The first time I heard about CBC’s satire This Is That, I wasn’t sure what to think. I had jumped into the middle of an interview with a man from the “Toronto Arts Alliance” who thought that all Canadian Arts institutions should be moved to “Canada’s artistic capital – Toronto”. As absurd as the proposition was, the man was so convinced in his Toronto-centric thinking. He felt so darned believable in his absurdity that I did a mental double take. Combine this with the fact that this is coming through the CBC and you can’t help but laugh at being momentarily duped.
Seeing the show performed live at the Lower Ossington Theatre as part of Toronto’s Sketch Comedy Festival was a great opportunity to get a peak at how the show is put together. All characters are played by Pat Kelly & Peter Oldring. They fluidly move from segment to segment and juggle the roles of interviewee and interviewer like a hot potato. Their ability to step into very different and yet still believable characters is almost uncanny.
There was a Molson Canadian ad rep who wanted to rename the Northern Lights to the “Molson Canadian Northern Lights” and a Victoria-based cat lover who was campaigning for a cat park. One of my favourites was the head of the Canadian mint who announced an upcoming move to a completely paperless economy because “knowing how much money you have by weight is fun” and that going to the ATM would be like winning at the slot machines every time.
Although the situations were preposterous, the satire was biting. You could almost imagine knowing a person just like that. This was amazingly fun. I only wish Kelly & Peter would have interacted with the crowd a bit either before or after the show.