Calgarian yuks it up on the small screen

LISA WILTON

, Last Updated: 5:47 PM ET

CTV's new sketch comedy show, Comedy Inc., has only one mandate.

"Is it funny? Then let's do it," says Calgary native Roman Danylo, who heads up a cast of seven on the weekly skit series Saturdays at 10:30 p.m. on CTV and Sundays at 8:30 p.m. on the Comedy Network.

Danylo's latest foray into sketch comedy -- he appeared on CTV's The Holmes Show and hosted a variety show in Vancouver -- is cut from the same inventive and slightly twisted cloth as classic Canuck comedy series such as Kids in the Hall and SCTV.

Some of the show's wackier sketches involve Osama Bin Laden's gay brother Lance, The Unknown Actor's Studio, Sting's Tantric sex instructor, a hip hop tampon commercial and an American Idol spoof.

"I don't know if it has anything to do with being in Canada," says Danylo. "But there seems to be a little more stuff allowed. We're very cautious with that freedom and to not go overboard with it."

He says he enjoys having the opportunity to use swear words when appropriate, such as in the aforementioned expletives-loaded tampon ad. But he says the show is careful not to use bad language or political incorrectness gratuitously.

"The majority of our show doesn't have that. It's just that when we go big, we go really big or go home," he says.

Danylo was auditioning for work during L.A.'s annual pilot season in January, when he was approached by Canadian producers with the idea for Comedy Inc.

"They told me the structure of the show and I was like, 'OK! I can be a part of that,'" he recalls. "It was nice to be asked. I love doing Canadian projects. There are less people to tell you what to do. In the States, there are like, 14 people in suits drinking wine and (giving their opinion.)

"Those are 14 people who have to justify their jobs, so there's a lot more ideas being thrown at you. In Canada, it's just a lot more reasonable."

Among those joining Danylo on Comedy Inc. are Second City alumni Jen Goodhue and Aurora Browne as well as comedians Winston Spear, Terry McGurrin, Jenn Robertson and Gavin Stephens, all of whom are part of the show's writing team.

Danylo says the different backgrounds of the writers -- including former Calgarian and Loose Moose Theatre alumnus Albert Howell -- allows for creative diversity in which interesting ideas often emerge.

"It wasn't one of those writing rooms you hear about where everyone is shutting down each other's ideas to get their own ideas in," says Danylo, who used to perform noon-hour sketch and variety shows at Sir Winston Churchill High School as a teen.

"We really liked one another. It was surprising how well we got along. Everybody was all touchy-feely and pleasant. It made me a little uncomfortable, actually."


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