This Hour Has 22 Minutes

This Hour Has 22 Minutes

infobox television |Lop
show_name = This Hour Has 22 Minutes

format = comedy
runtime = 22 Minutes
creator = Mary Walsh
Rick Mercer
starring = Cathy Jones
Mark Critch
Shaun Majumder
Gavin Crawford
Geri Hall
country = Canada
network = CBC
first_aired = 1993
last_aired = Present
num_episodes = 22-24 per season, 15 seasons
website =
imdb_id = 0163963
tv_com_id = 7881|

"This Hour Has 22 Minutes" is a weekly Canadian television comedy that airs on CBC Television. Launched in 1993 during Canada's 35th general election, the show focuses on Canadian politics, combining news parody, sketch comedy and satirical editorials. Originally featuring Cathy Jones, Rick Mercer, Greg Thomey and Mary Walsh, the series featured satirical sketches of the weekly news and Canadian political events. The show's format is a mock news program, intercut with comic sketches, parody commercials and humorous interviews of public figures.

Its name is a parody of "This Hour Has Seven Days", a CBC newsmagazine from the 1960s; the "22 Minutes" refers to the fact that a nominally half-hour television program is actually 22 minutes long to make room for commercials.

Jones and Walsh had previously worked together on the sketch comedy series "CODCO", on which Thomey sometimes appeared as a guest. Mercer had been a notable young writer and performer on his own, touring several successful one-man shows of comedic political commentary.

Salter Street Films produced the series until the 2003–2004 season. Salter Street was acquired in 2001 by Alliance Atlantis, and production of the series was transferred directly to Alliance Atlantis in the twelfth season. As of 2005, Halifax Film produces the show.

Recognized with 24 Gemini Awards and 11 Canadian Comedy Awards, "22 Minutes" is broadcast on the CBC Television network. It is taped before a studio audience in Halifax, Nova Scotia.

The show would air on Fridays throughout its first ten years, but it currently airs Tuesdays at 8:30pm on CBC. The first two seasons have been released onto DVD, and are available for purchase from [ Halifax Film] .

Episodes of the current season, Season XV, are available for download through [ iTunes Canada] .


* Cathy Jones (1993– ) as anchor "Sydney Dubizzenchyk" (a reference to former CBC anchor Tina Srebotnjak, who had become the host of "Midday" in 1992) and various correspondents and sketch characters
* Shaun Majumder (2003– ) as anchor "Tucker T. Bartlett" and various correspondents and sketch characters.
* Mark Critch (2003– ), as anchor "Bas MacLaren" (in homage to two well-known Newfoundland radio announcers, Bas Jamieson and George MacLaren) and various sketch characters.
* Gavin Crawford (2003– ), as anchor "Gavin Cooper" and various sketch characters.
* Geri Hall (2007- ), served as a fill-in anchor in October & November 2004 and later in March 2007. Geri later became a permanent anchor in October 2007.

*As of 2006, the anchor character names are rarely if ever used, and in many cases the anchors will refer to themselves by their real names.
*As of October 2, 2007, Geri Hall has re-joined the show as a full time cast member.
*As of October 2, 2007, Nathan Fielder joined the show as a special correspondent.

Former members

* Rick Mercer (1993–2001) as anchor "J.B. Dickson" and various correspondents and sketch characters. Mercer left the show to devote more time to "Made in Canada"; after that show ended he launched "Rick Mercer Report", a series very similar to "22 Minutes" and Comedy Central's "The Daily Show".
* Colin Mochrie (2001–2003) as anchor "Anthony St. George" and various correspondents and sketch characters. Mochrie left the show after two seasons to pursue his own projects and other movie roles. Mochrie guest starred on the January 27th, 2006 episode.
* Mary Walsh (1993–2004) as anchor "Molly McGuire" and various correspondents and sketch characters. Walsh appeared less often in season 11 and left the series to pursue her film career and to host "", a CBC series in which she moderated a celebrity panel discussing books and literature.
* Greg Thomey (1993–2005) as anchor "Frank MacMillan" and various correspondents and sketch characters. Thomey appeared less often in season 12. Thomey no longer appears on "22 Minutes" as of 2006.

ubstitute anchors/Special correspondents

Substitute news anchors on the series are people who "guest star" on the series for when series regulars are away (from Season 10 onwards).

