The 2023 Nominees
Nominated as Legacy (2 to be voted in by industry members)
- Oliver Guimond
- Happy Gang
- Beatrice Lillie
- Rose Ouellette
- Marie Dressler
Nominated as Creators – (2 to be voted in by industry members)
- Sandra Faire
- Keith Johnstone/Loose Moose Theatre
- Robert Gravel and Yvon Leduc/ Ligue Nationale d’Improvisation
- Jo-Anna Downey
- Perry Rosemond
- Joe Bodolai
Nominated as Performers – (5 to be voted in by all members)
- The Cast of SCTV
- The Cast of CODCO
- Steve Smith
- Elvira Kurt
- Al Waxman
- Jim Carrey
- Eugene Levy
- Martin Short
- Billy Van
- Mary Walsh
For the re-introduction of the Hall of fame names were suggested by the board, the committee and through the website. The board and the committee narrowed the list down to the final list.
Names not elected will remain in the list as per the nomination rules and guidelines.
Voting is open to members and memberships are available at http://canadiancomedyhall.com
Olivier Guimond (Montreal May 21, 1914 – November 29, 1971)
There is no question that Quebec supports it’s artists and one of it’s favourites Ti-Zoune Jr. (Olivier) Guimond was a natural. His parents were pioneers in the wave of burlesque that swept Quebec in the 1920’s. He convinced his parents to let him perform as Olivier “Ti Zoune jr.” His performance and characters fueled the rise of comedy on radio and on television (Music Hall), but they were honed live in burlesque. Guimond was physical, charming, and often compared to Charlie Chaplin. He worked with the legendary Rose Ouellette and many others. The sketch Trois Heures de Matin, perfected in the live burlesque shows, is one of the most famous sketches to come out of Quebec.
Guimond played the lead in the series Cre Basile and released several comedy albums. In 1966 he was crowned Monsieur Radio- Television at the Gala Des Artist. One of his last performances was Bye Bye the New Year’s special on Radio Canada. He plays a French soldier guarding a rich white home in Westmount on New Year’s during the October Crisis – topical, poignant and legendary.
The Happy Gang (comedy troupe radio show CBC 1937-1959)
In its hay day two million Canadians tuned in to hear the ‘knock-knock ‘on the door, the voice that answered, “Who’s there?” The response “It’s the Happy gang” and the warm welcome, ”Well Come on in!” And the variety show entertained, boy did it entertain.
During WWII the Happy Gang records were played on trans-Atlantic crossings, and back home the song “There’ll Always Be an England” was performed nearly every day by The Gang to give all hope. Bert Pearl was the band leader and Master of Ceremonies, trumpeter Bob Farnon, violinist Blain Mathe and Kathleen (Kay) Stokes rounded out the original four-member troupe/band. In 1975 they did a special show at the CNE with many of them now in their ‘80s. They were so delighted as over 20,000 people showed up to remind The Happy Gang they will never be forgotten.
Beatrice Lillie (Toronto May 29, 1894 – Jan 20, 1989)
Beatrice Lillie came naturally to performing, touring Ontario in a trio with her mother and older sister while Dad was running their home as a boarding house in Toronto. The actor moved to England performing in West End revues until 1922.
Lillie developed her own style and her debut on Broadway in 1924 was met with lavish reviews. Not limited to the stage, she starred with fellow Canadian Jack Pickford (brother of Mary Pickford) in Exit Smiling, but retuned to Broadway and Vaudeville at the Palace Theatre. She was soon deemed the funniest woman in the world. Her friends: Noel Coward and Cole Porter, wrote for her and she performed some of their works including: This Year Grace and Mad Dogs and Englishmen.
She continued wowing audiences on both sides of the Atlantic and was known as the Queen of the double entendre. She perfected the double entendre over her career and that skill was highlighted in her Broadway epic “An evening with Beatrice Lillie”.
Rose Ouellette (August 25 1903-September 14 1996)
- Also known as La Poune
- Sometimes Worked as a duo with Olivier Guimond (Ti Zoune)
- Director of the Theatre National
- Her show was sold out, including matinees, for 17 years.
- First Quebecoise artist to record for RCA Victor.
