Dave Thomas on challenge of reviving ‘SCTV”s beer-swilling hosers Bob and Doug

Dave Thomas on challenge of reviving ‘SCTV”s beer-swilling hosers Bob and Doug

Rick Moranis, left, and Dave Thomas are shown in this undated handout photo as the characters Bob and Doug McKenzie in this scene from the SCTV comedy series. Thomas says it wasn’t hard to convince his old pal Moranis to come out of quasi-retirement to help him reprise their alter-egos Bob and Doug McKenzie for an upcoming charity performance. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO

TORONTO — Former “SCTV” star Dave Thomas says it wasn’t hard to convince his old pal Rick Moranis to come out of quasi-retirement to help him reprise their alter-egos Bob and Doug McKenzie for an upcoming charity performance.

The tricky part will be figuring out what exactly they’re going to do with their hoser characters that haven’t really been seen for more than 30 years.

The fictional brothers and their low-budget TV show “The Great White North” were among the breakout hits of “SCTV,” the seminal Canadian comedy sketch series that also kicked off the careers of Martin Short, Andrea Martin, Eugene Levy, Catherine O’Hara and the late John Candy.

Thomas and Moranis return to the spotlight next month as part of a star-studded benefit in Toronto to raise funds for Thomas’s nephew Jake Thomas, who severed his spinal cord in a snowmobiling accident and is now paralyzed from the waist down.

Thomas says that writing new banter for the dim-witted, beer-swilling duo is harder that it seems.

“The big challenge for us doing the McKenzies now is we’re a lot older. And the McKenzie brothers haven’t really been on stage together since we did the show and the movie,” says Thomas, noting “SCTV” ended in 1984, about a year after the Bob and Doug movie “Strange Brew.”

“The question we’re coming up with is: well, what would Bob and Doug be doing now? The environment has totally changed since we did our television show. At the time that we did ‘SCTV,’ television was at the centre of pop culture. Well, it isn’t any more. The Internet, social media is at the centre of pop culture, it’s a totally different world.”

The intervening years have transformed Thomas’s own career, which shifted from his stint on the ’90s comedy “Grace Under Fire” to the odd guest role on shows including “How I Met Your Mother” and “Arrested Development.” He’s now a writer/producer for network dramas including “Bones” and “The Blacklist.”

Moranis, meanwhile, has been little-seen since 1992’s “Honey, I Blew Up the Kid,” and famously turned down a cameo in the recent “Ghostbusters” reboot.

Thomas says Moranis is just particular about the gigs he chooses, noting he immediately offered to don the toque and parka when asked to join the benefit performance.

Thomas says his other showbiz pals were equally eager to help, including Short, Levy, O’Hara, Dan Aykroyd and several members of the Kids in the Hall.

Music will be provided by Paul Shaffer, Murray McLauchlan, and Thomas’s brother Ian Thomas, who is Jake’s father. A portion of the proceeds will also go to Spinal Cord Injury Ontario.

“There’s a lot of love here and I’m very grateful and kind of humbled by the response of people,” Thomas says from his home in Los Angeles.

“It’s going to be some odd stuff, you know, people doing things they don’t normally do. Catherine O’Hara and Eugene Levy are going to do something together and the Kids in the Hall is going to do something.”

Short will host the event, as well as perform a celebrity interview as clueless Hollywood reporter Jiminy Glick. The rest is still a mystery, says Thomas.

“He may do his Ed Grimley that he did (on ‘SCTV’) but I don’t know what people are going to do. Everybody has said, ‘Yes,’ now I’m putting together some kind of running order and then I’m going to start calling people saying, ‘How much time are you going to do? What are you going to do?”‘

As for Bob and Doug, Thomas says he and Moranis are working on ways to bring the characters into the new millennium.

“Would they be online? Yes, probably. But keep in mind, they’re older. They’re in their 60s now. So they’re people in their 60s who are online (laughs). That’s a different audience, that’s a different online presence, you know.”

And although Bob and Doug were not especially political, today’s highly fractious climate may add a new dimension, too, Thomas allows.

“They would certainly be dealing with political correctness. I mean, we live at a time now where it’s been described in the media as an ‘apology epidemic’ — where entertainers are always crossing the lines and then having to do public apologies. Congressman have to do public apologies, politicians have to do public apologies…. I’ve never seen people so firmly entrenched in their beliefs that they get rabid and angry if they hear something they don’t agree with,” says Thomas.

