Hamiltonians Eugene Levy, Martin Short among newest Canadian Comedy Hall of Fame inductees

Jim Carrey, Eugene Levy, Martin Short, and Steve Smith are all among the newest inductees into the Canadian Comedy Hall of Fame. Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP, AP Photo/E Pablo Kosmicki, THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette

Some of the greatest names in Canadian comedy are being celebrated here in Hamilton.

The Canadian Comedy Hall of Fame has announced the newest round of inductees, including Jim Carrey, Eugene Levy, Martin Short, and the cast of SCTV.

Comedian Ron James announced the Hall of Fame’s Class of 2023 at the Hamilton Convention Centre on Tuesday, where more details about the upcoming Hall of Fame festival were also released.

Several of those who are being inducted this year have ties to Hamilton. Levy and Short were both born in the city, while Steve Smith’s ‘The Red Green Show’ was produced and filmed at CHCH.

The late Billy Van is also joining the Hall of Fame this year, best known for his work on The Hilarious House of Frightenstein, which was also produced by CHCH.

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A number of Canadian comedy legends will also be honoured posthumously as inductees into the Hall of Fame, including Rose Ouellette, Marie Dressler, The Happy Gang, producer and writer Joe Bodolai and beloved open-mic impresario Jo-Anna Downey, whose small stage welcomed drop-ins from everyone from Robin Williams to talented newcomers.

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The four-day festival in February will mark the beginning of a three-year collaboration with Tourism Hamilton.

Tim Progosh, the Hall of Fame’s executive director, said Hamilton has already embraced the event.

“Some people say, when I talk to them, ‘why Hamilton?’ And I have to say it’s because the quality of the people here and the quality of the people who’ve come from here and what the vision is for the future.”

The festival kicks off on Feb. 21 with a dinner gala at the Hamilton Convention Centre Ballroom, with Ron James as headliner, and hosts Shaun Majumder and Ashley Leggatt will give those in attendance a sneak peek at exhibits dedicated to SCTV’s Great White North, Letterkenny, Frightenstein and past inductees.

There will be ongoing events, performances and exhibits throughout the festival, including an ‘Uncle Buck Brunch’ at the Convention Centre on Saturday with members of John Candy’s family.

It will wrap up with the closing gala on Feb. 24, hosted by Shaun Majumder with special guest house band Blue Rodeo, and will include inductions and tributes to Jim Carrey, the cast of SCTV, plus Martin Short and Eugene Levy separately.

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Progosh said comedy is often underappreciated as an art form, calling it the “little sister” to drama and theatre, but he said Canadians should be proud about how this country’s talent and unique take on the world has managed to put it on the map.

“We endeavour to make this the premiere event in Canada for comedy over the next three years and grow it with a unique style of of shows that combined inductions and performance and variety,” said Progosh.

“It’s not just standup, it’s not just sketch, it’s not just improv, it’s not just music — it’s all those things.

Click to play video: 'Eugene Levy steps outside his comfort zone in ‘The Reluctant Traveler’'
Eugene Levy steps outside his comfort zone in ‘The Reluctant Traveler’

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