As a pioneer of burlesque theatre and comedy in Québec, Rose Ouellette influenced several generations of francophone artists and comedians. Her talent and contribution to the Québec stage was rewarded with several awards and distinctions. In 1983, she was awarded the Félix tribute award during the ADISQ Gala. In 1991, she was awarded the Prix Victor award at the Festival juste pour rire (along with Juliette Pétrie). She was inducted as a Knight of the Ordre national du Québec (National Order of Québec) in 1990. A street in Montréal has since been named in her honour.
Marie Dressler (born Leila Marie Koerber, November 9, 1868 – July 28, 1934
Marie was a Canadian stage and screen actress, comedian, and early silent film and Depression-era film star. In 1914, she was in the first full-length film comedy, Tillie’s Punctured Romance, opposite Charlie Chaplin. She won the Academy Award for Best Actress in 1931 for the comedy Min and Bill.
Sandra Faire (Edmonton died Feb 27, 2019)
The late Sandra Faire’s four-decade TV producing career spanned comedy, music and dance (So You Think You Can Dance Canada). She began in the ‘70s as associate producer for a Toronto-filmed series starring U.S. comic George Kirby. She went on to nurture many Canadian comics with Comedy Now!, Comedy Inc. and The Holmes Show (starring future Air Farce member Jessica Holmes). With 199 episodes, each showcasing a single stand-up, Comedy Now! gave national exposure to Canadian comics. Episode stars included: Brent Butt, Russell Peters, Gavin Crawford and Shaun Majumder.
Keith Johnstone/ Loose Moose Theatre (February 21, 1933 - March 11, 2023)
Chicago gets most of the credit for modern improv comedy. But far away, in the unlikely mecca of Calgary, a contrarian British educator and playwright named Keith Johnstone decided to apply his theories of acting spontaneously to the stage. The Loose Moose Theatre, co-founded in 1977 by Mel Tonkin, gained an international reputation, and inspired long-running improv shows like: Theatresports, Maestro and Gorilla Theatre. Loose Moose alumni include: Kids in the Hall’s Mark McKinney and Bruce McCulloch, Pat Kelly & Peter Oldring, SNL and King of the Hill writer Norm Hiscock, and comedian Roman Danylo.
Jo-Anna Downey (Montreal February 1, 1967 – December 1, 2016)
A comic’s comic, and a comic who nurtured comics, the late Jo-Anna Downey was funny, insulting and warm in equal measure. Her legendary Wednesday night open mike at Toronto’s Spirits nightclub had a wide reputation, attracting major stars like Robin Williams (who received a tongue-lashing from Downey for hogging the stage). On any given night, you could see top Canadian comics trying out new material, drop-ins like Lewis Black and Patton Oswalt, or then-future stars like Ryan Belleville and Debra DiGiovanni. Canadian comedy was her extended family, and that family mourns her still.
Robert Gravel/Yvon Leduc, Ligue Nationale d’improvisation (1977)
In 1977, two members of the Experimental Theatre of Montreal, Robert Gravel and Yvon Leduc, came up with a novel way to inject entertainment into the art of improv. They created a hockey themed Ligue National D’Improvisation, with an “ice surface,” two teams of six actors, coaches, a referee, and an audience with noise-makers and scoring cards. This unique approach to improv utilized referees – complete with a regular season and playoffs – became a viral francophone phenomenon, catching on in France, Belgium, Switzerland and Franco-African nations. At home, the Ligue was televised for years, with a generation of Quebec’s top comics and actors “playing.” Famed playwright Robert Lepage was Rookie of the Year in 1984 and credited it as a major influence in his theatrical approach.
Lorne Michaels (Toronto November 17,1944)
Canadians with very long memories may recall Lorne Michaels’ early ‘70s stint with partner Hart Pomerantz in CBC’s very funny Hart & Lorne Terrific Hour. Its cancellation was a loss to comedy, but Michaels’ decision to pivot to masterminding comedy behind the camera would change everything. His live comedy gamble, Saturday Night Live has been on the air nearly a half-century, giving us generations of break-out comic genius, from John Belushi to Eddie Murphy to Mike Myers to Tina Fey. The show and its stars ignited an ongoing boom in movie comedies. Outside of SNL, Michaels’ keen eye for comedy saw him produce Kids in the Hall and 30 Rock. He holds the record for the most Emmy nominations by one person, with 94.
