Second City Television


Like SNL, SCTV had a history of launching comedy’s Next Big Things (John Candy, Rick Moranis, Martin Short)—but without the bothersome distraction of being a massive hit. Originating in Canada, the sketch show had a certain modesty that fit the stereotype of the self-effacing Canadian; even its most popular creation, Bob & Doug McKenzie’s “Great White North,” was a good-natured parody of government-mandated, low-budget “Canadian culture” programs. It was wry where SNL was brash and meta where SNL was direct (each show took place in the context of a fictional low-budget TV network). That’s not to say SCTV was dull and cerebral—what with the Shmenge Brothers and the blowing things up “real good”—but SCTV dared to be little, and was bigger for it.

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