* Mark Farrell - (February 1999)
* Jonathan Torrens - (September/October 2002)
* Dan Joffre - (February 2003)
* Jenifer Robertson - (November & December 2003)
* Kathy Greenwood - (October & November 2004-)
* Shauna MacDonald - (October 2005 - November 2005)
* Tracy Dawson - March 10, 2006
* Rebecca Northan - (November 2006 & March 2007)

Regular characters and segments

; Talking to Americans": Rick Mercer tours the United States, talking to Americans as if from a Canadian news program, asking them about "Canadian issues." The object is to see how little some Americans know about their northern neighbours. The piece was so popular that the CBC had Mercer create a one-hour TV special based on the segment. It became the highest rated comedy special in Canadian television history when it aired on Canada Day, 2001. Some truly memorable bits include Rick Mercer getting Americans to say "Congratulations Canada on legalizing VCRs!" and getting a professor at Princeton University to sign a petition against the re-starting of the Annual Toronto Polar Bear Hunt. In an election 2000 segment, he convinced then-Governor of Texas George W. Bush that Canada's Prime Minister Jean Chrétien was named Jean Poutine and that he was supporting Bush's candidacy. The success of the CBC special got Mercer attention on numerous American media outlets, including ABC News Nightline. Mercer abandoned the concept after Sept. 11, 2001. ; No Pun Intended: A Ludacris-ish Indian rapper/politician played by Shaun Majumder who frequently raps about election issues and what he will do if elected. ; Babe Bennett: A "22 Minutes" "sexual affairs correspondent" played by Cathy Jones, Babe is a sassy suffragette, 1940s style, who talks about sexual matters. She ends each segment by saying "I'm just goofin' around!" ; Marg Delahunty: Mary Walsh crashes press conferences, hosts a "sleepover" for the nation's leading female (and gay) politicians, and threatens to "smite" the likes of politicians as "Marg Princess Warrior" (a loose parody of ). ; Mark Jackson: 22 Minute's Teenage correspondent that talks to politicians and who is played by Gavin Crawford. (The character is carried over from "The Gavin Crawford Show".); Bas MacLaren: A "22 Minutes" correspondent portrayed by Mark Critch. He talks to politicians about current events and is also one of the "22 Minutes" anchors. ; Misses Enid & Eulalia: Two elderly women who talk about daily events (portrayed by Cathy Jones and Mary Walsh, respectively). Upon Walsh's departure from the show, Jones has appeared alone as Miss Enid. (The characters were normally introduced as "the Misses Enid and Eulalia", meaning "Miss Enid and Miss Eulalia", but this was frequently misunderstood by viewers as "Mrs. Enid" and "Eulalia" without an honorific.); Streeters, aka The Rant: A weekly commentary on current events and political issues, which quickly became the show's most famous feature, by Rick Mercer in black and white presentations. This segment was later used in colour presentations on the "Rick Mercer Report" series. ( [ Streeters clip] );Max Pointy: A spoof of CBC personality Rex Murphy's political commentaries for "The National", performed by Colin Mochrie. Max would start off with a legitimate political issue but end up on an unrelated and generally inane point by the end of his rant.;That Show Sucked!: with Ma and Eddie Reardon (portrayed by Mary Walsh & Greg Thomey) who make fun of TV shows, with Ma saying that whatever show that Eddie watches "Suck" and constantly demanding that he give her "the G.D. clickerbox".;The Quinlan Quints: four quintuplets (the fifth one went missing and has never been found) who live in Buchans, Newfoundland and Labrador; portrayed by Cathy Jones, Rick Mercer, Greg Thomey and Mary Walsh (Colin Mochrie plays Mercer's quint role for seasons 9 and 10).;Inside Media Counter-spin: A satirical talk show with the host portrayed by Cathy Jones . The host makes blatantly stereotypical statements about her guests.;Panic Room with Betty Hope: Host Betty Hope (played by Cathy Jones) parodies Nancy Grace in "breaking news" style segments, in which she interviews someone knowledgeable about a given threat and then spins the facts to make them sound more dramatic and dangerous.;The Right Answer: Two commentators (played by Rick Mercer and Greg Thomey) debate various issues in the news. When one of them makes a point, they hit a chess timer.;The Special Eds: Mercer and Thomey portray two members of the RCMP - Special Constable Ed Cochrane and Special Constable Ed Codner - with questionable ethics.;Nathan Fielder On Your Side: Nathan is a reporter for "22 Minutes" asking the strangest questions in one-on-one interviews, as well as questions you wouldn't expect to be asked in a TV interview. His segments usually start with a shot of people walking along a street. He talks almost exclusively in a monotone and has laughed once, to date. He also claims to be allergic to dogs.

