Tegan and Sara, Murray McLauchlan, ‘SCTV’ producer to receive arts awards

OTTAWA — Twin pop duo Tegan and Sara, singer-songwriter Murray McLauchlan, and one of the creators of “SCTV” are among the recipients of Canada’s most prestigious performing arts awards.

The Governor General’s Performing Arts Awards Foundation is announcing this year’s class today in Ottawa.

Songwriters and activists Tegan and Sara are getting the National Arts Centre Award for their musical success as well as their advocacy work for equality, gender justice, and progressive social change.

Meanwhile, McLauchlan and “SCTV” producer Andrew Alexander, who is also CEO of The Second City theatre company, are in line for a lifetime artistic achievement award, along with veteran Quebec actress Genevieve Bujold, National Arts Centre president Peter Herrndorf, concert pianist Angela Hewitt, and dancer and choreographer Ginette Laurin.

A voluntarism award is going to arts champion Florence Junca Adenot.

The laureates will be honoured at three events in Ottawa, culminating in a gala at the National Arts Centre on June 2.

Alexander joins “SCTV” stars Eugene Levy and Martin Short as a recipient of the award, presented annually to Canadians “whose accomplishments have inspired and enriched the cultural life of our country.”

“I was a little dumbfounded when I got the call, thinking ‘Are you sure you got the right Andrew Alexander?’” Alexander says from Chicago, where he runs the storied comedy theatre.

“It’s a phenomenal acknowledgment for a kid from Brampton, which is just outside Toronto. It’s pretty cool.”

Alexander opened Second City’s northern chapter in 1974 after borrowing $7,000 to buy the Canadian rights.

He would stack it with performers pulled from Second City Chicago and elsewhere: Eugene Levy, Gilda Radner, John Candy, Joe Flaherty, Andrea Martin and Dan Aykroyd, among them.

A young Catherine O’Hara worked coat check, he notes.

A year later, Toronto’s Lorne Michaels debuted his seminal sketch comedy series “Saturday Night” on NBC (later named “Saturday Night Live”), and Alexander scrambled to pull together his own show, “SCTV.”

“I thought, ‘Oh my God,’ ABC or CBS is going to invent a show like ‘Saturday Night Live’ and steal my cast,” he recalls. “It was a defensive move.”

“SCTV” would launch even more comedy superstars, including Short, Dave Thomas, and Rick Moranis.

“There was definitely a golden age,” Alexander says of the time.

“You always get asked that question: ‘Why?’ I can’t give you a good scientific answer why, it just was a special time.”

But the influence of “SCTV” can still be felt.

“You talk to Judd Apatow, or any of the famous film directors, Jay Roach, Seth Rogen, Steve Carell — all these people were influenced by ‘SCTV’ and it’s pretty extraordinary.”

He laments that the series is not available on television today because he never secured rights to music on the show.

“We used a lot of music and just thought, ‘Oh, this is a nice song, it’s the Beatles, let’s just use it,’” he notes.

“At the time when we did it, music sync rights weren’t even an issue. And then 20 years later it became a very expensive proposition.”

Just Posted

BILD says not the time for higher permit fees in Red Deer

Construction industry is hard hit by slow economy

Bighorn Country telephone town hall for Red Deer area set for Wednesday

Residents can phone in from 6:30-7:30 p.m. to hear about the project or ask questions

Central Alberta real estate sales follow a familiar pattern

2018 house sale numbers mirror 2017 in central Alberta

Red Deer hospital settles dispute, welcomes neonatal nurse

A dispute over nursing levels at Red Deer Regional Hospital Centre’s emergency… Continue reading

Drumheller-Stettler MLA quits UCP

Rick Strankman to sit as Independent

Lucic, Kassian each score twice to power Oilers in 7-2 win over Sabres

EDMONTON — Milan Lucic and Zack Kassian each scored a pair of… Continue reading

Big Valley family gives back to community

Donates $24,560 to Stettler Health Foundation and Edmonton Stollery Children’s Hospital

Giordano notches three points to lead Flames in 7-1 blowout of Coyotes

CALGARY — Flames captain Mark Giordano celebrated his 800th NHL game in… Continue reading

All-female team out to prove women racers aren’t a gimmick

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. — Every racing series in the world is full… Continue reading

‘Game of Thrones’ final season to debut on April 14

NEW YORK — “Game of Thrones” fans, get ready. HBO announced Sunday… Continue reading

Kylie Jenner loses record for most-liked Instagram post

NEW YORK — Kylie Jenner’s birth announcement is no longer the most-liked… Continue reading

Study shows black bears need a variety of salmon species to be healthy

VANCOUVER — Black bears need access to different species of salmon rather… Continue reading

Trade war’s wounded: Companies improvise to dodge cost hikes

WASHINGTON — In Rochester, New York, a maker of furnaces for semiconductor… Continue reading

Most Read