Perry Rosemond (November, 16 1936)
Born in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada, Rosemond has created, produced, written and directed international television for more than 40 years. His efforts, notably Royal Canadian Air Farce and King of Kensington, have been rewarded with the Order of Canada in his home country, and the George Foster Peabody Award in the United States. Most recently, he executive-produced When Jews Were Funny, which was named ‘Best Canadian Feature Film’ at the 2013 Toronto International Film Festival.
Joe Bodolai (May 11, 1948 - Dec 26, 2011)
Although born in the US, Joe moved to Canada to avoid the Vietnam draft.
His show Comics! was instrumental in launching and showcasing the careers of the best in Canadian comedy : Brent Butt, Mike MacDonald, Harland Williams, Shaun Majumder and Irwin Barker
He is best known for producing such television shows as It's Only Rock & Roll, Comics!, and The Kids in the Hall and helping to launch the careers of the young talent featured on those shows. He also co-wrote the first draft of the film Wayne's World with Mike Myers.
Bodolai was a founder of The Comedy Network, helping the new channel secure its licence from the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission in 1996.
The Cast of SCTV (1976-1983)
The television show and its characters that we all fell in love with evolved from the stage show and improv phenomenon The second City. It featured a cast that had spent time honing their craft on Lombard St at the old Firehall. Created as its own network, SCTV had a station manager Guy Caballero, and a stable of ‘stars’ including Bobby Bittman, Johnny LaRue and Lola Heatherton to name a few. SCTV launched the careers of John Candy, Eugene Levy, Catherine O’Hara, Joe Flaherty, Andrea Martin, Martin Short, Rick Moranis and Dave Thomas. The show also featured recurring characters played by Tony Rosato, John Hemphill, Robin Duke, Harold Ramis and Jayne Eastwood as well as many special guest appearances.
The Cast of CODCO 1973-1993
It’s hard to believe that so many influential comedy ideas and comedy greats came from the east coast and Codco was the main reason. Formed from a 1973 stage show about Newfoundland stereotypes written by Tommy Sexton and Diane Olsen, Codco was performed by: Sexton, Olsen, Cathy Jones, Mary Walsh, Greg Malone and Paul Sametz. By 1974 Andy Jones had joined the cast and in 1976 Olsen left the cast. CODCO continued to grow in popularity with new shows like “The Root Seller” and “The S & M Comic book”.
In 1986 a CODCO reunion show caught the eye of the CBC, and they commissioned a TV show CODCO ran until 1993; sadly, in the same year one of the original members, Tommy Sexton, died. The series was largely performed by Walsh, Sexton, Cathy Jones and Andy Jones with Greg Thomey and Robert Joy.
The humour was often satirical, political and often controversial. The CBC originally refused to air their sketch about the Mount Cashel Orphanage where priests discussed their sexual experiences.
That biting satire and commentary of CODCO evolved into the 1993 show This Hour has 22 Minutes starring Codco founders Cathy Jones and Mary Walsh, regular Greg Thomey and newcomer Rick Mercer. The rest as they say is history!
Steve Smith (Toronto Dec 24, 1945)
A writer, actor and comedian, Steve Smith, created the iconic character Red Green. Smith began in a rock band with his wife Morag. They left the band to form the duo Smith & Smith. Hamilton station CHCH gave the Smiths their own show which ran from 1979-1985. At that time, they took a year off to do a family sitcom, Me & Max. They recreated Smith & Smith as The Comedy Mill which ran till 1991. The Comedy Mill also featured Linda Kash, Meg Ruffman and Peter Keleghan. At this point Morag decided to focus on the family so Steve focused on the character Red Green. Red Green got its TV debut in 1991 and it ran until 2006. During this time Smith also wrote the television show Laughing Matters and a full-length feature Duct Tape Forever. When the TV show ended Steve toured Canada and the US with his one man shows both in character as Red Green and as himself. He received the order of Canada in 2006.
