The Royal Canadian Air Farce (Roger Abbott 1946-2011) (John Morgan 1930-2004)

1998 Lifetime Artistic Achievement (Broadcasting)

"Air Farce provides a mirror — slightly cracked — for the nation." Cast member Don Ferguson's phrase captures the mainstream wit of the group which weekly pinpoints and punctures our foibles, faults and fallacies without ever laying waste the national psyche. On the theory that "it's harder to find a good joke than an ideology", their humour is rooted in the daily events of Canadian political and social life, yet reflects a basic decency and set of values that their myriad admirers confirm reflect "people like us". While sharp and perceptive, their wit avoids the vulgarity and destructiveness of much contemporary comedy, with the result that they enjoy massive popularity, first on CBC Radio, now on television, and always before a live audience.

Growing out of the 1970s Montreal-based improv group "The Jest Society", the troupe transferred to Toronto, where rave reviews led to unparalleled success on radio and television. Each player - Roger Abbott, Don Ferguson, Luba Goy and John Morgan — brings his or her own gifts to the mix, and all share an innate talent for performance and a common sensibility which ensures that any disagreements arise only over how to make things better. "It's like a marriage," they agree. "We stick together because we know we have a good thing going and it behooves us to make the most of it." Their winning formula has made them this country's Number One comedy show and among the five most-watched shows — American or Canadian — in Canada.

Flying high today, their work is seen as far afield as Russia. Tapings of their broadcasts have raised millions for community-based charities, their shows have won a total of fifteen ACTRA Awards, and they have been named to Maclean's Honour Roll of "Canadians Who Matter". "We're in the business world now," says Abbott, "and business is good!"