'Farce New Year's' moves to day

BILL HARRIS, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 1:55 PM ET

Holiday traditions can be tweaked. No need to get your garland in a knot.

So if you tune in annually for the Air Farce New Year's Eve special on CBC, don't fret if you can't find anything.

It's actually a New Year's Day special this year, airing on the evening of Jan. 1, because Dec. 31 is a Saturday and that means Hockey Night in Canada on CBC.

A 24-hour delay is no biggie for the Air Farce comedy troupe, considering what it endured earlier this year with the passing of co-founder Roger Abbott.

"We had decided already (before Abbott's death) that we were going to do another special," Air Farce co-founder Don Ferguson said. "It's kind of -- I won't say an open-ended order -- but the idea is, CBC basically has said if we want to do a New Year's special, then they want to have us on.

"It was a difficult decision for me in a way. Roger and I were so close, we were friends for more than 50 years, and we worked together for more than 40.

"But I had been told long ago and was reminded of it after he died, 'Don't do anything rash, don't make any major decisions for a while.' "

So Ferguson took a little time to get his emotions in check, then decided to proceed with the original plan.

"Certainly the staff and all the crew who still work on the show wanted us to continue and do another one," Ferguson said.

"In some ways it seemed that the best thing to do to honour the legacy of Roger, and to be true to what we did, was to keep doing the show, because life does go on. And Roger would have been the first to endorse that."

For this year's special, the Air Farce cast consists of Ferguson, Luba Goy, Penelope Corrin, Craig Lauzon, Alan Park and newcomer Arnold Pinnock, formerly of TV series such as Life With Derek, Billable Hours, The Listener and Combat Hospital.

"Arnold's a really nice guy and very funny, but you didn't get to see that too much in Combat Hospital," Ferguson said with a chuckle.

"He's a 'special guest' on our show, but usually a special guest comes in and they do like one sketch and they're gone. We have Arnold doing some crazy things."

Pinnock actually used to work at CBC on the technical side.

"Our very first season as a series, Arnold was a TVA, a television assistant, basically a cable-puller," Ferguson said. "But he also used to do that for Hockey Night in Canada.

"So when we were shooting one of our little Farce Films for this year's special, with Ron MacLean on it, of course Ron walks in and goes, 'Arnold!' "

Besides MacLean, other guests on the Air Farce New Year's Day special include Adam Beach, Tessa Bonhomme, Kevin O'Leary, Amanda Lang, Elizabeth May, Lorne Cardinal, Rowdy Roddy Piper and the Canadian World Junior hockey team.

Seems there'll be lots to look at, whether you're getting drunk or nursing a hangover.

bill.harris@sunmedia.ca

 


Photos