“The boundaries have changed for what’s acceptable and what isn’t in the 35 years that we’ve been away. So that’s certainly something that is worth addressing. But also, Canada’s changed, too. Canada’s gone through some big changes and certainly the media’s changed, Twitter and Instagram, and all these other things that are out there that are more kind of on the leading edge of culture than television was in the mid-70s, late-70s, when we were doing Bob and Doug.

“Having your own little cable TV show was cutting edge back then. It isn’t now.”

The one-night only benefit “Take Off, Eh” takes place at The Second City in Toronto on July 18.

#bsalert ignore nazi un

New post on National Post

UN: Israel did not comply with UN call to stop settlements

by The Associated Press

The U.N. Mideast envoy says Israel has taken no steps to comply with a Security Council call to stop all settlement activities and instead has substantially increased announcements of settlement building.

Nickolay Mladenov stressed that the United Nations considers settlement activities illegal under international law.

He told the Security Council that since March 24 Israel has announced plans for nearly 4,000 housing units and issued 2,000 tenders, which is an increase from the previous three-month period.

Mladenov was delivering the second report on implementation of the resolution adopted by the council in December condemning Israeli settlements as a “flagrant violation” of international law.

The resolution marked a striking rupture with past practice by President Barack Obama who had the U.S. abstain rather than veto the measure as president-elect Donald Trump demanded.

The Associated Press | June 20, 2017 at 11:41 am | Tags: AP | Categories: NewsWorld | URL: http://wp.me/p2zm7z-58Ysz

New post on National Post

UN chief: US will be replaced if it disengages from world

by The Associated Press

Secretary-General Antonio Guterres is warning the Trump administration that if the United States disengages from many world issues it will be replaced — and that won’t be good for America or for the world.

Guterres also expressed concern Tuesday that there could be a direct confrontation between the United States and Russia over Syria and urged a de-escalation of the dispute over the U.S. downing of a Syrian jet.

He also warned in his first press conference since taking the reins of the U.N. on Jan. 1 that proposed U.S. funding cuts to the United Nations “would create an unsolvable problem to the management of the U.N.”

Guterres said he plans to visit Washington soon to engage members of Congress on the need to keep funding the United Nations.

The Associated Press | June 20, 2017 at 1:56 pm | Tags: AP | Categories: NewsWorld | URL: http://wp.me/p2zm7z-58Z1Q

New post on National Post

Dutch police arrest 18-year-old ‘terror’ suspect

by The Associated Press

THE HAGUE, Netherlands — Dutch prosecutors say an 18-year-old man has been arrested on suspicion of spreading propaganda for the Islamic State group.

Prosecutors said Wednesday that the teen was detained last week in the central city of Utrecht on suspicion of “involvement in a terrorist crime.” Police also are investigating whether he taught others how to make explosives.

An investigating judge on Tuesday ordered the man detained for two weeks while investigations continue.

Prosecutors say the man was arrested based on information from the main Dutch intelligence agency.

The Associated Press | June 21, 2017 at 4:27 am | Tags: AP | Categories: NewsWorld | URL: http://wp.me/p2zm7z-590EO

Robert Fulford: Listen to dissenters. Their views can be messy and inconvenient, but they sometimes change the world

Since the 1950s Canada has radically altered laws and practices on abortion, homosexuality, medically assisted death, women’s rights and same-sex marriage. In each case, this required dissenters to raise fundamental issues in ways that many people considered immoral or even outlandish. That kind of often brave dissent has transformed our moral and social landscape.


Robert Fulford: Listen to dissenters. Their views can be messy and inconvenient, but they sometimes change the world

Egypt sends fuel to power-starved Gaza, undercuts Abbas

Egypt sends fuel to power-starved Gaza, undercuts Abbas


Israel’s electricity power plant in Ashkelon is seen as people bath near kibbutz Zikim, on the Israel Gaza Border, Monday, June 19, 2017. Israel’s national electric company on Monday cut back its already limited electricity shipments to the Gaza Strip in a step that is expected to worsen the power crunch plaguing the Hamas-controlled seaside territory. The company confirmed that the Israeli government instructed it to reduce the power supply to Gaza at the request of the Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas’ government in the West Bank. (AP Photo/Ariel Schalit)

GAZA, Palestinian Territory — Egypt on Wednesday trucked 1 million litres of cheap diesel fuel to the Gaza Strip’s sole power plant — a rare shipment that temporarily eased a crippling electricity crisis in the Hamas-ruled enclave but also appeared to undercut Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas.

