Pleasant priests in conversation
July 12, 2018 3:24 PM   Subscribe

Scott Thompson on CODCO, the Hidden Gem of Newfoundland: "One of the first monologues Scott Thompson performed for Kids in the Hall centered on his Canadian identity. 'Americans know as much about Canada as straight people do about gays,' he purred to camera as his foppish alter ego Buddy Cole. So it’s no surprise that one of Thompson’s favorite sketch troupes of all time, CODCO, also reveled in their regional identity." posted by mandolin conspiracy (35 comments total) 32 users marked this as a favorite
 
Here's the weird thing, I loved KitH, of course, and really liked CODCO too. All my friends also loved KitH yet NONE of them remember CODCO, like zero.
posted by Twinge at 3:33 PM on July 12 [1 favorite]


How have I never heard of this? Pulling it down into my Plex immediately.
posted by zerolives at 3:42 PM on July 12 [1 favorite]


As a huge KitH fan, I didn't get into CODCO until the airing of the "Best Of," that contained some skits that CBC previously censored. I used to have a VHS tape that I recorded it on. If memory serves, it included:

Cooking With Spook ("Hot Knives! A very simple dish.")

and...

Pleasant Priests in Conversation ("I'm that saturated with booze and masturbation.")
posted by mandolin conspiracy at 3:43 PM on July 12 [1 favorite]


CODCO are like the Velvet Underground of Canadian Comedy. Hardly anyone saw it, but everyone involved went places.
posted by GuyZero at 3:55 PM on July 12 [4 favorites]


To this day we still say, with shocking regularity, “Friday Night!” like the Friday Night Girls and the more obscure “earl all over her breastes” which is hard to explain, let alone type.
posted by chococat at 4:22 PM on July 12 [5 favorites]


Two hundred hits of acid is TOO MUCH ACID!
posted by No Robots at 4:29 PM on July 12 [1 favorite]


I loved CODCO, especially Greg Malone's impersonations of CBC journalist Barbara Frum on a segment called The Jugular.

Frum had a news magazine show that followed Peter Mansbridge's CBC evening newscast, called The Journal. She was almost an institution unto herself. She was not known for having a sense of humor, or empathy, so it was great fun to see Malone zero in for the lampoon. (If you're wondering, conservative political commentator David Frum is her son.)

Here's a sample of The Jugular segment.
posted by Short Attention Sp at 4:42 PM on July 12 [2 favorites]


That Pleasant Priests bit was very, very sharp.
posted by Nelson at 4:46 PM on July 12


I dunno, I thought Barbara Frum showed her funny side when she hosted “As It Happens” on CBC Radio (before she got “The Journal”). “What did you feed the goddamned cabbage?” I still remember that interview... ;-) I swear I have an old VHS of Codco somewhere in my archives—must go dig that out!
posted by kentk at 4:46 PM on July 12


Wow. This is amazing. I didn't even have any idea until now that CODCO existed.
posted by KingEdRa at 4:49 PM on July 12 [1 favorite]


Andy Jones actually quit CODCO when the CBC refused to air "Pleasant Irish Priests in Conversation." Blog post.
posted by No Robots at 4:55 PM on July 12 [1 favorite]


I'm glad Scott Thompson is singing CODCO's praises I think they've been a bit forgotten up here. I remember many a Thursday watching CODCO and Kids in the Hall back to back. I always felt so Canadian...

If you like CODCO, check out their feature film The Adventures of Faustus Bidgood.
posted by Ashwagandha at 5:01 PM on July 12 [2 favorites]


Andy Jones actually quit CODCO

He wrote for the Kids in the Hall for a season after that if I remember correctly.
posted by Ashwagandha at 5:02 PM on July 12


One night I was watching at one of my more conventionallly-minded relative's house. The relative walked into the room just as the "The Littlest Homo" sketch was starting. He watched the intro and said, "I've never heard of this show."
posted by No Robots at 5:12 PM on July 12


Oh my. I was living in Newfoundland in the 80's, and CODCO was *everywhere* (along with the LP from their earlier effort, the Wonderful Grand Band with its ode to the Avalon Mall - "Parking's free, but ya gotta pay to pee!"). Faustus Bidgood had finally finished filming (they took a multi-year break in between act 2 and act 3, so a pregnant woman in one scene had an eight-year-old child in the next and no I am not kidding). I watched it with some native Newfoundlanders, who were *killing themselves* laughing. I found it funny enough but at the same time dystopian in a disturbing way (but my taste in films was a lot simpler then). Oh those wonderful memories!