Elvira Kurt (Toronto Dec 9, 1961)
Funny and a trailblazer that’s Elvira Kurt. The first openly lesbian performer on Canadian television, Elvira was the first winner of the Best Stand up Female at The Canadian Comedy Awards. As a stand-up she blazed a trail for LGBTQ rights and created the term “fellagirlly” describing a blend of feminine and masculine traits. She hosted the game show Spin Off and had her own social commentary show called Popcultured that ran for two years on the Comedy Network. She has written and performed on numerous television shows but is known as one of the funniest stand-up comics in Canada.
Al Waxman (Toronto March 2, 1935 – Jan 18, 2001)
Al Waxman was the pioneer of the Canadian comedy sitcom and best known for the character The King of Kensington. Larry King was his character, and the show drew over one million viewers an episode for its run 1976-1980. Al was multidimensional, appearing in Shakespeare in Stratford, the US series’ Cagney and Lacey and Twice in a lifetime. He was inducted into Canada’s Walk of Fame in 2016 and has a statue in Toronto’s Kensington market with the inscription “There’s a lot to do down the road, there’s always more. Trust your gut instincts. In small matters trust your mind, but in the important decisions in life – trust your heart.
Jim Carrey is an award-winning actor and New York Times bestselling author who has been honored for both his dramatic and comedic work. He won a Golden Globe Award, for Best Actor in a Motion Picture – Drama, for the title role in Peter Weir’s The Truman Show. Jim won his second Golden Globe, for Best Actor in a Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy, for his portrayal of comedian Andy Kaufman in Milos Forman’s Man on the Moon.
Over the course of his career, Carrey has also been recognized numerous times by the MTV Movie Awards,
People’s Choice Awards, and Nickelodeon Kids’ Choice Awards. In 2017, Carrey was honored with the Generation Award at the Just For Laughs Festival. Carrey was also honored with the Charlie Chaplin Britannia Award for Excellence in Comedy at the 2018 Britannia Awards. Carrey was most recently seen starring in Paramount’s Sonic the Hedgehog 2 reprising his role as the villainous Dr. Robotnik from the 2020 hit film Sonic the Hedgehog. He stars alongside James Marsden, Tika Sumpter and Ben Schwartz. The film was released on April 8, 2022.
Carrey starred in, and executive-produced, the critically acclaimed Showtime series Kidding portraying Jeff, aka Mr. Pickles, an icon of children’s television. Carrey was nominated for a 2019 Golden Globe Award for Best Performance by an Actor in a Television Series - Musical or Comedy for Kidding and the series was nominated for Best Television Series - Musical or Comedy. Jim Carrey’s novel, Memoirs and Misinformation, a New York Times bestseller, was
published by Alfred A. Knopf on May 5, 2020. Carrey wrote the book in collaboration with novelist Dana Vachon. It is a fearless and semi-autobiographical deconstruction of persona. Carrey and Vachon have fashioned a narrative about acting, Hollywood, agents, celebrity, privilege, friendship, loneliness, romance, addiction to relevance, fear of personal erasure, growing up in Canada, and a cataclysmic ending of the world — apocalypses within and
without. “None of this is real and all of it is true,” says Carrey. In 2017, he showcased his art in the short documentary Jim Carrey: I Needed Color which explores his life as an artist. In 2018, the Maccarone Gallery in Los Angeles presented IndigNation: Political Cartoons by Jim Carrey 2016-2018. The exhibition featured a selection of
Carrey’s original political cartoon drawings made over the past two years which express his views on the current American political climate. Carrey’s latest exhibition, This Light Never Goes Out, presented by the Phi Centre in Montreal, features over 50 of his works and is running from June 20 to September 1, 2019.
