Royal Canadian Air Farce

Everything About Fiction You Never Wanted to Know.

Colonel Stacey: "Greetings, civilians! I'm Colonel Stacey. Some of my close friends call me Theresa."
Audience: "Hi, Theresa!"
Colonel Stacey: *winks*


Royal Canadian Air Farce is a long running Sketch Comedy group which began radio broadcasts in 1973 and switched to TV in 1993, with TV specials before that time in 1980 and 1992. The original stable cast consisted of Roger Abbott, Don Ferguson, Luba Goy, John Morgan, and Dave Broadfoot, many of whom have become institutions in Canadian entertainment in their own right.

The Air Farce's mix of political and cultural satire has been a mainstay of the program, and has in many ways set the mold for political satirists of later years, both Canadian and abroad.

The show came to a close with the 2008 "Final Flight" season, culminating with their series finale on December 31, 2008. They continued to do New Year's Eve specials since then, although they announced on the 2019 special that it would be the last one.

For those that want a taste of the funny, the official website has video from every season available for free download.

Tropes used in Royal Canadian Air Farce include:
  • Adored by the Network: One skit showed the schedule for upcoming shows for newly created cable channels. The network controlling these extra channels adored Seinfeld, because it appeared on all channels in the same timeslot. But not as much as the Seinfeld channel, which occupied every time slot.
  • Atomic F-Bomb: Taken to it's literal extent as a one-shot Chicken Cannon replacement.
  • BFG: The Chicken Cannon, Canada's biggest Weapon of Mass Distraction, which the troupe uses to make fun of various people and things in the news (as well as, at the start, Canada's military budget cutbacks in the '90s). It is loaded with Abnormal Ammo: sometimes a rubber chicken, but often a mix of various gawdawful stuff appropriate to the target.
  • Canadian Accents / Canada, Eh?: Played with in every single episode. The troupe are accomplished mimics and play regional characters from across the country.
  • Can't You Read the Sign?: In the October 31, 2003 episode, Anne McLellan is at a gun store helping people register their guns. A guy brings his rifle in and puts it on the counter. Anne says, "Ugh, did you not see the sign?" and points to a sign reading "DO NOT bring FIREARMS to gun registry office." The guy looks at the sign and says, "Well, I don't smoke!"
  • Captain Obvious

Announcer: Coming up next, the overnight forecast.
Weather Guy: Dark!

  • Catch Phrase: Usually at least one per character, taken to new heights in the "Canadian Moment" skits (see also Running Gag)
    • "You got that right!" "You betcha!" "Tell me about it!" "Oh yeah, oh yeah, oh yeah!" "Totally!" (A Canadian Moment)
    • "I'm Mike. From Canmore."
    • The page quote, from the opening of Chicken Cannon News.
    • "No Visa! Take Visa, I kill you!" (Dave the Cabbie)
    • "I'm smarter than you; I'm Gilbert Smythe...Bite-Me." (At The Movies)
    • "How's she goin', my trout?" (Jimmy O'Toole)
    • "Get Stuffed!!" (Jock McBile)
    • "When I regained consciousness." (Sergeant Renfrew of the Canadian Mounted Police)
  • Caustic Critic: Gilbert Smythe-Bite-Me.
  • Conspiracy Theorist: A recurring conspiracy theorist character likes to share his theories with strangers on the street. According to him, the Kennedys were assassinated by Hitler, George W. Bush and Osama bin Laden are brothers, bin Laden is in Canada working at a gas station, and the Chernobyl accident happened because aliens spilled a Slurpee on the control panel.
  • The Ditz: On TV, Mike from Canmore; many others also qualify, but he's the undisputed king. On radio, Big Bobby Clobber (an Affectionate Parody of Bobby Clarke).
  • Drives Like Crazy: Dave The Cabbie. Also this news report:

Heikki Flergenpootz: Quebec drivers can now turn right on red light. Next big hurdle for Ministry of Transportation, getting Quebec drivers to stop at red light.

