Federal Tories Push Drastic Changes To Canada’s Longform Improv

Toronto, Canada (TMD) Ignoring the advice of several leading industry professionals, Federal Industry Minister Tony Clement announced today that the Harper Government would be instituting sweeping changes to Canada’s longform improvisation process. Chief among these changes are shortening the length of longform sets (from the usual average of 25 minutes), restricting the number of allowable “tag out” edits, and outlawing the “Harold” format entirely.

“We’ve been listening to our constituents, and they have consistently voiced their displeasure over the longform improv they are subjected to in this country,” said Clement at a press conference in Toronto. According to the minister, the main complaints concern:

  • The excessive length of longform improv shows (often more than 25 minutes, with multiple sets).
  • The prying, invasive nature of many improvisers questions to the audience, which often have little bearing on the improvisation that follows.
  • The unfocused, unconnected, often meandering content of the shows.
  • The coercive tactics that many improvisers employ to get people to attend their improv shows, including repeated and invasive Facebook invitations, calling in of favours, and insistence that their new improv team “is really starting to gel”.
  • The public’s confusion over “what the hell is a ‘Harold’, anyway?”

Members of Marmot Genocide, moments before being drowned out by a nearby softball team.

Clement was quick to credit the excellent information the government was able to use to make this decision. “Yeah, we had some really great census information that helped us make this decision. Age breakdowns, demographics, this information was really great. Two points, Stats Canada!”

Since the announcement of the changes to Canada’s longform improv, improvisers from across the country have been united in their opposition to the changes. “These changes were made without any industry consultation whatsoever” said Cara Leblanc, member of the all-girl longform “Armando” team Crimprov. Speaking from the back of a Shoeless Joe’s sports-themed bar and grill where Crimprov’s show was about to begin, Leblanc was vociferous in her outrage. “These changes are being made to reflect Conservative ideology, and do not reflect the will of the majority of Canadians,” Leblanc explained before drawing boos from the scattered crowd after she shut off the projection television showing the Blue Jays/ Yankees game. “Seriously, without the government’s full support of longform improv, where are teams like the Golden Graham Greenes, Marmot Genocide, California Shriveled Grapes, and Team Edward Kennedy going to perform their art?”

“By the way, this show is gonna be okay, but I’m doing a wicked tournament-style improv show next Tuesday. It’s only $5 – I’ll get you a flyer.”

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Glenn Beck Revealed To Be Post-Modern Performance Artist

New Canaan, Connecticut (TMD) After decades in the public spotlight, extreme conservative-libertarian radio and Fox News personality Glenn Beck has revealed himself to be avant-garde performance artist Joseph Vostell. At a press conference held outside of “Beck’s” $4.2 million colonial mansion, the renowned conceptual artist removed his brush-cut blonde wig, pasty mask, and heavy set prosthetic suit before stunned reporters.

Vostell removes his lifelike "Glenn Beck" mask.

“In the late eighties, I became fascinated as America was polarized by the emergence of conservative talk radio. I devised this elaborate performance art experiment where I would create a wholly fictitious and purposefully ridiculous media personality, to subvert and challenge the American perception of what news “was” and see how far I could hold and manipulate the public’s trust”.

“Obviously, I never expected it to go this far.”

Vostell was best known in his native Germany, emerging in the late 1970’s as part of a Berlin intermedia collective Kreis-Mechanismus. Vostell was best known for his installations using mechanical clowns to recreate bible scenes, and his 1983 Berlin work which saw him dress in blackface and hurl tomatoes from a street corner for 8 straight days. Nothing, however, would indicate the scope and dedication needed for him to create a fictional American TV pundit and insert him into the public consciousness for almost 20 years.

“At first it was frightening, but I started small,” said Vostell of his early days portraying “Beck” as a small-time radio zoo-crew DJ with no political leanings or policy education whatsoever. “I figured, if I’m going to commit to this project, I should create a character who is totally unsuited to become a major media pundit. Go big or gehen Sie nach Hause.”

Over the years, as the Beck-character gained notoriety as a nationally syndicated radio host, Vostell continued to push the envelope, painstakingly crafting increasingly ludicrous things for his libertarian alter-ego to say on air. “Oh yes, like in 2006 when ‘Glenn’ accused Muslim congressman-elect Keith Ellison of ‘working with our enemies’. I figured, ‘there’s no way they’re going to buy this one!'”

As the elaborate, decades-long performance art installation comes to a close, Vostell seems both relieved and saddened to be saying goodbye to his creation. But he maintains his disbelief that anyone would believe for a second that “Glenn Beck” was a real person.

