Wednesday, November 17, 2004

John Morgan, R.I.P.

I first came across the Royal Canadian Air Farce when I was in high school. Since I wasn't allowed to watch TV on weekdays, I got addicted to radio, and since I was a patriotic sort of teenager (don't ask) naturally I listened to the CBC.

The Air Farce was cornball. Roger Abbott, Dave Broadfoot, John Ferguson, Luba Goy and John Morgan did political satire and the occasional social commentary. They poked fun, but they weren't especially mean about it. That type of thinking (along with the Vancouver Sun cartoons of Roy Peterson) pretty much colored my own attitudes about politicians: I learned never to hate them because they're not so much evil as prone to the occasional screwup.

The Air Farce changed and evolved, of course, as the CBC moved them to television and they got competition from younger, sharper comedians such as CODCO and Kids in the Hall. John Morgan in particular developed 2 characters: Mike from Canmore, a small-town dimwit that could still befuddle the intellectual elite, and Jock McBile, a disgusted Scotsman who ranted every week on social and governmental misdeeds, concluding with "Get stuffed!" Bombastic, yes. Witty, even. But never bitter, never with a cynical edge.

There are times, in social commentary, when the pillow fight can work just as well as the rapier in getting a point across. John Morgan, in his association with the Farce, could swing a mean pillow.