Carrey is the subject of the Emmy-nominated Netflix documentary Jim & Andy: The Great Beyond – Featuring a Very Special, Contractually Obligated Mention of Tony Clifton. The documentary is a behind-the-scenes look at Carrey’s award-winning performance as Andy Kaufman in Man on the Moon. Carrey received an Emmy nomination as an executive producer. He also served as an executive producer on the Showtime comedy series I’m Dying Up Here, set in the 1970’s stand-up comedy scene. Carrey’s other recent projects include Ana Lily Armipour’s The Bad Batch. In November 2014, the long-awaited sequel Dumb and Dumber To debuted at number one at the box office, with Carrey reprising his role as Lloyd Christmas. Twenty years after Lloyd and Harry set out on their first adventure, they head out in search of one of their long lost children in the hope of gaining a new kidney. Carrey’s film credits include the comedy The Incredible Burt Wonderstone opposite Steve Carell and Steve Buscemi, the family comedy Mr. Popper’s Penguins, and director Robert Zemekis’ adaptation of Charles Dickens’ classic tale A Christmas Carol, in which Carrey portrayed Ebenezer Scrooge, as well as the three ghosts that haunt him. He also starred in I Love You Phillip Morris, a dark comedy written and directed by Glenn Ficarra and John Requa, and director Peyton Reed’s romantic comedy Yes Man opposite Zooey Deschanel. Previously, Carrey lent his voice to the title character of the CGI-animated film version of Dr. Seuss’ Horton Hears a Who! which was a blockbuster hit. He also starred opposite Virginia Madsen in the psychological thriller The Number 23, directed by Joel Schumacher; starred opposite Tea Leoni in the hit 2005 comedy Fun with Dick and Jane, directed by Dean Parisot
and produced by Brian Grazer; Lemony Snicket’s a Series of Unfortunate Events based on the children’s book series by Daniel Handler; as well as the critically acclaimed drama Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, for which Jim received Golden Globe and BAFTA Award nominations for Best Actor. In 2003, Carrey starred in the hugely successful comedy Bruce Almighty, which was one of the highest-grossing films of the year. Bruce Almighty also marked his third successful collaboration with director Tom Shadyac, who had earlier directed him in the hit comedies Ace Ventura: Pet Detective and Liar, Liar, for which Jim was nominated for a Golden Globe. In 2001, he starred in The Majestic, and in 2000, Carrey had the distinction of starring in the year’s highest-grossing film, Dr. Seuss’ classic, How the Grinch Stole Christmas. His performance as the Grinch brought him a Golden Globe nomination for Best Actor in a Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy. That summer, Carrey also appeared in the Farrelly brothers’ comedy Me, Myself & Irene. In 2000, he was named “Male Star of the Year” at ShoWest. Carrey was previously named the ShoWest Comedy Star of the Year in 1995 for his breakout roles in the comedy hits Dumb & Dumber, his first film for writers/directors Peter and Bobby Farrelly, Ace Ventura: Pet Detective and The Mask, for which Carrey received his first Golden Globe nomination for Best Actor in a Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy. He was later Golden Globe-nominated for his work in 1997’s hit film Liar, Liar.
Born in Newmarket, Ontario, Carrey began his career as a stand-up comic while still in his teens. Moving to Los Angeles at the age of 19, he immediately became a regular at Mitzi Shore’s Comedy Store, attracting the attention of comedy legend Rodney Dangerfield. Dangerfield was so impressed with the young comic that they began touring together. In 1982, he was cast on the NBC series The Duck Factory. The next year he landed his first lead film role in the feature Once Bitten, starring Lauren Hutton. He followed that with roles in Francis Ford Coppola’s Peggy Sue Got Married and the comedy Earth Girls Are Easy, with Geena Davis. In 1988, Carrey made a brief, but memorable, appearance as Johnny Squares, the self-destructive rock star, in the Clint Eastwood film The Dead Pool. In 1990, Carrey joined the cast of Fox Television’s ensemble comedy hit In Living Color. In November 1991, his first Showtime Special, Jim Carrey’s Unnatural Act, premiered to rave reviews. He followed with a starring role as an alcoholic trying to cope with life in the Emmy- nominated telefilm Doing Time on Maple Drive. In 1994, after several successful seasons on In Living Color, Carrey gained international attention when he starred in the title role of the smash hit comedy Ace Ventura: Pet Detective. His subsequent film credits include the sequel, Ace Ventura: When Nature Calls, the dual role of Riddler/Dr. Edward Nygma in Joel Schumacher’s Batman Forever, and Cable Guy, directed by Ben Stiller.
