would win, naturally they chose the funniest answer, the separatist Bloc Quebecois, with the other four parties splitting the rest of the country evenly. Prime Minister Lucien Bouchard commented there would be no point in Quebec separating since he'd be stuck with the rest of Canada.
    • Amazingly, the Bloc proceeded to turn in their strongest result ever, becoming Her Majesty's Loyal Opposition, which no one (else) saw coming.
    • The same joke was used during the 2006 election special, except this time it was even funnier because the then-current leader of the Bloc Québécois was the rather mild-mannered Gilles Duceppe. His actor makes him look like a deer stuck in headlights during the press conference announcing his victory.
  • The Ditz: Mike from Canmore; many others also qualify, but he's the undisputed king.
  • Drives Like Crazy: Dave The Cabbie. Also this news report:
    Heikki Flergenpootz: Quebec drivers can now turn right on red light. Next big hurdle for Ministry of Transportation, getting Quebec drivers to stop at red light.
  • Early Installment Weirdness: Mike from Canmore was originally "Mike from Calgary", his monologue being in front of the city's skyline. The radio show would have him from other cities starting with "C", such as Coquitlam.
  • Horny Scientist: Professor Ick, the unattractive and extremely horny female scientist.
  • Limited Wardrobe: Jimmy and Seamus O'Toole. Seamus always wears a yellow raincoat and matching rain hat and Jimmy always wears the same outfit in black. The New Year's specials are a slight exception; Jimmy and Seamus have their collars pulled down to show that they're wearing tuxedos under their raincoats.
  • Long-Runners: Fifteen years, not including the show's decades on CBC radio.
  • Malaproper: Jean Chrétien.
    Jean Chrétien: We are both flatulently bisexual.
    Bernard Lord: I think you mean "fluently bilingual."
    • So much so that an "English to Chrétienadian dictionary" became a punchline prop.
  • Metaphorgotten: In a Season 8 episode, Joe Clark tries to give a Rousing Speech in the House of Commons, but it's not terribly inspiring:
    Joe Clark: I would like to go on record as saying how good it is to be back in the House of Commons, riding a wave of glory while hanging ten on the Conservative board of optimism, and shooting the curl of success as I, uh, well, uh, that's as far as I can carry this stupid surfing metaphor.
  • Must Have Caffeine: Stavros the Espresso-Drinking Greek in the "English As A Second Language News" segments. Valerie Pringle is another example; she chugs entire pots of coffee during the early morning news. This trope may also apply to the "Canadian Moment" gang, considering how much time they spend at the coffee shop.
  • Naked People Are Funny: David Suzuki's appearance on Air Farce had him walking in for an interview wearing only his glasses and a briefcase. He speaks in Double Entendres, announces his new show "The Nature of Thingies", and opens the briefcase to show off his "genetically altered banana".
  • New Year Has Come: The Air Farce television series had a yearly New Year's Eve special, "Year of the Farce", with sketches poking fun at the year's events, and usually ending with the Chicken Cannon dealing with the worst people of the year. The Backdoor Pilot for the series was the 1992 edition, and fittingly, the series finale for the television series ended up being the December 31, 2008 episode. They still do reunion specials, though.
  • No Indoor Voice: SHEILA COPPS! YA HEAR ME?
  • Operator from India: In a Season 14 episode, a woman calls an alarm company when someone tries to break into her house. She reaches an overbooked operator in New Delhi who keeps putting her on hold to handle calls for Air Canada, Dell Computers, a pizza parlor, and an escort service.
  • Pilot Movie: "1992: Year of the Farce" was the first Air Farce special to be specifically intended for television (The first special was simply a televised version of the troupe recording the radio version), and ended up being a Backdoor Pilot for the Air Farce television series which debuted later in 1993.
  • Real Men Wear Pink: A very macho sports host character's favorite sport? Synchronized swimming. (He "gets wet just thinking about it".)
    • "You don't like synchronized swimming and you dare to call yourself Manley?"
  • Running Gag: 75% of any given show is composed of Running Gags. Many of the most popular skits keep coming back on the strength of recognizability and running "bits" within them.
  • Special Guest: Many a politician or newsmaker has found themselves on the show, whether they agreed to it or not. Also, stars from other similar shows have made appearances, most notably when Rick Mercer from This Hour Has 22 Minutes appeared to mentor character Seamus O'Toole, who was trying to deliver a "streeter"-style commentary in Rick Mercer's style.
    • Jean Chretien took the opportunity to critique his portrayal as sounding more like Preston Manning.
  • Talk About the Weather: In the December 13 2002 episode, two guys are waiting for a bus in winter and they start a conversation consisting solely of variations on the phrase, "It is cold!" Then a woman walks up and asks, "Cold enough for ya?" and the three of them start/continue talking about the cold. Then another guy walks up and makes a few comments about the bus being late. The other three people ignore him, then he says something about how cold it is and the others immediately include him in their conversation.
  • Unusual Euphemism:
    • When a skit requires a character to say "the F-word", they use the word "pup", sometimes quite obviously.
    • There's also a rather risqué sketch from the October 15 2004 episode featuring a bureaucrat (Jessica Holmes) explaining why government money was used to fund a film about the male sex organ, only she doesn't want to use a word that might offend people so she replaces it with "bicycle." "The film makers are also looking for men who are willing to show their bicycles on camera. Apparently men are happy to talk about their bicycles, especially with other men who might have slightly smaller bicycles. So that's why the government is putting money into this film project. But if you want me to be perfectly honest, I think men spend far too much time thinking about their bicycles."
    • Another sketch featured a scientist doing a report on sex, while replacing all the terms with city names. The reporter who is interviewing him ends the sketch by saying "I'll never look at a map the same way again!"
  • Verbal Backspace: Happens fairly often.
    Stockwell Day: Let's look at the facts surrounding my leadership of our party. Since I took over, our founder, Preston Manning, has announced he's getting out of politics. We've had quite a few members leave the party. The latest poll puts our popularity just below E. coli bacteria. Okay, let's not look at the facts.

    Afghani Puppet: People have the wrong idea about Osama bin Laden!
    Peter Mansbridge: Then he's not a bloodthirsty fanatic who's lost touch with the real world.
    Afghani Puppet: Oh. I guess people do have the right idea.


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