Thursday, August 27, 2009

Living National Treasures

I've been in Saskatchewan shooting exteriors for the CBC sitcom Little Mosque on the Prairie, on which I have a fun recurring role as the fundamentalist wannabe "Faisal." (We shoot the interiors on sound stages in Toronto and all the exterior scenes are saved for a shoot in Saskatchewan at the end of each season's work.)

This season, Jayne Eastwood has been added to the cast who along with Deb McGrath, who plays the town's mayor, serve as incredible models of comedy brilliance for me. It was heartbreaking to me to see how much of Deb's comic bits in last season's climactic wedding episode were cut out, I guess for time. I hope they resurface as deleted scenes on the upcoming DVD release.

It's amazing to be on the same set as comediennes of their calibre and I frankly think they are as good as any who have ever been on TV. They are in the same league as Lucille Ball, Bea Arthur or Jean Stapleton.

Naturally, being Canadian, they don't have the same name recognition to audiences--BUT THEY SHOULD.

I suppose the best they can hope for is an Order of Canada, but frankly I wish we could be like Japan and declare our great artists Living National Treasures. As a country, if we acknowledge anyone, it's usually too late. I'd rather Jayne and Deb knew how valuable they are to our culture while they're still around to appreciate it. The Japanese understand this.

I've got my own list of who should be Canada's living national treasures. It's time someone in power did too.

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