Demers and McMahon: facepalmfree political humour

by Emmet Matheson


Charlie Demers And Ryan McMahon
University Of Regina
Saturday 11

comedyAbout once a week, someone in my Twitter feed posts a link to something horrible and unfunny said by the @CouncillorFord Twitter account and I feel obliged to point out that that’s not the real Doug Ford, merely a “parody” account. Trouble is, Doug Ford does indeed say horrible and unfunny things. It’s not much of a satire to merely put other horrible and unfunny words in his mouth. When that happens, it doesn’t make laughs so much as it produces facepalms. When politicians already act like they’re in a bad Saturday Night Live sketch (see also: Paul Calandra), political humour can lose its appeal.

So thank goodness we’ve got comedians Charlie Demers and Ryan McMahon. They avoid the obvious in their politically rooted humour.

Better yet: both will be in town for a fundraiser for Saskatchewan’s historic Briarpatch magazine this month.

Demers, who recently celebrated 10 years in stand up, is probably best known nationally for his frequent appearances on CBC Radio’s The Debaters. In Vancouver, he’s rightly celebrated for his non-fiction book Vancouver Special and his comic novel The Prescription Errors. He’s also a playwright; Cinderella: An East Van Panto (a panto is a farcical children’s play that could also appeal to adults), will open in December.

This summer, Demers released a web series called Will Power, a darkly hilarious, ultra-low-budget serial about a pair of brothers reading their late father’s will with a lawyer. Will Power co-starred Sean Cullen of Corky & the Juice Pigs and Ryan Beil of those A&W commercials. You know the ones.

Ryan McMahon, meanwhile, is an Anishinaabe/Métis stand-up comedian from Manitoba who might be best known for his Red Man Laughing podcast series. Red Man Laughing’s in-depth interviews with First Nations figures like a Tribe Called Red, recent Polaris Prize winner Tanya Tagaq and Justice Murray Sinclair bristle with McMahon’s unique humour and curiosity. He also had an hour-long comedy special on CBC TV in 2012 and one on CBC Radio this year, which aired on National Aboriginal Day.

Demers and McMahon aren’t touring together and this show is a one-off event. Both comedians are ranked among the best in the country, so if you can make it, you should. Expect a facepalm-free event.

You can catch Charlie Demers and Ryan McMahon at the University of Regina Education Auditorium on Saturday, Oct. 11 at 7:00. Tickets at $15, available from Briarpatch (2138 McIntyre St.) or online at (search for Briarpatch Comedy Fundraiser).