Crawford's characters

; Stuart McLean: Based on the CBC personality.

; Uwe Meyer: a fashion correspondent that Gavin Crawford portrays. (The character is carried over from "The Gavin Crawford Show".)

; Gunter Wilson: a computer whiz who hosts the segment "Computer Corner".

; Natasha Stillwell: Based on the former co-host of Discovery Channel's show "Daily Planet".

; Mark Jackson: The teen correspondent of the program, has severe acne and is repeatedly picked on, also talks with a basic braces lisp.

; Rob Boberston: an artist that does a segment called "Art Break", a parody of the classic art series "The Joy of Painting".

Critch's characters

; Rex Murphy: Based on the CBC personality.

; Danny Williams: Based on the premier of Newfoundland & Labrador. On the October 16, 2007 episode, the real Danny Williams kicked him off and took over his seat in the news desk during the show's first segment.

Jones' characters

; The Campbell Files: With Sandy Campbell who talks about the entertainment industry

; Joe Crow: An Aboriginal environmental "correspondent" who talks about the environment and the Canadian government's relation with Native peoples. Each segments ends with Crow blowing out his campfire with a single puff.

; Miss Enid: An elderly lady with plenty to say about many different issues.

Majumder's characters

; Raj Binder: a sweaty soft-spoken Indian sports nerd portrayed by Shaun Majumder, who has also been used as a behind-the-scenes interviewer on "Just For Laughs". ( [ View Raj's Website] )

; Ian Hanomansing: Based on the CBC personality.

Mercer's characters

; Billyatropia "Billy" Smithopolis: An "outstanding" Canadian sports athlete. Billy has a fear of heights and, according to one skit, is the only Canadian going to the 2008 Olympic Games for sure.

Mochrie's characters

; Max Pointy: Based on CBC radio personality Rex Murphy

; Peter Mansbridge: Used in "Mansbridge One on One" parody skits, where "Peter" has insightful interviews with himself.

Thomey's characters

; Jerry Boyle: a Newfoundland separatist whose campaign slogan is "If you can mark an X, you're my kind of people!" The character was created as a recurring character on "CODCO".

; Ottawa Gargoyle: A gargoyle who sits on top of the Parliament buildings and satirizes politicians, occasionally throwing hot oil on them.

;Tim MacMillan:Foreign correspondent who's (almost) never where he's supposed to be. He's also Frank MacMillan's brother. His segments would open with a recurring style of dialogue. "Hello, Tim?" "HELLLOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!" "Are you in Geneva?" [pause.] "NOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!"

Walsh's characters

; Connie Bloor: A "22 Minutes" Prairie correspondent played by Mary Walsh, who reports from a donut shop. Introduced in each segment by the line: "She's flat as the prairies and twice as wide," she wears a tuque and earmuffs, and her speech is punctuated with a series of snorts. One of her recurring gags involves feeding paper printouts of celebrities and politicians through a paper shredder.

; Dakey Dunn: A "22 Minutes" "Male Correspondent" played by Mary Walsh, replete with gold chain, hairy chest, cigarette and beer, who regularly lays out a macho view of economic and cultural matters. This character was earlier used in the "CODCO" series. Dakey also once accosted Margaret Atwood at a book signing, reciting one of her most famous poems over and over again.

