Newfoundland-based Republic of Doyle may be coming to a close, but Newfoundlanders may fill a half hour spot on the network next fall. Five teams from the province have been voted in to the final 55 of the CBC Comedy Coup, and if all goes well one of these comedy groups can see themselves on prime time as part of the broadcasting company’s search for their next hit television show.
The teams range in varying styles from two best friends travelling through different universes, to a loveable mischievous grandmother, to a group of randomly assorted roommates with nothing in common but the roof over their heads. While each team is different stylistically they share one common goal at the end of the day: a $500,000 deal for a green lit production for the winning crew to be aired next fall on CBC – hefty prize for any of these aspiring groups.
However, there is still a long road ahead of the five remaining hometown teams as competition intensifies with more difficult tasks to complete each week. There is still another round of voting from fans, a negotiation for an option agreement for the top 15 teams, and if our local clubs make it through that gauntlet they still have to pitch their project before a panel of industry professionals at a live Final Five event in Toronto in December.
Patrick Condon, writer and director for the team Infinite Possibilities, has a long resume of other projects, including an award winning short film which had the opportunity to screen at the world renowned Cannes Film Festival.
“In September approximately 275 teams submitted their idea for what the next big Canadian comedy show could be,” he said. “My love is TV more so than film, so a chance like this is a once in a lifetime opportunity.”
This isn’t Condon’s first rodeo in the TV world. The writer-director from the capital city has been around other Newfoundland-based projects before, such as directing material for Republic of Doyle’s season three DVD and the second season of Majumder Manor starring local celeb Shaun Majumder. Condon moved back to the rock from Toronto to be with his team, which includes Memorial University alumni Mark Perry and Muse alumni Ian Vatcher.
Memorial Alum doesn’t stop there either. The Nanny Walbourne group, as hilarious as the name suggests, have graduates in the Bachelor of Fine Arts (Visual Arts) from our Grenfell campus in Corner Brook. Allen Walbourne (the primary actor and writer of the team) and Mark Adams (in charge of media, social networking, and merchandise) mention that the character of Nanny Walbourne herself is actually based off of Allen’s own grandmother, Agnes.
The character, as Walbourne explains, “is always on the hunt looking for the bargains, embodying quick wit, Newfie charm and loveable humour” –a combination that many of us who have grown up on the island have definitely experienced.
Many students have also had the experience of living with people with which we have nothing in common, such as in The Lease. Local comedian Matt Wright, one of the co-writers for the group, describes the show as “a mockumentary sitcom that we’ve created about a guy who gets dumped by his girlfriend and has to get random roommates for the first time in his life.” After viewing the videos these guys and girls have posted so far into the competition, this show has definite possibilities for incredibly humorous real life scenarios, much like a modern day Seinfeld.
The remaining five teams from the province include Infinite Possibilities, Nanny Walbourne, Wing Mom, Yarns, and The Lease. Voting for the top 15 is currently ongoing at www.comedycoup.cbc.ca where you can find more information about the contest and view projects from across the country.