It happened a week ago, on the stalwart CBC Radio interview show, ‘As It Happens’*. I was in my car and caught the middle of an item which purported to feature a representative of Canada’s mint. The gentleman was extolling the virtues of a new three-dollar coin – the threenie – that was going to replace the five dollar bill.
At first, I was incensed. How could they do this? What a typically bureaucratic, cost-saving move? (I admit I had forgotten it was April 1.)
I meant to blog about the situation that night but got busy. Later, when I did a search, I discovered it the whole thing was a lame joke.
Now first off, let me applaud CBC’s efforts at jocularity.
But second, I’d like to charge them with the heinous crime of attempted humour (without a license).
The premise of the joke was good. But oh, the delivery… It was too earnest and low-key; in other words it had the standard CBC tonality we Canadians are supposed to appreciate after we turn 40. That’s a right of passage, eh?
There was no signal of silly (i.e. a nearly hysterical bureaucrat), no frustration on the part of the interviewer, no absurd pronouncements, no delicious irony. In order to make people laugh, we need to sense a twinkle, a hint of mischief, a face full of pie. Otherwise, we miss the nuance.
Perhaps CBC needs to tune into itself and adjust its blandwidth. And maybe then, the next time it starts a joke, the world might catch on and start laughing (or at least crack a smile).
And by the way, can someone please tell them they don’t need the cover of April Fool’s Day to be witty.