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Top 10 Best Canadian Comedians
We have done many lists that are quite “American” and have even received the odd complaint about it, so, coupled with the fact that Canada has recently celebrated thanksgiving, it is appropriate to do a Canadian list to give thanks to Canada for the great comedians they have given us! Be sure to add your own favorites to the comments.
Born in Vancouver British Columbia, in 1982, Rogen is the youngest comedian to appear on this list, but I have included him, to show that Canada can still produce great Comedian’s, and to show what may be coming. Rogen got his start in the television show Freaks and Geeks. But his big break came in the movies. He has stared in such movies as The 40-Year-Old Virgin, Knocked Up. He also stared in and co-wrote the movies Superbad and Pineapple Express. Rogen has many films in the works, and I believe we will see much more of him.
Born in 1944 in Toronto Ontario, Michaels is not known for his comedic acting or stand-up, but is important on this list because he is the founder/producer of Saturday Night Live. Michaels co-created, arguably the most famous and longest running sketch comedy show in 1977. A show at which gave the start to many famous comedians. Although he is not an actor, he has produced 19 movies, many of which were SNL spin-off’s (Wayne’s World, A Night at the Roxbury, and Superstar) as well as recent movies like Mean Girls, and Hot Rod.
Born in Regina Saskatchewan, in 1926, Nielsen got his start, not in Comedies, but in dramatic movies, and television shows playing doctors, police officers and lawyers. Although starting his acting career in the 50’s his comedic breakthrough came in the 80’s with the cult classic, Airplane! Next for Nielsen came a comedy show called Police Squad, which parodied famous police dramas. This show was cancelled after only six episodes, but, six years later, Police Squad was turned into a movie, and The Naked Gun movies were born. After two sequels, Nielsen became the king of spoofs, and even appeared in the more recent, Scary Movie franchise.
Born in 1948 in Brantford Ontario. Hartman joined the cast of Saturday Night Live in 1980, and was a regular cast member for eight years impersonating many, including former president Bill Clinton. After leaving SNL, Hartman appeared on the sit-com News Radio, as well as doing many voices for the Simpsons (Troy McClure and Lionel Hutz). Hartman’s life was cut short. On May 28th, 1998, Hartman was shot and killed in his sleep, by his wife.
Born in Hamilton Ontario, in 1946, Levy is yet another SCTV alum. He graduated from McMaster University in 1969 (my alma mater). Where he went to work with Second City and SCTV. Levy has made appearances in many movies, but is most known as the well-meaning father in the American Pie movies.
Born in 1970, in Brampton Ontario, Russell Peters is one Canada’s favorite Stadnd-up comedians. He got his start in Toronto, but his comedy has been appreciated all over the world, selling out shows in Canada, the US and Dubai. The jokes that he tells are more like observations that he has made about the world around them, mostly concentrating on race and culture. Peters is still touring around the world!
Born in 1954 in Toronto Ontario, Catherine O’Hara, is the female representative for this list, though she is not the only female Canadian comedian. O’Hara got her start at Toronto’s Second City, where she was famous SC/SNL comedian Gilda Radner’s understudy. She became a regular on SCTV. She was casted on SNL, but never appeared in an episode, and chose her alma mater, SCTV when it was bought for American television, and appeared on NBC. On SCTV O’Hara was known for her celebrity impression’s which included, Elizabeth Taylor, Katharine Hepburn, Linda Blair, Lucille Ball, and even Meryl Streep. O’Hara also stared in many movies, such as Beetlejuice, Home Alone 1 and 2, and Christopher Guests mockumentary A Mighty Wind (just one of 4 Christopher Guest movies she appears in).
Born in 1950, in Toronto Ontario, Candy is much loved Canadian Comedian. Candy got his start at Toronto’s Second City Comedy, and eventually moved to Second City Television. A popular Canadian skit show out of Toronto. In the 80’s Candy made appearances in movies such as The Blues Brothers, Stripes, and Ghostbusters, and Splash. By the late 80’s Candy was staring or costarring in movies such as Uncle Buck, Brewster’s Millions, or Planes, Trains and Automobiles. In 1989, Candy produced, my personal favorite, Camp Candy, and animated show about summer camp. Candy’s career continued into the early 90’s, but was cut short, but his tragic death in 1994. Candy died of a Heart attack at the age of 43. His final, fully completed movie (because he died half way thorough shooting Wagons East) was Canadian Bacon, thus proving (even in a satirical way), that he was a true Canadian.
Born in 1963 in Scarborough Ontario, Myers got his start with the famous Second City players in Toronto. Here he was able to hone his improv skills. In 1988 he moved to Chicago and trained at Second City’s famed training centre which has produced comedian’s such as, Tim Meadow’s Stephen Colbert and Steve Carell. In 1989, Myer’s became a cast member of the long running comedy sketch show, Saturday Night Live. It is also on SNL where he performed his most famous character, Wayne Campell. Myers was seen on SNL until 1995. It was the success of Wayne’s World skit that rocketed Myers in to movie stardom. In 1992, Wyane’s World was made into a feature film with a sequel to follow. He followed this up with popular movies such as the Austin Powers trilogy, as well as the Shrek trilogies, in which he grossed, $10,000,000. He went on to make the “Love Guru”, but I’m just going to ignore that.
Born in 1962 in New Market Ontario, Jim Carrey got his start doing stand-up in Yuk Yuk’s in Toronto Ontario, where he very quickly became a headliner, and the age of 19. Jim quickly progressed into movies, but became more of a household name on the long running Wayan brothers variety show, In Living Colour. After having bit parts in little known movies, Carrey landed the role as quirky private investigator in 1994’s Ace Ventura, Pet Detective. From this, Carrey grew to become a leading man in over 20 notable movies where he is grossing over $25,000,000 per movie, and has worked with numerous leading ladies such as, Jennifer Aniston (Bruce Almighty), Nicole Kidman (Batman Forever), and Kate Winslet (Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind).