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The Funnier Side of Eastern Canada (1974)

TV Movie  -   -  Comedy  -  1974 (Canada)
6.4
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Ratings: 6.4/10 from 17 users  
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Steve Martin's first TV special.

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Title: The Funnier Side of Eastern Canada (TV Movie 1974)

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Cast

Cast overview:
...
Himself
Pat McCormick ...
Chocolate Moose
Neil Lundy ...
Mountie
Mary Jane Bouquet ...
Indian woman
Ed Wilson ...
Passerby
Michael St. Michaels ...
First Workman
Gilly Spinwick ...
Mr. Rubel
Nick Nichols ...
Impressionist
John Stockard ...
Shopkeeper
John Curve ...
Maitre'D
Annette Terry ...
Girl
Valerie Staruck ...
Hotel Clerk
Don Arrès ...
Waiter
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Storyline

Steve Martin's first TV special was this independently produced Canadian travelogue. Designed to promote tourism in Montreal and Toronto, the special featured Martin doing short sketches and describing tourist sites. Standup segments were also filmed at the Ice House in Pasadena, California. Written by jimwhittaker02

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1974 (Canada)  »

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Did You Know?

Trivia

Martin is billed as the "World's First Travelogue Comedian". See more »

Connections

References The Chocolate Soldier (1941) See more »

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User Reviews

 
Not just another banjo magic act
17 October 2010 | by (Rijswijk, ZH, Netherlands) – See all my reviews

This TV special is a bit of a mystery in and on itself. For one thing, no one seems to know the exact air-date, and it is never really stated why Steve Martin is promoting the cities of Toronto and Montreal (credited as his guest stars). But as a chance to see a young Steve just before he hit the big time as a stand-up (naturally the show includes a lot of his stuff from his routine) it's a great find. We start at his old stomping grounds 'The Ice House' where the Stever is about to show some slides of his trip to Canada.

The thing to remember about the Ramblin' guy's act is that he refrained from using punchlines, just so the audience laughter would have to figure out when to laugh for themselves. He also didn't steal any gags from other people, but instead twisted and turned things that inspired him into a unique knew thing. Of course not all of it the bits in this hour long special can be funny to everyone, but it's all wonderfully weird and unpredictable. And the same can be said of the snappy and unconventional editing which was years ahead of it's time (not to mention the various outfits Martin wears throughout). Even the end credits are read out loud instead of shown on screen, by Martin and running gag sidekick Pat McCormick (the reluctant Chocolate Moose).

The first half of the show showcases Toronto, where 'The worlds first Travelogue comedian' gives us viewers his own personal tour. From the mighty escalators of the Four Seasons Sheraton, to the giant erection of the Communications tower, Steve keeps the one liners and sight gags coming fast and loose. He also visits the Ontario Science Centre to 'play with science', performs some tricks at a suit and tie restaurant and gets a case of the Happy Feet on the street. Anyone who's read his autobiography on his stand-up days 'Born Standing Up' will know the origin of that gag. But even for those not in on the details it's like seeing Steve taking a step towards movie stardom (particularly his second starring vehicle Pennies from Heaven). Martin also has some fun running around Ontario place and enjoys a taxi cab ride for about 6 inches.

The second half belongs to Montreal. Here Steve stays at the Ritz Carlton hotel (in the Comedians suite) and explains how to speak French by putting a rubber band around your lips. Still, his mastery of the language doesn't get him very far with a Canadian mademoiselle nor with real live French waiter Don Arres. Martin proves to be an absurdist master of both spoken humor (he orders a Château du MacDonalds wine from the year 2 O'clock) as well as the visual (a visit to the worlds largest umbrella mine). But my favourite bit in the whole show is when he visits the Habitat buildings that was constructed for for Expo '67 at the Man and his World Exposition to see 'what kind of people live there'.

The final part of the show consists of bloopers and outtakes from all of the above and the aforementioned spoken word end credits performance. One thing I found interesting that this last segment is referred to by a clapper board clapping Steve as the 'trailer' which of course hearkens back to the almost forgotten custom of showing coming attractions at the end of the movie instead of at the start. Was that still going on in 1974? I'm not sure. It's another mystery.

9 out of 10

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