On September 24, 2013, Carrey released his first children’s book, How Roland Rolls. The book received the Gelett Burgess Award which honors books created especially for children. In addition to the book, a 4 song EP with songs written and performed by Carrey and his daughter Jane was released on iTunes as well as an enhanced e-book version. Carrey was awarded an honorary doctorate in May 2014 from officials at the Maharishi University of Management in Fairfield, Iowa. In his commencement speech Carrey famously told graduates, "You can fail at what you don't love, so you might as well take a chance on doing what you love."
Levy started his career writing and acting in the Canadian television sketch series SCTV (1976–1984), earning two Primetime Emmy Awards for Outstanding Writing for a Variety Series. He also appeared in the films National Lampoon's Vacation (1983), Splash (1984), and Multiplicity (1996). He also became known for co-writing and appearances in a string of improvised-dialogue films with Christopher Guest, including Waiting for Guffman (1996), Best in Show (2000), A Mighty Wind (2003), and For Your Consideration (2006). He also appeared in the American Pie series of films.
From 2015 to 2020, he starred as Johnny Rose in the sitcom Schitt's Creek, a comedy series that he co-created with his son and co-star Dan Levy. In 2019 and 2020, he was nominated for the Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series, which he won in 2020. He also received the Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Comedy Series.
He is known for his work on the television programs SCTV and Saturday Night Live. Short created the characters Jiminy Glick and Ed Grimley. He also acted in the sitcom Mulaney (2014–2015), the variety series Maya & Marty (2016), and The Morning Show (2019). He has also had an active career on stage, starring in Broadway productions including Neil Simon's musicals The Goodbye Girl (1993) and Little Me (1998–1999). The latter earned him a Tony Award for Best Actor in a Musical and the former a nomination in the same category.
He has starred in comedy films such as Three Amigos (1986), Innerspace (1987), Three Fugitives (1989), Captain Ron (1992), Clifford (1994), Mars Attacks! (1996), Jungle 2 Jungle (1997), and The Santa Clause 3: The Escape Clause (2006). Short also provided voice-work for films like The Pebble and the Penguin (1995), The Prince of Egypt (1998), Treasure Planet (2002), 101 Dalmatians II: Patch's London Adventure (2003), The Spiderwick Chronicles (2008), Madagascar 3: Europe's Most Wanted, Frankenweenie (both 2012), and The Wind Rises (2013).
In 2015, Short started touring nationally with fellow comedian Steve Martin. In 2018, they released their Netflix special An Evening You Will Forget for the Rest of Your Life for which they received three Primetime Emmy Award nominations. Since 2021, he has co-starred in the Hulu comedy series Only Murders in the Building alongside Martin and Selena Gomez. For his performance he has earned nominations for the Primetime Emmy Award, the Golden Globe Award, the Screen Actors Guild Award, and the Critics Choice Television Award.
As a comedian, Van gained national attention in 1963 as a performer on CBC Television's late-night satire programme Nightcap. In the United States he appeared in many commercials for Colt 45 Malt Liquor as a man sitting at a table waiting for a drink, unfazed by everything going on around him; Van starred in these commercials throughout the ‘60s and ‘70s, and won a Clio Award for one of these commercials in 1975.
Through the 1970s, Van was a regular member of the "home team" on the CHCH-TV charades series Party Game. In 1971, he began making The Hilarious House of Frightenstein, also for CHCH in Hamilton, Ontario. It is this show for which he is best known, and it has developed a cult following. Some 130 episodes were produced, and Van played almost every lead character. The characters included the Count (Count Frightenstein, for which he put on a fake Bela Lugosi-type voice); Grizelda the Ghastly Gourmet (an old witch with a cauldron who did a cooking show); and The Wolfman, who, in an imitation of DJ Wolfman Jack would play records, and dance to them.
Walsh studied theatre in Toronto at Ryerson University, but dropped out to work with Newfoundland’s CODCO comedy troupe on a series of stage shows, which eventually evolved into a sketch comedy series. CODCO ran from 1988 to 1993 on CBC Television.
She then was part of the cast that created This Hour has 22 Minutes.