The Beaverton continues Canadian really fake fake news tradition

In the time of Trump, there is no end to material to feed the satire machine


Published:

Miguel Rivas and Emma Hunter behind the news desk at ‘The Beaverton’

There was a poll taken a while back of Saturday Night Live fans, asking them their favourite part of the program. The winner, by far, was Weekend Update, the fake news desk segment in the middle of the show.

Many viewers thought it could be lengthened and made into its own show. Now it has been, only it’s produced here in Canada, and it’s called The Beaverton.

The show is a perfect example of the new media model: get some webisodes on the net, garner a following and wait for a network to pony up a real budget, which the Comedy Network did.

It’s a very handsome and luxe treatment, complete with crane shots and sophisto lighting. If you watched it with the sound off, you’d swear you were watching a real news show on CNN. 

The hosts, Emma Hunter and Miguel Rivas, are perfectly cast, delivering their lines with just the right amount of self-satisfaction that mimics the puffery that threatens to drown news anchors. The show moves fast. If you don’t like one piece, there’s another one a few moments away.

The show uses a series of regular correspondents to do field pieces and interviews. I like Marilla Wex’s starchy, Euro-investigator, and Laura Cilevitz brings a note of glamour and stardom to her clever bits.

There’s Canadian content, but it’s balanced by a lot of satire about international news events. I tried to discern if the show had an ideological stance like The Daily Show, but it seems happy to just go for the laughs. The Beaverton is more about absurdity but does traffic in barbed satire. 

As Emma Hunter says on the show, “Legalizing marijuana is this country’s version of the civil rights movement.” 

The format isn’t completely original. The Beaverton is Canada’s answer to the Onion, which began publishing in Wisconsin in 1988 and went online in the ’90s. 

Although the Onion had a radio series, a film and a massive YouTube presence, it never had a regularly scheduled TV series. The sensibility, though, is identical to The Beaverton.

But long before either the Onion or The Beaverton or even Weekend Update existed, a little-known Canadian TV series was doing its version of the show, way back in 1973. 

Shhh! It’s the News was one of the initial offerings of fledgling Global TV, created by the late great Don Harron.

News parody shows are something this country has done exceptionally well, as evidenced by Royal Canadian Air Farce and This Hour Has 22 Minutes

What makes The Beaverton so timely is the stew of confusion generated by serious fake news and “alternative facts” that have become part of the Trump era. 

A show such as The Beaverton is now in the surreal position of being a “fake” fake news show.

For example, there was a Beaverton story that when astronaut Chris Hadfield returned to Earth he had to pay a roaming cellphone bill of $1.3 million. It was reported as truth as far away as Hong Kong.

As The Beaverton becomes more successful, it would be nice to see some guest star cameos, and maybe some “in-depth” pieces that run longer. But let’s not quibble. It’s good to have The Beaverton with us.

Edit Module

Join the conversation and have your say by commenting below. Our comment system uses a Facebook plugin. Please note that you'll have to turn off some ad-blockers in order to see the comments.

Edit Module

Follow us on Twitter @PostCity for more on what to eat, where to shop and what to do in Toronto.

Edit ModuleShow Tags

You may also like...

Too Close to Call: Toronto’s frightful faceoff

Too Close to Call: Toronto’s frightful faceoff

In one corner, Dracula from Casa Loma’s Legends of Horror, in the other, Canada’s Wonderland’s Little Dead Riding Hood. Who reigns supreme in this T.O. Halloween creep-out contest?
Posted 2 days ago
Work Out with Monika: Taking out your fall frustrations on a punching bag

Work Out with Monika: Taking out your fall frustrations on a punching bag

Studies have shown that training for a boxing match can be one of the best forms of aerobic and anaerobic exercise. I’m here to find out.
Posted 2 days ago
Is this the ‘Forgotten Corner of Thornhill’?

Is this the ‘Forgotten Corner of Thornhill’?

A building complex, Glen Park Apartments, at the northeast corner of Yonge Street and Clark Avenue is now deemed the “Forgotten Corner of Thornhill” by some residents. A new Facebook page of the same name was established in late July, calling for city officials and building management to address concerns over lack of sufficient infrastructure.
Posted 2 days ago
From Parris with Love

From Parris with Love

Other Side of the Game, premiering on Oct. 18 at the Aki Studio at Daniels Spectrum and running until Nov. 5.
Posted 3 days ago
Edit Module
Edit ModuleShow Tags

Comedy Shows

  • Party Today, Panic Tomorrow

    2017.08.23
     @ Second City Toronto

    Party Today, Panic Tomorrow expresses the absurd dilemmas of life in 2017. This hilarious, all-new sketch revue reflects suffering from political...

  • BooProv! The BeerProv Halloween Show

    2017.10.28
     @ Comedy Bar

    Comedians (in silly costumes!) create unscripted comedy based on audience suggestions in this popular winner-take-all competition.

  • An Evening With Carol Burnett

    2017.10.30
     @ Sony Centre for the Performing Arts

    Laughter and Reflection Just For Laughs and NorthWest Comedy are thrilled to announce that comedy icon, award-winning actress and best-selling...

  • Big Gumbo: An Untitled Evening of Video Comedy

    2017.10.31
     @ Comedy Bar

    Spend an hour of your Halloween 2017 watching Toronto’s funniest comedy videos live at Big Gumbo, an untitled evening of video comedy at...

  • RUE MORGUE PRESENTS A HALLOWEEN SCREENING OF DEAD ALIVE

    2017.10.31
     @ The Royal Cinema

    Rue Morgue’s CineMacabre Movie Nights promise the best of classic and contemporary horror at The Royal Cinema – once a month, every...

  • Ashes of Forgotten Rain & This is a Play

    2017.11.02
     @ Tranzac Stage

    The NAGs Players are pleased to present 2 one-act plays for their Fall Production. The Ashes of Forgotten Rain, written and directed by Norman...

  • Jim Jefferies

    2017.11.10
     @ Sony Centre for the Performing Arts

    Comedian Jim Jefferies has announced the Unusual Punishment Tour, his latest major multi-city standup comedy tour that will take him across the...

  • THE 25TH ANNUAL PUTNAM COUNTY SPELLING BEE

    2017.11.10
     @ Hart House Theatre

    The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee Music and Lyrics by William Finn, Book by Rachel Sheinkin Conceived by Rebecca Feldman Additional...

  • Festival of Arabic Music & Arts presents Bassem Youssef

    2017.11.11
     @ Bluma Appel Theatre

    Bassem Youssef, dubbed the Jon Stewart of the Arab World, was the host of popular TV show AlBernameg – which was the first of its kind...

  • The Good, The Bad and The Ugly Sweater

    2017.11.23
     @ The Second City

    There are two kinds of people in the world, those with holiday cheer and those with . . . out. The Good, The Bad and The Ugly Sweater will make fun...

  • Miracle on Mercer Street

    2017.12.16
     @ The Second City

    The Second City Family Company performs holiday favourite Miracle on Mercer Street! Featuring The Second City’s adorable puppet troupe and...


Show More...
Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleEdit Module