Remember when Barbara Frum came onstage at the awards show to meet her doppelganger from the Jugular? He of course asked her, "Here you are, confronted with a bogus Barbara. With a false Frum. Tell me Barbara - are you bitter?"
posted by Mogur at 5:30 PM on July 12


Hardly anyone saw it, but everyone involved went places

Ugh. You mean hardly anyone west of New Brunswick saw it. Us Atlantic Canadians loved CODCO. Mary Walsh is my hero.
posted by Stonkle at 5:44 PM on July 12 [3 favorites]


I found CODCO harder to get into as a teenager although I couldn't say why. KiTH was a surefire way to annoy adults, especially parents, and everything about it had a much cooler cachet. The CODCO intro doesn't invite viewers in the same way either. Looking forward to binging this regardless!
posted by Calzephyr at 5:45 PM on July 12


Mary Walsh interviewed my grandmother a few years ago for a recorded history project. I wasn't quite sure how it would go as Nan is a bit prim and proper. Much to my surprise, my dear 90 year old Nan was star struck by her entirely and couldn't stop singing her praises.
posted by peppermind at 5:57 PM on July 12 [4 favorites]


No Daddy
posted by aunt_winnifred at 6:05 PM on July 12 [1 favorite]


I was born in St. John’s, Newfoundland and grew up in Labrador. Codco, in addition to airing opposite Kids In the Hall, would repeat late at night, which gave much of the already-odd humour an almost surreal edge when I viewed it shortly before bedtime in the summer.

That the CBC poured money into something which, at the time, would’ve been completely incoherent to the rest of the country is miraculous.
posted by tantrumthecat at 6:05 PM on July 12 [5 favorites]


Started uni in 1989 and I remember Codco and Mary Walsh from that era, for sure. Doesn't excuse This Hours Has 22 Minutes and Rick Mercer from being utter dreck, though. But Codco was awesome.
posted by JamesBay at 6:11 PM on July 12


my dear 90 year old Nan

Was she... was she like Nan Budgell?

completely incoherent to the rest of the country

Alberta super-fan here.
posted by No Robots at 6:38 PM on July 12 [1 favorite]


Alberta super-fan here.

“Some shockin’, bye!” No, seriously, that’s awesome, I had no idea!
posted by tantrumthecat at 7:01 PM on July 12


This is the only CODCO that I know, and I inflict it upon everyone I know at the slightest opportunity: Anne of Green Gut

Delighted to have the chance to make the acquaintance of the rest of the province.
posted by ivan ivanych samovar at 10:15 PM on July 12 [3 favorites]


OMG, I had completely forgotten that show! Thank you, thank you for the YouTube links!!!
posted by The Underpants Monster at 10:48 PM on July 12


Hmm I might have to make boiled dinner this weekend
posted by Stonkle at 10:56 PM on July 12 [3 favorites]


Remember when Barbara Frum came onstage at the awards show to meet her doppelganger from the Jugular? He of course asked her, "Here you are, confronted with a bogus Barbara. With a false Frum. Tell me Barbara - are you bitter?"

It's at the 6.44 mark of this Frum memorial.
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 12:26 AM on July 13


British Columbia representing: everyone I know liked Codco. Their review hit Vancouver's East End in the late 70s right after the "Laugh Your Guts Out" tour. (Or maybe it was the same tour.) The thing about Codco was the anger behind the jokes -- anger at the Church, at poverty, at attitudes towards gays, and other things, in that order, mostly. A friend of mine worked a political campaign in Newfoundland and told me about being screeched out, which is to say the locals threw a cocktail party for him. They served rum (screech), straight up with canapes such as chunks of bologna on ritz crackers. If you don't understand that kind of poverty-mocking humor, you probably won't like Codco.
posted by CCBC at 2:26 AM on July 13


told me about being screeched out

Screeched IN, surely? I have never heard of being screeched OUT, but to be "Screeched in" is to be made an honourary Newfoundlander by eating a Newfoundland Steak (balogna), drinking rum and kissing a cod.
posted by Paladin1138 at 4:52 AM on July 13 [2 favorites]


Americans just don’t like to have Canadians be a distinct ethnic group. They don’t like it. I don’t have a super-thick accent or anything, but when certain things come out, when I say “a-gaynst,” Americans don’t like it: “What are you doing, you trying to be special?”

I wonder how the success of Trailer Park Boys on Netflix could be a barometer for this. Ricky and Julian and Leahy are the most authentically Maritimer people on TV, not nearly the gap between a Maritime working-class accent and what an American on TV sounds like as there is to someone from St. John's but it's still very noticeably different. Now I'm just imagining the Byrds rolling in and taking over the Park.
posted by Space Coyote at 8:44 AM on July 13


when I say “a-gaynst,” Americans don’t like it

How do Americans say against?
posted by Ashwagandha at 10:41 AM on July 13


How do Americans say against?
Typically as though that middle a wasn't there, with an "in" sound in the middle.
posted by Four Ds at 10:58 AM on July 13


So sort of like "a-gINst"? I guess that makes sense.

Speaking of accents, I'm curious how Letterkenny will do now that it is on Hulu.
posted by Ashwagandha at 11:23 AM on July 13 [1 favorite]


Maybe people from the Southern US say "a-ginst," but hereabouts we say, "a-genst," with a short e sound.
posted by The Underpants Monster at 11:36 AM on July 13 [1 favorite]


yeah, after a late nite oot after art school & learning about the absurdism dadism and the like, then stumblin hoem befuddled and seein this on the tele? My only thought was... This is uh something, but who would actually go to the square heads and put it on the TV?

According to the credits, Ivan Fecan, I think?
posted by ovvl at 6:19 PM on July 15


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