Victoria-raised comedic actor, writer joins Air Farce

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What: Air Farce Canada 150

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When/where: CBC television, Saturday, 5 p.m. PST

 

A former knife salesman for Victoria department stores has joined the Air Farce comedy troupe.

Toronto-based Chris Wilson — who was born and raised in Victoria — makes his debut Saturday on Air Farce Canada 150, a 60-minute television special. The Canada Day show will be re-broadcast Monday.

When he was younger, Wilson worked as a knife-selling pitchman for both the Bay and Zellers in Victoria. He later graduated with a theatre degree from the University of Victoria before becoming a professional comic actor and writer.

“My parents are very excited about this. I remember watching [Air Farce] with my dad, the New Year’s Eve special,” said Wilson, who describes his new job as “a dream come true”.

The 32-year-old joins another new cast member, Isabel Kanaan. The team is rounded out by founding members Luba Goy and Don Ferguson as well as Craig Lauzon, Emma Hunter, Jessica Holmes and Darryl Hinds.

For Air Farce Canada 150, filmed before a live audience, Wilson particularly enjoyed acting in a La La Land spoof in which he sends up Ryan Gosling’s character.

The special includes guest appearances by astronaut Chris Hadfield, Ed Robertson of the Barenaked Ladies, Lorne Cardinal and Eric Peterson from Corner Gas and Helene Joy from Murdoch Mysteries.

Wilson’s previous credits include performing and writing in the Peter ‘n’ Chris comedy duo with Peter Carlone. The pair are both University of Victoria theatre grads.

Peter ‘n’ Chris have appeared on Just for Laughs, CollegeHumour and are writers for CBC Radio’s The Irrelevant Show. Wilson has also appeared on The Comedy Network’s The Beaverton and CraveTV’s What Would Sal Do?

Wilson auditioned for Air Farce in mid-April.

“It was pretty fun. They just sent some scripts from past shows. From there, I just put my own take, my own spin on things. That was that,” he said.

Air Farce is one of the most popular and enduring comedy troupes in Canadian history. It began as a sketch comedy company in 1970. From 1973 to 1997 Air Farce had a CBC Radio series. There was also a weekly TV series than ran 1993 to 2008. Air Farce’s main focus these days is its annual New Year’s specials.

The shows are produced by Don Ferguson Productions Ltd. in association with the CBC.

Wilson said he got his audition through his previous affiliation with Don Ferguson Productions. That company previously made a development deal with Peter ’n’ Chris for a sketch comedy show which has yet to be made.

Wilson has performed with his long-time comedy partner Carlone since 2008, which they debuted their Peter ’n’ Chris act at the Victoria Fringe Festival.

Apparently, Carlone is not jealous of his friend’s career break.

No, I don’t think so,” Wilson said. “Just happy.”

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