“Anyone who would spout such incendiary, deliberately provocative, and misleading statements night after night on TV and the radio would either have to be a deeply cynical individual motivated purely by profit, or an authentic wacko” opined Vostell.

“Clearly,” he added, “I am a performance artist. It’s the only reasonable explanation.”

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Federal Tories Hit Mid-Life Crisis Hard, Purchase $9 Bil Jet Fighters

Ottawa, Canada (TMD) Four years after gaining control of the House of Commons the PMO has, in a fit of mid-life panic, committed $9 billion to purchasing a flashy new fleet of F-35Fighter Jets. Avoiding questions about the National Deficit and Healthcare Spending, the Conservatives have recently been excitedly showing off their new impulse purchase.

As Defence Minister Peter MacKay held a press conference Friday to announce the contract for the new foreign-made jets, reporters seemed more interested in his attire: a leather jacket and expensive sunglasses combo, accompanied by an uncharacteristically tight pair of Levi’s jeans. “Many people question Canada’s need for such an expensive and high-end fleet of jet fighters. They ask when we’re ever going to use these planes, and claim we’ll look ridiculous flying them. To those critics, I say ‘Stop trying to tie us down! We deserve a change!'”

Stephen Harper, dressed as casually as he can manage.

The Conservative Party has reportedly been taking stock of it’s tenure in office, remarking how it had “completed most of it’s goals”, and “become fairly comfortable in power”. This complacency can also be seen in the Conservative’s recent weight-gain in the senate region, when only a few years ago the Conservatives had been talking about “slimming their senate down”.

With this recent, largely unnecessary, purchase of 65 new fighter planes, the gossip around Parliament Hill is that the Conservatives are desperately trying to reclaim some of their youthful vigor. Many Conservative MP’s, such as Lee Richardson (Calgary Centre) and Greg Thompson (New Brunswick SW), have been heard loudly reminiscing about the “old, majority days – back when we were younger, stronger, and put the progressive in Progressive Conservatives”.

Even Prime Minister Harper has exhibited signs of a Midlife Crisis, notably with his high-profile announcement of a trade deal with the younger, more exotic nation of Tajikistan. “Tajikistan and I are very happy together, even if some people think we’re not right for each other. We’re not really worrying about long-term trade goals – we’re just looking to have some fun. No pressure!”

Other motions rumored to be in the works from the Conservatives include a “Bob Dylan Appreciation Day”, as well as a private members’ study on “the possible beneficial effects of decriminalizing marijuana”.

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British Petroleum: “We Did It!”*

New Orleans, Louisiana (TMD) Nearly an entire month ahead of schedule**, and after only 5.2 million barrels of oil have been spilled***, British Petroleum has succeeded**** in capping the blown-out well. “This oil spill has been a terrible tragedy for everyone involved*****, and but as we at BP have stated all along,  we are committed to making things right******” said BP CEO Tony Hayward, from an undisclosed location.

A new day for BP.

“It kind of makes that whole $20 billion damages fund seem a bit unnecessary. We’ll have to take a look at that” added BP senior vice-president Ken Wells. As champagne corks popped and Kool & The Gang’s Celebrate played over the press conference’s speakers, he urged cautious optimism while the engineers do their crucial work. “For the next few days, the eyes of the whole world will be fixed on the well integrity tests. Now if you’ll excuse me, I have a flight to a non-extradition treaty tropical country to catch*******.”

*Tests are to continue over the weekend. A well capping at this depth has never been attempted, let alone been successful.
**The August estimate for drilling a relief well was, at best, a worst-case scenario.
***Independent monitors place the amount as high as 8.7 million barrels.
****”Success” will not be determined for some weeks.
*****BP stock has already climbed 8%, the regions fisheries will be devastated for generations.
******”Making things right” is a purposefully vague, non-legally binding statement.
*******Likely Taiwan, Vietnam, or the Marshall Islands.

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Conservative Omnibus Bill Includes Opposition Wedgies, Wet Willies

Ottawa, Canada (TMD) The Conservatives’ Omnibus “Budget Implementation Act” passed the senate this week, containing many provisions which are only now coming to light: namely controversial “Liberal Wedgie” clauses and “NDP Purple Nurple” budget measures. Bill C-9, originally intended to compile several smaller measures from the Conservative Government’s spring budget, has grown to include measures affecting Canada Post, and the potential sale of Atomic Energy of Canada Ltd, among other things.  Though the budgetary measures of the Omnibus Bill will continue to be debated by the Senate Finance committee, several provisions were adopted into law overnight. All of these laws were aimed squarely at the government’s opposition parties.

