History of Air Farce
What is Royal Canadian Air Farce?
Royal Canadian Air Farce is a comedy troupe consisting of Performers Roger Abbott, Don Ferguson, Luba Goy, John Morgan and writers Gord Holtam and Rick Olsen. Air Farce is a favourite of millions of Canadians from coast to coast, who tune in to CBC Television every week to see and hear Air Farce's unique and hilarious blend of topical humor aimed at our country's (and the world's) most newsworthy people and events. In the years their television program has been on the air, it has risen to become the number one comedy show in the country.
Apart from their obvious talents of providing endless hours of laughter to Canadians and those watching and listening around the world, Air Farce has been able to tap into the comedic psyche which makes Canadians tick. According to Don Ferguson, "Air Farce provides a mirror--slightly cracked--for the nation."
How did it all start?
Air Farce's origins go back to 1970 in Montreal, where John Morgan and Martin Bronstein founded the improvisational theatre revue The Jest Society. The original members were John Morgan, Martin Bronstein, Patrick Conlon, Gay Claitman and Roger Abbott.
By January 1971, The Jest Society was John Morgan, Martin Bronstein, Roger Abbott, Don Ferguson and Luba Goy, performing on stage in Toronto and Ottawa.
In 1973, joined by Dave Broadfoot, they became The Royal Canadian Air Farce for their CBC Radio debut. The show was recorded live for the first few years at the Curtain Club in Richmond Hill, Ontario then at CBC's Cabbagetown studio theatre in Toronto, and then at theatres all across Canada then broadcast across the country on CBC Radio.
How many years on radio?
Royal Canadian Air Farce first aired on CBC Radio on December 9, 1973, and the final broadcast was May 25, 1997, for a total of 612 original half hour shows in 24 years.
How many years on television?
Air Farce first hit network television with a one hour special on CBC Television in October, 1980. It was an instant hit, CBC's #2 show for the week, right behind Hockey Night in Canada. CBC then commissioned a 10 week series, which aired February to April, 1981, plus additional specials in 1982 and 1983. A change of executives then happened at CBC TV and Air Farce left television and concentrated on radio and live appearances.
In 1984 Air Farce's live Toronto stage show was videotaped as a pay-tv special, and subsequently broadcast on Ontario's Global Television Network. The group spent the next eight years taking the radio show on the road to communities from coast to coast, plus extensive concert and theatrical performances across Canada and in the U.S.
Then, on the final night of 1992, Air Farce took a second plunge into television with "1992 Year of the Farce", a satirical New Year's Eve Special which it produced and sold to CBC Television. Again, it was a hit, and developed into a weekly series on October 8, 1993. Air Farce is now the highest rated show on CBC Television.