“Best of Bob and Doug MacKenzie” from SCTV

For your consideration … here’s 20 minutes of Bob & Doug MacKenzie clips recorded for various “SCTV” episodes during the early 1980s.  The origin for the MacKenzie brothers came from the Canadian government who insisted that “SCTV” broadcast two minutes of exclusively Canadian “content.”  SCTV producer/writer/performer Dave Thomas was flabbergasted at such a demand, so he decided to give them the worst stereotype of Canada he could possibly think of.  Thomas and fellow SCTV cast member / writer Rick Moranis gave them two dumb drunk Canadians who talked about nonsense for two minutes.  Thomas said that all of their clips were made up on the spot and because they were recorded at the end of the day when everyone went home … they took full advantage of this time to … well … to unwind … meaning that beer they were enjoying was real.  I think that’s called method acting, eh.

The irony, of course, was that this throwaway bit, done with as little preparation as possible, wound up becoming “SCTV”‘s most popular recurring segment, leading to a Top 10  album in the US and a feature-length film for MGM in 1983 called “Strange Brew.”  I’m sure any similarity with the creation of the MacKenzie Brothers and Spike Lee’s “Bamboozled” is purely coincidental.

If you’re at all interested in the MacKenzie Brothers, “Strange Brew” or SCTV in general, you’re encouraged to check out the mammoth 4-hour podcast from the Projection Booth about all of these things.  The podcast is hosted by Mike White, Skizz Cyzyk, and actor Craig Bierko (“The Long Kiss Goodnight,” “Cinderella Man”) and features interviews with Thomas, screenwriter Steve De Jarnatt, actress Lynne Griffin (“Pam”), and author Jeff Robbins.  It’s a beauty, eh.

“Gimme Jackie” from SCTV (1983)

From the 1983-1984 Cinemax-era in SCTV’s history comes their brilliant parody of the infamous Rolling Stones documentary “Gimme Shelter” … reimagined as a vehicle for Martin Short’s brilliantly obnoxious albino lounge singer Jackie Rogers Jr. called (what else?) “Gimme Jackie.” Only instead of the Hells Angels wreaking murderous havoc on the crowd, Jackie hires the Shriners … who prove to be an all-too-formidable and frightening security force. Watch closely and you’ll see many striking similarities between Short’s Rogers character and Mike Myers’ Austin Powers character that appeared over 10 years later.

This is a great example of why SCTV was … and still is … one of the most brilliant concepts in the history of world comedy. This was humor for very culturally savvy folks and you either got it immediately or you needed to do your homework. Brilliantly funny stuff.

As a bonus, the first minute and a half features Dave Thomas’s spot-on Mel Gibson impression … when Gibson was still more of a cult actor in Canada and the United States.