According to Saturday Night Live, Montrealers are weirdos who get into Cline Dion’s air with any provocation and think of Toronto above all as a place where they might spot Drake. Hey, that’s a silly stereotype, but this Montreal reporter can’t disprove it personally.
In a satirical sketch on a CBC Montreal morning show airing this weekend, Bowen Yang and Kate McKinnon play French-speaking news presenters hosting a show called Bonjour-Hi. (You may remember the seemingly innocuous bilingual greeting became a target of anger by the provincial government last year. Simpler times!)
The Montreal sketch of the best corners of Canada and the worst parts of France is a place where everyone smokes, has Jean somewhere in its name, and the Quebecois and European accents are interchangeable. (The Yangs accent is classic Quebec, but McKinnons is much closer to French French than French-Canadian.)
It also includes one segment per week guest host Issa Rae as the Toronto correspondent on Drake Watch.
I thought I saw Drake, but it was just my friend of yours, Rae said with a French accent (?). Yours looks a lot like Drake, plus I was confused because he was crying on a basketball court.
The morning show hosts then give their confused American guest a gift basket that turns into a hefty but predictable slander on bagels. Why is everything different from 25%? 100 here? he asks.
The sketch has some actual Canadian references: Yang lived in Montreal as a child, and has already spoken about his stay there introduced him to the national treasure Cline Dion. And according to his Twitter account, one of the co-authors of the sketches was Celestial Yim, originally from Toronto now based in New York.
Just a few remarks: an English-language program in Montreal could showcase Canadians like Drake and Rachel MacAdams, but a French-language Quebec program is unlikely to do the same. Ditto with the maple leaves on their coffee cups, these are Anglo-Canadian things.
Plus, the Canada that lives on in the American imagination is still a land of hockey and free health care, not to mention the racism and unrest deeply rooted here. Bagels and cigarettes are easier to joke about than the destruction of Indigenous fisheries that politicians, including NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh, are calling terrorism.
Not all local stores liked the sketch. This is perhaps the rare case of a Bonjour-Hi so blatant that all Quebecers agree that it should be banned, the impassive Montreal Gazette.
But of course, in classic Canadian fashion, were happy just to be noticed.
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