The Monday News: Slop from the Pigs

The Pigs

Victoria: Things exist which are funny: funny things, like muppets having sex, make us laugh. Things that are not funny also exist: consider tax returns, which do not make us laugh. In some horrific limbo world lies the unfunny. The unfunny, much like the undead, is a gnawing emptiness only half-concealed by the stolen, desecrated flesh of the living. Things which are unfunny include The Monday News, written by and starring the Pigs.

The show opened with a musician playing some bars on an organ over and over for a few minutes. Then she left and the stage was empty and silent for a few more minutes.

After the false start, the show itself is ostensibly a fundraising telethon for the Times Colonist. No premise, however, can save a script so riddled with clichés. Conrad Black likes money! Ho ho! Hulk Hogan reading sports scores—literally reading sports scores? How avant-garde! And did Don Cherry just say “Beauty!”? The Pigs sure do have a finger on the Canadian comedic pulse . . . perhaps attempting to pinch it shut.

Aborted jokes quickly give way to preaching—but only if the skit in question bothered to conceive a joke in the first place. Really, Chinese sweatshops and Gordon Campbell disgusted and disappointed us before the Pigs flatly reminded us, asked us to boycott and then sung about boycotting. If anything, The Monday News makes political outrage boring. The script shuffles from one fake celebrity to another, but never builds up a grander narrative. Most of the guest stars are arbitrary. Why is Don Cherry pitching cubicle helmets?

Regardless, there’s an accidental humor to bad writing when delivered earnestly. The Pigs, however, are clearly non-actors who stage their un-comedy with un-distilled unprofessionalism. They miss entrances, exits and occasionally the spotlight. The static staging suggests that The Pigs might collectively imagine that they’re on TV, where boring things like sitting quietly at a desk or standing still can be spruced up with whip pans. Perhaps they also imagined cameras cropping out the scripts they read their lines straight off of, too. Not that this helped much, since the whole company regularly messed their lines up.

An honorable mention goes to Sheila Rose Richardson’s performance as Blondie Bumstead, who carried a speech balloon on a stick to drive home her 2-D heritage. Of course, when she turned around and left, her lines were clearly written on the back. (But yes, she still managed to screw them up twice.) What matters is that more creative effort was put into hiding Richardson’s crib notes than writing them in the first place. And that both efforts were failures.

Seven or eight audience members simply got up and left during the show. When the end finally—and suddenly—arrived, the remaining spectators likely wished the lights were unceremoniously blacked out earlier. Don’t waste time with this.

For showtime information go here.

By Christopher Felling