Tuesday night’s This Hour Has 22 Minutes on CBC will feature one of the network’s biggest stars, Jian Ghomeshi, guest hosting. Casting the Q host is an excellent decision, since it will likely bring a younger audience to the show, that has already been on air for an amazing 20 years. Which got me thinking, what if 22 Minutes always had guest hosts and was essentially changed into the Canadian version of Saturday Night Live? I mean, thanks to shows like Kids in The Hall, most of the world thinks we invented (or at least perfected) the modern sketch show and yet, right now, there isn’t any show out there that gives Canadian celebs the comedic spotlight like Saturday Night Live does in the States.

And 22 Minutes is prime for a makeover. Much like SNL, for twenty years, the show has been making a habit of turning its cast into some of this country’s biggest stars: Rick Mercer, Mary Walsh, Shaun Majumder and Gavin Crawford, just to name a few. But I also think it has the capability to make even bigger stars out of those who are already deemed celebs.

First of all, there is literally nothing like it on Canadian television. A format change would definitely cause people to re-visit the show, which some may have forgotten about over the years. Plus, everyone thinks they are funny, especially celebrities. Canadian actors, musicians and politicians would undoubtedly flock to the Halifax-based show to give hosting 22 Minutes a try! Also, adding a celebrity host component makes the show prime for some hilarious sketches, just ready to be uploaded and shared on YouTube. SNL practically re-invented itself thanks to its digital shorts, 22 Minutes could do the same.

If CBC agrees with my idea, I would ask only this, try to resist your instinct to cast only CBC people as your guest hosts. If there is one thing that Canadian networks is terrible at, it’s making their network synergy look subtle. Watch one episode of the the Bell Media owned Match Game on The Comedy Network and you’ll be introduced to almost every single CTV personality that ever was. This is one area where Canada falls behind the States. There, celebs jump networks all the time. It’s treat for their audiences to see a star in an unexpected spot, regardless of what network that star technically calls home.

Of course, you don’t stay on air for 20 seasons without a insatiable pack of 22 Minute die-hards, who are would likely turn up their noses at a format change like adding a guest host, but as CBC knows, fans don’t always pay the bills. Especially with the Conservatives in charge. Advertisers would definitely turn to the show, especially if 22 Minutes was able to garner the big names that I think it could. So who should be the first guest stars on my version of the all new 22 Minutes? My top picks would include: TSN’s Jay Onrait, Opera singer Measha Brueggergosman, Environmentalist David Suzuki, folk singer Joel Plaskett and probably, Toronto Mayor Rob Ford. I mean, he’s always unintentionally funny, what would be like if he had a team of comedy writers supporting him.

What do you think? Should 22 Minutes take on the SNL challenge, or should it stay the way it is?

This Hour Has 22 Minutes airs Tuesdays on CBC at 8:30pm

Mike Morrison


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