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The end of SNL Québec? (#216)

Télé-Québec (Québec’s public television broadcaster, but perhaps only in fourth of fifth place in terms of ratings among non-specialty channels) is currently undergoing a round of budget cuts.

Last September, they launched Saturday Night Live Québec (SNL Québec).  The novice comedians of the new series became instant stars and household names across Québec and Francophone Canada.   They have since forged a high-profile media presence for themselves on talk shows, at comedy festivals, and in television and media in general.  In a nutshell, SNL Québec allowed us to view the making of new TV stars (and boy, have they been high-profile the last few months).

However, the nature of Télé-Québec’s cutbacks have finally hit home, and they had to cancel SNL Québec.   Last night’s airing could very well have been the LAST episode ever made.

For the moment, you can still view prior SNL episodes on Télé-Québec’s website, here:  http://snlquebec.telequebec.tv/emissions

I’ve seen it mentioned in the media a few times that Télé-Québec is trying to sell the program to a different network- but only time will tell if they succeed.

Regardless of whether or not another network buys the show, the following TV stars have been born and are taking new roles across all media platforms:

  • Phil Roy
  • Virginie Fortin
  • Mathieu Quesnel
  • Léane Labrèche-Dor
  • Pier-Luc Funk
  • Katherine Levac 

The show may have come to an abrupt end, but I have a feeling these six individuals will continue to be highly visible for many years to come.

Véronic DiCaire – Who is that singing? (#167)

Véronic DiCaire has become a singing sensation on two fronts, both here on the homefront as well as abroad.    She has a career as a singer, with a couple of really good albums to her name.   But she has become wildly famous for being able to impersonate over 50 celebrities (you would swear she is actually Céline Dion if you were to listen to her sing with your eyes shut… I’ll provide a link to her official YouTube channel below).

A couple of nights ago, I happend to see her in a whole new light, which is prompting me to write this post.   I’ll get to this a bit later.  But first, let’s begin from the end (the big stuff), and then quickly work backwards.

DiCaire has become a star who had a permanent show in Vegas (at least until it was no longer permanent), doing her singing impersonations.  She has been a coach/judge on France’s X-Factor, and she has had numerous televised specials in Francophone Switzerland, in France, and here at home, in Montréwood.

How she came to this point is a bit of an interesting story… (un alignement fortuit des astres en sortes, if you’re looking for a new expression in French).   

First, Véronic DiCaire is not from Québec.  She is Franco-Ontarienne (or Ontaroise as Franco-Ontariens are now being called more-and-more) from the community of Embrun, not far from Ottawa, in the francophone region of Eastern Ontario. However much of her career has centred around Montréwood, where she found some of her big breaks.

DiCaire performed in numerous stage musicals from the time she was a young lady in the early 2000s, performing in Montréal, as well as in Paris.   It introduced her to some of the larger names in Montréwood’s pop-culture industry and resulted in an album which brought her more attention as a Felix nominee in 2005.

Things moved quite fast and she became an opening act for Céline Dion’s Taking Chances tour around 2008, doing singing impersonations of other celebrities.  René Angélil was won over and he sent her on tour as as star in her own right, across Québec, France, Belgium and Switzerland.

Her impersonation talents and hit performances have since made her a household name in Francophone Canada, across Francophone Europe, and with many Anglophones.  It’s safe to say she has pop-star status.

At the beginning of this post I mentioned I just saw her in a whole new light.   Véronic DiCaire just finished hosting SNL Québec (Québec’s version of Saturday Night Live) – and she was amazing!!  I have never seen her in this light before and her acting talents are just as good as her voice.  When I watched her introduction at the start of the show, the way she was carrying herself and the way she joked immediately reminded me of the type of charm Cameron Diaz radiates.   Check it out and see if I’m wrong.  You can watch the episode yourself on Télé-Québec’s website here:  http://zonevideo.telequebec.tv/media/19936/veronic-dicaire/snl-quebec.

Something else which is kind of interesting… she shared the stage in SNL with Katherine Levac who is also Ontaroise, from a community just down the road from where DiCaire grew up.