We don’t know much about David Denning except that he wrote four books about woodworking in the late 19th century, was traditionally trained and had strong opinions about the craft. After reading his 1891 classic “The Art & Craft of Cabinet-Making” many times, I imagine he was a Frank Klausz-like character: He knew his stuff […]

via Essential Reading: ‘The Art & Craft of Cabinet-Making’ — Lost Art Press

Ste-Anne-de-Bellevue dilemma prompts new agglo-payment plan


It all began with Ste-Anne-de-Bellevue administration realizing to its horror that the transfer of the St-Anne Hospital from federal to provincial jurisdiction would land the small town with a whopping Montreal Agglomeration bill it wouldn’t be able to pay.

The town was already aware that it would experience a dip in revenues as a result of the transfer last year because the province calculates its in lieu of tax provision at a lower rate than the federal government. That was troubling enough. But when the town used the government-approved formula in place since 2008 to calculate what it owed the agglo as a result of the property transfer it showed an increase in payment of  $716,000. 

“We couldn’t pay that,” Ste-Anne Mayor Paola Hawa said. “There was clearly something wrong with the formula.”

All municipalities submit a percentage of their budgets to the agglomeration to pay for services including law enforcement, fire departments, water management and transportation.  The formula used to decide the percentage is based on theoretical monies to be made from taxable properties. The formula also employs a series of complex “corrective coefficients” for estimated tax revenues from residential and non-residential properties.  

The heft of the agglo payments has long been a thorn in the side of de-merged West Island municipalities. Certain municipalities, including Ste-Anne and Baid-d’Urfé, hand over as much as 60 per cent of their budgets to the agglo.

This latest spike in agglo payments was untenable for Ste-Anne — a small town with a population of around 5,000. So Hawa, general manager Martin Bonhomme and Jacques-Cartier MNA Geoffrey Kelley met with Pierre Moreau, the provincial municipal affairs minister at the time. Moreau agreed there was a problem. He went on sick leave soon after the meeting and was replaced by the current municipal affairs minister Martin Coiteux, the Nelligan MNA, who was briefed on the file and agreed that some tweaking was necessary.

Senior managers from six suburban municipalities, including Bonhomme, brought in an outside auditor and began working with Montreal’s Service des finances to analyze the formula. It became clear that adjustments were needed to better reflect the realities of each town and city.

“Ste-Anne-de-Bellevue’s situation triggered an analysis of the formula,” Association of Suburban Municipalities (ASM) chair and Baie-d’Urfé Mayor Maria Tutino said.  “And that analysis did identify a problem.”

A bit of background.

As part of the hospital-transfer deal, Ste-Anne asked the Quebec government to include a piece of hospital-adjacent land which could become a residential development down the road and generate tax revenue. The town is in the final stages of negotiations with the Quebec regional health authority for the transfer of that land.  

It was the way the old formula calculated the theoretical commercial land wealth of a municipality which was deemed distortional by the managers and auditor.

“The new formula is not the end-all of formulas, but now it is more equitable,” Tutino said.

The new formula will be rolled out over three years. In the case of Ste-Anne, the town will save $1.148 million in 2017, $2.296 million in 2018 and $3.44 million in 2019.

Hawa said she was proud of the role the town played in bringing the formula’s flaws to the attention of the Quebec government, Montreal and the ASM.

“This (new formula) shows that just because you’re small doesn’t mean you can’t bring about change,” Hawa said. 

Tutino said not every municipality is benefitting from the new formula, but that the new formula is a temporary measure and will be re-evaluated in 2020.

Beaconsfield general manager Patrice Boileau said the percentage-share formula began to distort as early as 2009. He said the new formula is helping put things back on track.

The new formula will see Beaconsfield save $263,000 is 2017, $527,000 in 2018 and $790,000 in 2019.

The Quebec government’s ruling on the formula adjustment, called the Projet d’arrêté ministériel Loi sur l’exercice de certaines compétences municipales dans certaines agglomérations (chapitre E-20.001), will come into force mid-July.


(LONDON) — Prince Philip has been admitted to a hospital…


(LONDON) — Prince Philip has been admitted to a hospital for treatment of an infection and will not be able to attend the queen’s speech, Buckingham Palace said Wednesday. Philip, Queen Elizabeth II’s husband, was admitted as a precautionary measure and is in good spirits, the palace said. Philip, also known as the Duke of…

via Britain’s Prince Philip Has Been Admitted to Hospital With an Infection — World – TIME

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