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Canadas Comedy, the Voice of a Polite Nation, Rises in the Trump Era

Rick Mercer, a comedian and a political satirist, in a bar in Toronto in June. He is sometimes called Canada’s Jon Stewart for his sharp-edged political commentary. Credit Cole Burston for The New York Times Mr. Mercer’s current show, “Mercer Report,” visits an out-of-the-way hamlet or unsung hero each episode, holding them up as prides of Canada. Still, Mr. Mercer is the first to admit that a stand-alone identity remains beyond easy identification. “The question of what it means to be Canadian, what the Canadian identity is, has confused Canadians for about 150 years,” he said. “The population is so spread out. The maple leaf doesn’t even grow all over Canada.” Some comedians, rather than breaking free of their nation’s junior status, embrace it. Danielle Deveau , a lecturer at the University of Waterloo, noticed something curious in her work studying Canada’s popular culture. Canadian comedians, she wrote in a research paper , were adopting “camp,” a form of humor often used by gay performers to ironically reappropriate homophobic slurs and stereotypes as points of pride. But instead, or sometimes simultaneously, they were applying that to Canadian national identity. She highlighted a series of skits from the early-1990s sketch comedy show “The Kids in the Hall,” in which Scott Thompson plays Buddy Cole, a gay Canadian actor who delivers wry monologues, often about his identity.

For the original version including any supplementary images or video, visit https://www.nytimes.com/2017/06/30/world/canada/canadas-comedy-the-voice-of-a-polite-nation-rises-in-the-trump-era.html

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