Véronic DiCaire’s official website is http://veronicdicaire.com/

Official videos can be viewed on her on her YouTube channel here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BuKhv2Zf2Fo&feature=youtu.be

If you’re in France, Eastern Ontario, Belgium, Québec, or Switzerland over the next few months, see if you can catch one of her shows.

Please stick to official sites and do not pirate.  Our artists are part of our cultural heritage.

2015-02-02


UPDATE 2015-02-06:  

DiCaire just annonced she will be doing pan-Canadian tours in English for Anglophones and also in French for Francophones in Western Canada, Ontario and Acadia.  Refer to her official website in the coming months for dates, locations and tickets.

Katherine Levac (#30) — Move over Acadie… and “Bonjour Ontario!”

“Tant à Découvrir”: The Ontario Government’s French Licence Plates issued to the public… Seen on vehicles across Ontario. If you keep your eyes open for them, you’ll spot them around Toronto, and elsewhere.

Wow!  It looks like we’re experiencing somewhat of an “Ontario invasion” of Franco-Ontariens, out to conquer Montréwood!

Just as it’s written on Ontario’s French license plates, it really does look like there is “Tant à découvrir!”

Move on over Acadia! (traditionally long known as a hot-bed of artistic talent outside of Québec), and BONJOUR ONTARIO!   

Whether it’s Marie-Mai or Véronique DiCaire, Roch Castonguay or Chantal Hébert (she’s been spoofed a number of times on the pop-scene… so, hey, I count her in)… from Chuck Labelle, to Roy Dupuis, Damien Robitaille, Mathieu Pichette and Julien Tremblay … with double the Francophone population of Acadia (over 500,000 in Ontario alone), there seems to be a wave of talent coming from Ontario, attracted to the lights of Montréwood.

Katherine Levac is no exception.  This talented Ontaroise comedian made her big debut onto the public stage last February and March on the pilot episodes of Télé-Québec’s SNL Québec (yes indeed… Québec now has its own French version of the famous New York comedy program “Saturday Night Live”).

The original SNL has been one of my favorite shows since childhood, so I made a definite point of watching the first two SNL Québec episodes as soon as they aired (you can catch them on Télé-Québec’s website by clicking HERE [1] and HERE [2]).

Like most of the public, I had never seen or heard of Katherine Levac until that point.   But the public is always looking for something new in comedy — and Levac brilliantly pulled off the funniest skits as Page Beaulieu, a Franco-Ontarienne; blabbering away like a twit in a not-so-eloquent, exaggerated Southwest Ontario Francophone accent with a very strong English-influenced intonation.   Little did I know at that the time that Levac herself was Franco-Onterienne, from the Eastern Ontario Francophone belt (her natural Ontario French accent from Eastern Ontario is quite different than the Ontario French accent spoken in SW Ontario, but nonetheless, she was perfect fit for the role).   Since then, Levac has repeatedly appeared on television this past spring and summer, has appeared on numerous radio programs, and even made a stage-appearance the other evening at the Prix Gémeaux Awards (you can’t get much bigger than that!!).   It looks like she is that new spark that the public has been craving.

If the past successes of the original SNL stars from New York (many of whom were Anglo-Canadian) proves to be an accurate yard stick… I think we’re going to see a LOT of Katherine Levac, for many years to come !!

Télé-Québec has decided to produce an episode of SNL Québec once every month.   The next one will be airing on Saturday, September 20th at 7:00pm on Télé-Québec.  There will be a pre-airing show on Friday, September 19th at 10:00pm.   If your regional television provider elsewhere in Canada (ie: West of Toronto and Windsor or East of New Brunswick) does not carry Télé-Québec, don’t worry… just wait a few days until after the airing and then check Télé-Québec’s website by clicking HERE (let’s keep our fingers crossed that the full episodes will be posted online).

Oh… and the next episode is supposed to be hosted by Normand Brathwaite (the subject of an earlier post).

So with SNL and L’Été indien as “the” shows to watch this weekend, I wish you happy viewing, and a good end to your week!