Canadians are funny people – not odd (although some are), but humorous. And our comedians? They’re hilarious. Canada is the birthplace of some of entertainment’s most successful comedians by any measure (even for what’s trivial, like the number of times Canadian duo Wayne and Shuster appeared on The Ed Sullivan Show – 67, if you want to know).
Our ability to make the world laugh is something we take so seriously, that we teach it. Two colleges, one in Montréal and the other in Toronto, offer post-secondary programs in comedy writing and performance. Comedy is also big business. Montréal’s internationally renowned bilingual festival, Just For Laughs, is a magnet for tourists. Canadian impresario Lorne Michaels’s Saturday Night Live in New York has remained on the air for decades, launching many Canadian comedy careers. For more than 50 years, Toronto’s Second City troupe has been a training ground for generations of comedians – and was where the sketch comedy show SCTV began.
The funny people honoured in this stamp issue are some of the many Canadian comedians who keep us laughing.
Jim Carrey: Comic genius
Jim Carrey was born in Newmarket, Ontario, on January 17, 1962. The youngest of four children, Carrey was a natural entertainer who gave his first stand-up performance when he was just 14 years old.
It wasn’t long before Carrey became a staple on Toronto’s comedy circuit. In 1979, he took a leap of faith and moved to Los Angeles, where he quickly made his mark with appearances on An Evening at the Improv and The Tonight Show and as a regular on the sketch comedy series In Living Color.
Hollywood soon came calling – and Carrey answered with starring roles in some of the most successful movies of all time, including Ace Ventura: Pet Detective, The Mask, Dumb and Dumber, Liar, Liar, The Truman Show and Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind. In addition to winning two Golden Globes and 10 MTV Movie Awards and earning a star on Canada’s Walk of Fame, Carrey is also one of the biggest box office stars in the world; his films have grossed more than $2.5 billion.
Photography: Steve Granitz | Getty Images
Ace Ventura: Pet Detective – Courtesy Morgan Creek Productions
The Mask; Dumb and Dumber: TM/MC and © New Line Productions, Inc.