Other memorable segments

*1997 - Paul Martin puts Greg Thomey in a headlock.
*1997-98 - Rick Mercer goes to eat at a Harvey's fast food restaurant with Jean Chrétien
*1998 - Rick Mercer parodies Canadian figure skater Elvis Stojko's groin injury at the 1998 Winter Olympics, his status as spokesman for McCain, and his appearance in an infamously ineffectual anti-tobacco advertisement. Mercer received backlash for what some considered a harsh depiction of Stojko.
*1999-2000- such luminaries as Walter Cronkite put Greg Thomey in a "celebrity headlock"
*2000 - Rick Mercer and many prominent members of the Canadian House of Commons lip sync to Trooper's "Raise A little Hell" on Parliament Hill to promote voting in the 2000 federal election. [ (view clip)]
*2000 - Rick Mercer proposes a referendum to make Stockwell Day change his first name to Doris, after actress Doris Day.
*2001 - Rick Mercer spoofs on Rahim Jaffer and performs a rap based on Eminem's "The Real Slim Shady", with the lyrics "Will the real Rahim Jaffer please stand up?"
*2001-02 - Colin Mochrie's Christmas at Parliament-- "Twas' the Night before Christmas" is re-interpreted by MPs, often airing out their partisan complaints about Paul Martin's 2002 budget
*2003 - Chrétien announces that Marg Princess Warrior (Mary Walsh) had decided to run for the Liberal leadership
*2002-03 - Misses Enid (Cathy Jones) and Eulalia (Mary Walsh) visit and talk to Paul Martin
*2002-03 - Colin Mochrie's "Apology to America"
*2003 - [ 22 Minutes's Viagra parody]
*2003-04 - Conservative party leadership candidate Belinda Stronach lipsmacks Mark Critch, Marg Princess Warrior (Mary Walsh) does the same to Stephen Harper, the eventual winner of the Tory leadership.
*2004-05 - Mark Critch visits MP Carolyn Parrish, who stomps on a George W. Bush doll and performs voodoo on its head. The flap ended with Parrish's dismissal from the Liberal caucus. [ View clip]
*2004-05 - The real Stuart McLean confronts Gavin Crawford about Gavin's impression of him. [ view clip]
*2004-05 - Mark Jackson (Crawford) goes behind the scenes on the "Canadian Idol" auditions with Ben Mulroney. [ view video clip]
*2005-06 - Mark Jackson (Crawford) auditioning for MuchMusic's VJ search. [ View Clip]
*2007-08 - Newfoundland & Labrador premier Danny Williams appears on the show and even replaced Mark Critch in the first news segment and the CBC Radio Two segment. Another featured a skit called MVC "Most Valuable Curler" that starred CBC Halifax reporter & Nova Scotia curler Colleen Jones.

Famous stunts

Jean Poutine

1999-2000 - During the 2000 American election, Rick Mercer approached Republican presidential candidate George W. Bush on a campaign stop in Michigan, asking for comment on the news that Bush had received the endorsement of Canadian prime minister "Jean Poutine". The then-prime minister's name was Jean Chrétien, and he had not endorsed Bush — it is standard practice for the Canadian government not to endorse anyone in a foreign election.

Bush – who had previously stated that "you can't stump me on world leaders" – accepted the endorsement with a short and grateful speech to the "22 Minutes" cameras, which aired as part of the show's regular "Talking to Americans" feature.

In his first official state visit to Canada four years later, Bush joked that his "one regret" about the visit was that he'd "hoped to meet Jean Poutine." [ [ President Discusses Strong Relationship with Canada ] ]

tockwell/Doris petition

2000-01 - Often cited as the show's best joke, the sketch was aired during the 2000 federal election campaign, and consisted of a staged rant by Rick Mercer.

When former Canadian Alliance leader Stockwell Day ran for Prime Minister of Canada, he proposed a mechanism to call for a referendum. A petition on any particular subject which gathered at least 350,000 signatures of voting age citizens ("3% of the electors") would automatically trigger a national referendum.

Mercer's "rant" asked viewers to log on to the "22 Minutes" website, and sign an online petition asking the party leader to change his name to Doris Day (after the singer/actress). Producers claim to have obtained in excess of 1,200,000 online votes. This was cheerfully admitted to be a stunt unhampered by the rigours of an Elections Canada-controlled petition. Although the skit had no effect on Alliance policy, it did obtain international publicity for the show and contributed to the general air of farce surrounding Day's election campaign. Day did, however, have a very appropriate response to the petition: "Que será, será." [ [ "'Doris Day' petition hits the mark"] ,, November 16, 2000.]

Oilers vs Canadiens

2003-04 - Shaun Majumder, in character as "Raj Binder", was sent to report on the 2003 outdoors Edmonton Oilers and Montreal Canadiens old timers game, preceding the night's actual NHL regular season game, which was the first NHL game to be played outdoors (at Commonwealth Stadium in Edmonton). Raj actually sneaked into all the team photos, causing uproar from the event's unwitting organizers in the days after, when the photos were released to the press. [ [ view clip] ]


*"22 Minutes' 100th Episode Spectacular" - (1997)
* "" - (1998)
* "22 Minutes Direct Hits" - (1999)
* "" - (2000)
* "Rick Mercer's Talking to Americans" - (2001)
* "" - (2002)
* "" - (2005)
* "" - (2006)

External links

* [ Official Website]
* [ This Hour Has 22 Minutes on TV Tome]
* [ This Hour Has 22 Minutes on Jump the Shark]
*imdb title|0163963|22 Minutes
* [ "22 Minutes" Photo Gallery from CBC]
* [ Photo Gallery from All The Web]


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