I can’t remember the last time I actually sat down and watched an Air Farce special on New Year’s Eve because most years we’re either hosting something or being hosted by someone else, but that doesn’t mean I won’t miss them when they’re gone, which apparently is going to be soon.
It isn’t what it once was because that’s what happens when three of your original members are dead, but no matter what, I’ll always have a soft spot for it. I’m glad it’s getting a sendoff, even if it’s a sad sounding scaled down one.
The Air Farce franchise ran as a radio program from 1973 to 1997, and a weekly TV show from 1993 to 2008. Considering this long legacy, Catto offered Ferguson one last opportunity to produce an hour-long goodbye for fans.
“We were very grateful when they came back and said they can do it,” says Catto. “It means a lot to us and I think it speaks to their commitment to Canadian audiences.”
The reduced budget, however, will force Farce to fly through their sketches without a studio audience.
“It’ll be the first and only time in 46 years,” says Ferguson. “I’m grateful that CBC has given us a chance to say goodbye, but it still hurts a little.”
He plans to assemble the same cast who performed with Farce last New Year’s Eve, including fellow founding trouper Luba Goy, Jessica Holmes, Craig Lauzon, Darryl Hinds, Isabel Kanaan and Chris Wilson. Ferguson says everyone participating, including himself, is getting paid a minimum rate allowed by Canada’s acting union due to budget constraints.
The special will feature highlights from the past decade of New Year’s Eve shows as well as clips from the 16 seasons when “Air Farce” ran as a regular weekly TV series. These will include salutes to two dear, departed original farceurs, John Morgan and Roger Abbott.
There will also be the usual jabs at headlines from the past 12 months. “We’ve always prided ourselves on being current,” says Ferguson, “and that will remain our focus inasmuch as the reduced budget permits.”