Parliament Hill, where opposition members now fear to tread.

“Apparently, any time a Conservative MP addresses a member of the opposition by their first name, they have to bark like a dog” explained exasperated Liberal MP and finance critic Bob Rae, after reading the Omnibus bill for evidently the first time. “I’m less concerned about the Tories exempting certain commercial projects from environmental oversight, and more concerned about Conservative MP’s being able to ride me to and from work!”

Conservative MP’s in both the House and Senate immediately took the newly passed laws for a spin, demanding pocket change from Jack Layton and eating the lunches of several Bloc Quebecois members. In one extreme case, Industry Minister Tony Clement delighted in forcing a stray group of Liberal back-benchers to sing the Spice Girls “Wannabe”. Questioned as the whether the Omnibus bill included any kind of Senate reform (a key Conservative campaign promise), Clement responded “for years, the Liberals passed these same kind of Omnibus bills. I spent most of 1996 dancing the Macarena whenever Paul Martin saw me in the halls.”

“Now if you’ll excuse me, it’s time for the honourable member from Scarborough Centre to lick the floor.”

When asked why the Liberals did not challenge this Omnibus measure in their role as official Opposition, Liberal Leader Michael Ignatieff had this to say: “By opposing the Conservatives, the Liberal party would only invite an election which we fear we cannot win. By sitting back, making few waves, and asking our members to abstain from key votes, surely we will eventually re-ascend to our rightful place as Canada’s natural ruling party”

He added “Now, could you zip up my party dress in the back? I have to be at the PMO in ten minutes.”

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World Cup Ends, Crippling Depression Returns

Johannesburg, South Africa (TMD) With the final match of the 2010 World Cup ending in a 1-0 victory for Spain, football fans the world over are now returning to the grey drudgery that is their routine lives. Everyone involved in this tournament, from fans, to players, and even vuvuzela enthusiasts must now face the end of the World Cup of Football, and prepare for another 4 years of cold, meaningless nothingness.

In Mexico, football enthusiasts simultaneously grapple with the futility of existence.

During the month-long World Cup, reports of widespread revelry, well-being, and general camaraderie pointed to an unusual “Joy Spike” in the world’s population. Football fans the world over reported curious feelings of “happiness” and “excitement”. As of press time Monday morning, these feelings have been widely reported to have passed.

Even in the United States, a nation which routinely shuns football (or “soccer”) on general principle, sports fans were reported to be flocking to the beautiful game in droves. Now that the tournament is over, this trend is forecasted to return to its usual 0% interest.

Benson, the very face of nihilistic horror.

“When we have glimpsed, by an overwhelming and readily renewable intuition, anyone’s own uselessness, it is incomprehensible that everyone has not done the same. To do away with oneself seems such a clear and simple action!” said Joe Benson, 27, an apprentice plumber and recent Team USA booster, of Newark, New Jersey. He added, “Why rebel any longer against the symmetry of this world when Chaos itself can only be a system of disorders? Also, how long until the NFL preseason? Oh God!!!”

Abroad, citizens of the world are expected to find the return to their day-to-day, World Cup-less lives to be nothing short of soul-devastating. Remarked one Brazilian football fan “Yeah, turns out all the stuff we were avoiding thinking about during the World Cup: war, disease, the economy – it’s all still here! And in some cases, it’s much worse!”

He added “Oh shit, the oil spill! How’s that going these days?”

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Shriners Convention Paralyzes Downtown Toronto

The shriner fleet, in full force.

Toronto, Canada (TMD) The MacIntyre Dispatch was on site for Tuesday’s Shriners International Parade, in Downtown Toronto. As the Shriners rode down University Ave in a parade of miniature cars, here’s what some people on the ground had to say:

“Leave it to the undemocratic Shriners Organization to paralyze the downtown core. I’m sure Harper can’t wait to suck up to the big Shriner organization, and get his hands on one of those little cars.” Amy Torres, 23

“I’ll bet those idiot protesters are already getting angry at the Shriners for no reason. They probably can’t even name any of the 20 Grand Master Shriners who will be in attendance.” James Little, 53

“What?! The Ancient Arabic Order of the Nobles of the Mystic Shrine are in town?! Why, what do you call them?” Gene Abella, 32

“I just can’t believe the giant fake media fez the government built, when there are so many real fezzes around.” Lisa Hennigar, 28

“Wait until the protesters see the miniature detention centre we have waiting for them.” Officer Mark Brown, 38

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