Canada has 35 million people, or about .4% of the world’s population. Of the approximately 2.73 million web series online (we haven’t quite verified that number, just go with it), 40% of those series (again, just go with the number) come from Canadian creators. “Backed by the government, sponsored by Molson”, people in Canada seem to have a lot of time to make web series. I’m waiting for my brother in law to have a show.
In Fools for Hire, Nick (Nick Harrison) and Mike (Mike Cavers) are corporate entertainers. As explained at the start of the show, on the scale of actors, corporate entertainers are about as low as you get – it’s not even a job, it’s on the level of artificial plants. Janet the Event Coordinator (Jennifer McLean) who regularly hires Nick and Mike refers to them as monkeys. Nick’s young son is a real actor with his own TV show and tons of commercials. He makes more in a week than Nick does in a year.
Despite the abuse and lack of respect that comes with being corporate entertainers, Mike and Nick hang in there. They have a show to pitch, Pirating 101, which will be their ticket to the big time Florida Pirate Days shows in Florida. Their dream comes crashing down when Eric Von Huffington (Eric Breker) not only steals their show idea, but vows to destroy them as well. Mike, who has a family to support, is ready to give up. Nick, who married well, wants to plug away, especially after not telling his family about the loss of the Florida gig. As Nick reminds Mike, they keep at it because they’re fools, and they don’t care if people laugh at them when things go wrong. People love the characters they play no matter how stupid they are. Nick and Mike keep at it because they make people laugh.
I don’t know how Canadians make funny shows. Canadians shouldn’t be funny. If comedy is tragedy plus time, what’s so tragic about Canada? It’s pretty; it’s peaceful and stable without social unrest or a history of conflict; there’s a strong economy, good education and health care. OK, so it can get cold, and a Canadian team hasn’t won the Stanley Cup for 20 years, but is that the best Canada can do on the tragedy scale? Really? Besides, I think the Canadian government gives all Canadians a stipend to come to Florida every winter to escape the cold. They leave behind just a few people to make sure the pipes don’t burst. So, the cold thing is covered. On the NHL thing, talk to a Cubs fan, Canada.
Anyway, yeah. Canadians are funny. From the first rime I saw SCTV, I couldn’t help but notice a different take on funny. Humor and comedy were found in the ordinary, which is somehow very Canadian. Canadian comedy isn’t angsty, or political or edgy. Like a Mel Brook’s movie, comedy can just be funny.
Fools for Hire is just a funny show. Superbly written and directed by Neil Every, Fools for Hire finds the funny in the ordinary world of corporate entertainment. While the situations and some characters are silly, Mike and Nick are just grounded and ordinary enough, with families and the stress that comes from being on the low end of the entertainment business, to keep things on this side of believable and from veering off into the dumb. Mike struggles to provide financially for his family and his wife Victoria (Victoria Davidson), while gracious, has clearly grown tired of his career. His teenage daughters Hannah (Hannah Cavers) and Alice (Alice Cavers) are embarrassed by their father’s job. Nick’s wife Rebecca (Rebecca Harrison) is starting to get tired of supporting him and his son Ben (Ben Harrison) has no respect for Nick.
One of the things that makes Fools for Hire a fun show to watch is that the cast clearly had fun making the show. The show is chock full of all sort of movie and television show references, starting with the license plate on Nick’s motorcycle in the show’s opening. There’s a drinking contest that was only missing Sorian brandy, and the Hunger Games parody to start Season 2 was wonderful – all of the characters reminded me of South Park’s Island of Misfit Mascots. Nick’s thing with the Bobby’s teeth was hysterical.
We watch a lot of shows here at WebVee Guide. Let’s just say some are better than others. Then, there are some we’re really glad we came across. Fools for Hire is one of those shows. It’s well written with good characters and the acting is spot on. Mike is perfectly exasperated as the ordinary guy trying to deal with a bad situation. Nick plays a fool until he so eloquently explains to Mike why they continue doing what they do. Mike and Nick are surrounded with a cast of some pretty crazy characters that helps to define just how ordinary they are. Mike and Nick are so nice, so likeable, you can’t help rooting for them.
By Jeff Siniawsky