  • Getting Crap Past The (Barely Existent) Radar: Pup (see below) yeah!
    • For example, in one skit, Stephen Harper and his wife are advertising some new cooking products. One is a bottle of... something, this troper wasn't really paying attention to what, but I believe it might have been mayonnaise. Stephen was holding it. His wife started rubbing his stomach. The mayonnaise (or whatever) squirted out of the bottle, onto his wife's face and his arm.
  • Horny Scientist: Professor Ick, the unattractive and extremely horny female scientist.
  • Long Runners: Fifteen years, not including the show's decades on CBC radio.
  • Malaproper: Jean Chretien.

Jean Chretien: We are both flatulently bisexual.
Bernard Lord: I think you mean "fluently bilingual."

    • So much so that an "English to Chrétienadian dictionary" became a punchline prop.
  • Must Have Caffeine: Stavros the Espresso-Drinking Greek in the "English As A Second Language News" segments. Valerie Pringle is another example; she chugs entire pots of coffee during the early morning news. This trope may also apply to the "Canadian Moment" gang, considering how much time they spend at the coffee shop.
  • New Year Has Come: The Air Farce television series has had a yearly New Year's Eve special, with sketches poking fun at the year's events, and usually ending with the Chicken Cannon dealing with the worst people of the year. Fittingly, the series finale for the television series ended up being the December 31, 2008 episode, and the troupe still holds New Year's Eve specials to this date.
  • No Indoor Voice: SHEILA COPPS! YA HEAR ME?
  • Operator From India: In a Season 14 episode, a woman calls an alarm company when someone tries to break into her house. She reaches an overbooked operator in New Delhi who keeps putting her on hold to handle calls for Air Canada, Dell Computers, a pizza parlor, and an escort service.
  • Pilot Movie: "1992: Year of the Farce" was the first Air Farce special to be specifically intended for television (The first special was simply a televised version of the troupe recording the radio version) ended up being a Backdoor Pilot for the Air Farce television series which debuted later in 1993.
  • Real Men Wear Pink: A very macho sports host character's favorite sport? Synchronized swimming. (He "gets wet just thinking about it".)
    • "You don't like synchronized swimming and you dare to call yourself Manley?"
  • Running Gag: 75% of any given show is composed of Running Gags. Many of the most popular skits keep coming back on the strength of recognizability and running "bits" within them.
  • Special Guest: Many a politician or newsmaker has found themselves on the show, whether they agreed to it or not. Also, stars from other similar shows have made appearances, most notably when Rick Mercer from This Hour Has 22 Minutes appeared to mentor character Seamus O'Toole, who was trying to deliver a "streeter"-style commentary in Rick Mercer's style.
    • Jean Chretien took the opportunity to critique his portrayal as sounding more like Preston Manning.
  • Unusual Euphemism: When a skit requires a character to say "the F-word", they use the word "pup", sometimes quite obviously.
    • There's also a rather risqué sketch from the October 15 2004 episode featuring a bureaucrat (Jessica Holmes) explaining why government money was used to fund a film about the male sex organ, only she doesn't want to use a word that might offend people so she replaces it with "bicycle." "The film makers are also looking for men who are willing to show their bicycles on camera. Apparently men are happy to talk about their bicycles, especially with other men who might have slightly smaller bicycles. So that's why the government is putting money into this film project. But if you want me to be perfectly honest, I think men spend far too much time thinking about their bicycles."
    • Another sketch featured a scientist doing a report on sex, while replacing all the terms with city names. The reporter who is interviewing him ends the sketch by saying "I'll never look at a map the same way again!"
  • Verbal Backspace: Happens fairly often.

Stockwell Day: Let's look at the facts surrounding my leadership of our party. Since I took over, our founder, Preston Manning, has announced he's getting out of politics. We've had quite a few members leave the party. The latest poll puts our popularity just below E. coli bacteria. Okay, let's not look at the facts.


Afghani Puppet: People have the wrong idea about Osama bin Laden!
Peter Mansbridge: Then he's not a bloodthirsty fanatic who's lost touch with the real world.
Afghani Puppet: Oh. I guess people do have the right idea.