Get ready to bust a gut while 10 of Canada’s funniest comedians try not to.
That’s the premise of “LOL: Last One Laughing Canada”, which boasts a seemingly simple premise: the comics spend six hours together within the confines of a camera-equipped “Big Brother”-style set, each pulling out all the stops to try to get the others to laugh, with host Jay Baruchel presiding over the mayhem.
The first laugh earns the chuckler a yellow warning card, while a second laugh infraction leads to ejection, with the ousted comedian joining Baruchel in the adjoining green room where they watch a live feed of what’s taking place.
The star-studded cast includes Tom Green (“Road Trip”, “The Tom Green Show”), Colin Mochrie (“Whose Line Is It Anyway?”), Andrew Phung (“Kim’s Convenience”), Brandon Ash-Mohammed (“This Hour Has 22 Minutes”) Debra DiGiovanni (“Humour Resources”), Dave Foley (“The Kids in the Hall”), Jonathan Lajoie (“The League”), Mae Martin (“Feel Good”), Caroline Rhea (“Sabrina the Teenage Witch”) and K. Trevor Wilson (“Letterkenny”).
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In an exclusive interview with ET Canada, the cast discussed their respective strategies going in — and how it all changed when confronted with the reality of the situation.
According to Phung, it quickly became apparent that clever wordplay and sophisticated humour were no match for outrageous silliness when it came to eliciting laughter.
“I love that we all tried to be like, really classy, highbrow comedians. But at the end of the day, just Colin [Mochrie] jumping around like a beaver and humping a table is enough to eliminate,” he said. “So, yeah, I love that we all try to just really be classy on this one, but it ain’t going to happen. We got to be true to who we are.”
Mochrie, who does indeed amorously attack a table at one point, concurred.
“It’s not like it was the smart, insightful comedy that got people,” he said. “Everything was the stupidest thing. I mean, in real life, the thing that always gets to me is when somebody hurts themself, so if anyone had picked up on that, I could have easily been out the first episode.”
Martin, who’s won accolades for her Netflix dramedy “Feel Good”, admitted that her initial strategy to prevent laughter went out the window immediately. “I really thought, ‘I’ll just go to some really dark places in my mind and I’ll be fine,'” she recalled. “But I think it was the absurdity of the situation, and it just got to me and a kind of hysteria set in.”
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DiGiovanni knew from the beginning that preventing herself from laughing would be an uphill battle. “Yes, it’s very fair to say I’m a laugher. I’ve always been a laugher,” she admitted. “I think there was a part of me that thought I was going to be able to cruise through. But then when the reality of the situation came up, I was like, ‘Oh, no, no.'”
For Lajoie, who’s had to keep a straight face while surrounded by sheer hilarity on FX comedy “The League”, the challenge wound up being greater than he anticipated. “I have never tried to not laugh for that long,” Lajoie admitted. “Like, even when you’re you’re shooting on a TV show or a movie or something, you can always laugh, and not like you’re you’re going to get kicked off the show if you laugh.”
As viewers will surmise, Ash-Mohammed displayed an uncanny ability to resist the urge to laugh, something that proved to be a surprise to him. “Like, everyone who knows me knows that I always laugh for everything… so how I was able to pull that off, I have no idea,” he said. “The Lord blessed me with this. It was just like, on this day, you get this power to not laugh. You’ve saved up for it your whole life, and now you’re using it on this one day.”
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Wilson, best known for playing Squirrely Dan on “Letterkenny”, pointed out that the competition itself was just one element of the experience. “I mean, a good number of the people on the show, I had had the privilege of working with before and some I’ve known for many years and consider, you know, dear friends,” he explained. “So on one hand, it’s like, ‘Oh my god, I love seeing this person here, and I’m so happy that this person was getting recognized.’ And on the other hand, it’s like, ‘Oh, wow, I’ve been watching this person for years and have revered their comedy. And now someone considers us to be in the same category.'”
New episodes of “LOL: Last One Laughing Canada” drop each Friday on Prime Video.