Thick and Thin: Tripe on the tube

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By Shane Dingman

Every 10 weeks television barfs up another bad comedy show in an attempt to gain a chuckle from the cynical masses. Join me in giving thanks to the CBC’s new sketch-comedy program Thick & Thin for continuing this grotesque tradition.

Thick & Thin is supposed to be named after the camaraderie of Kenny Robinson and Ronnie Edwards, two bosom buddies who claim to have been through “thick and thin” together. Mmm-hmm. I has nothing to do with the fact that Edwards is rail thin and Robinson is a fat bastard. Not that either star would flinch from such a description — it’s unlikely these two schmucks would even blink at the obscenely offensive.

The show lasts an hour, and it might be the longest hour on tape. The comedy is awkward and amateurish, like most Canadian sketch programs in the post Kids in the Hall era. Maybe it’s because the show was taped last March, but all the jokes about ebonics and Reverend Louis Farrakhan seem limp and stale.

Two short bits called “respected men in the black community” are stanzas in an ode to crass commentary. It’s a parody of “black history moments” in which a pimp used hot bricks to keep his hos happy and a hustler with 13 illegitimate kiddies (apparently true stories from Robinson’s family) get profiled as pillars of the black community. Yikes.

After a few more socially retarded scenes are one or two funny parts. Russel Peters, an East Indian stand-up comedian, was knee slapping, milk-snorting, HIGH larious. “Jellybean Boardroom” is an insightful attack on technocratic human resources management at big corporations and the inventive racial slurs directed at white folks gave me a giggle.

This final sketch of the show (save the best for last I guess) was a funny social commentary about the white perception of “black role models.” Robinson gets his opportunity to rant about why white folks are so uncomfortable with “jive talkin’, baggy pant wearin’, gansta rappin’” black folks.

Final analysis: Kudos for the racial perspective, but it’s no In Living Colour. Ten minutes of laughter won’t do the job for an hour-long tragic play, so obviously is doesn’t even come close for a comedy show.

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