A classic example of the value of cross-ownership of both a television station/network and a cable channel is demonstrated by the history of this series. Comedy Now began on the Comedy Channel on July 6th 1997. The concept was a simple one: to provide an opportunity for complete performances by stand-up comedians to be given exposure to much wider audiences than they could hope to reach through the clubs which were their normal habitat.
The audience response was so satisfactory that in 2000 CTV, who owned the Comedy Channel, moved the series onto their main service, while still running repeats of Comedy Now on their cable channel.
Although most performances ran for an hour, some lent themselves more to half-hour versioning. They featured all Canada’s top comedians, as well as giving first-time television exposure to many promising newcomers. The programs were shot in studios in the Toronto area by top variety producer Sandra Faire’s SFA Productions. The series debuted on CTV on Fridays at 9:00pm in September 2000, moving to 10:00pm the following year. In September 2002 it moved to Saturdays at 10:00pm, by which time it had won two Genie Awards and no less than eleven international awards from such prestigious Festivals as those of Houston and New York.
In 2003-2004 it was seen at 9:00pm on Saturdays in a half-hour format. The series returned in subsequent seasons, with its tenth anniversary season (including its Comedy Network debut series) , commencing on Saturday June 16th 2007.
Further renewals followed, with the twelfth anniversary season debuting on CTV on June 12th, 2010, Saturdays at 10pm. Starring in the new season's episodes were Ian Bagg, Dylan Rhymer, Dave Hemstad, JP Mass, Allyson Smith, Darcy Michael, Debra DiGiovanni, Ian Decker, Kelly Taylor, Nick Beaton, Dana Alexander, Tyler Hawkins, Trent McClellan and Simon King.
On May 9th 2011 CTV announced that Comedy Now's 13th season would begin on June 4th. The 14th season began on CTV on June 2nd 2012. Starring were Jeff McEnery, Roman Danylo, Nathan Macintosh, Darrin Rose, Christina Walkinshaw, Eddie Della Siepe, Graham Chittenden, Perry Perlmutar, Nile Séguin and Lars Callieou.
Written by Pip Wedge - June, 2012