Brad Oswald

  • Heroes emerge in look at end of Vietnam War

    The images are both powerful and plentiful, but in this case it’s the words — the recollections of those whose experiences and memories are reflected in those pictures — that really tell the story. The Oscar-nominated documentary Last Days in Vietnam, which has its TV debut on Tuesday at 8 p.m. on PBS’s American Experience, does a masterful job of combining archival footage with present-day interviews to create a fascinating look at the chaotic end of a difficult chapter in U.S. history.
  • Ethical by design

    It's the most popular and painfully over-posed question on pop-culture pedestrian parade routes: "Who are you wearing?"
  • Irish comic heralds impotence (if it happens to come to that)

    There's a moment in every relationship when it becomes important for one party to have the other's undivided attention. And when that is, in fact, the case, a deeper kind of affection can be achieved.
  • Destiny's child: Comedy is in Shawn Wayans' DNA

    In the end, there really was no other choice. Shawn Wayans was going to be a comedian. "I've had the benefit of being blessed with some tremendous comedic role models," says Wayans, who brings his standup-comedy act to Winnipeg for a series of hot-ticket shows at Rumor's Comedy Club from April 16 to 19. "I've watched them climb through the ranks, and learned the tricks of the trade and what (comedy) is all about. I've been very well-prepared for this since I was a young guy."
  • Sci-fi series Orphan Black is upping its game as it returns for a third season

    There's no more "under the radar" for Orphan Black; no more "best-kept secret" status for its star, Tatiana Maslany. The sci-fi show about the cloning experiment run amok, in which Saskatchewan-born Maslany plays a wide range of very different characters sporting the same DNA sequence, has become a huge hit and, in the process, a fully mainstream TV property.
  • Big laughs, big numbers for annual comedy-palooza

    More shows, new, larger venues and a diverse lineup of acts resulted in one of the most well-attended Winnipeg Comedy Festivals ever. Festival organizers announced a paid-attendance total of 13,159 for this year's event, which ran from April 6 to 12 at numerous locations around Winnipeg. Last year's fest had paid attendance of 10,232.
  • Gunnarson dedicated to his craft, but it doesn't translate into great TV

    It's impossible not to have a grudging kind of admiration for Dean Gunnarson. He has, for more than 30 years, remained determined in his quest to be known as the world's greatest escape artist, despite the fact it isn't a title to which many lay claim these days, and it's an entertainment form that doesn't command nearly the kind of public attention it did during the long-ago era of his hero, Harry Houdini.
  • Raking him over the coals... but with respect

    If you're looking to describe something as hip, current and cool, one of the easiest and most overused shorthand descriptions involves distancing that thing from your parents' generational tastes. "This is not your father's Oldsmobile."
  • A feast for the senses

    It has often been said that the best way to travel through life is by viewing it as a journey rather than a destination. The same can be said for the experience of watching Game of Thrones -- if you can let go of the notion that its multi-layered, tightly woven stories need to get anywhere in a hurry, you can sit back and fully enjoy one of the most beautifully crafted and wondrously entertaining stories ever created for any screen of any size, anywhere.
  • Former Saskatoon hairdresser delights in doing the dirty on standup stage

    It's a dirty job -- actually, a dark and dirty job -- and Shannon Laverty is just the kind of somebody who's happy to do it. Laverty, a 25-year veteran of the standup-comedy circuit, is known for her frank and sometimes graphic perspectives on life and relationships, so artistic director Al Rae figured she was a logical choice to host the Winnipeg Comedy Festival's edgiest event, WCF After Dark (formerly known as The Dark and Stormy Show).
  • After downward spiral, comic stands up, delivers

    All it took to get Jon Ljungberg's comedy career back on track was a bit of time, a bit of perspective and a swift kick in the backside. While there probably aren't any gigantic piles of money involved, Ljungberg's story certainly qualifies -- in a creative and career-satisfaction sense -- as a classic riches-to-rags-to-riches tale. The Massachusetts-born comedian was a mainstay on the local standup scene through the 1990s (he and fellow comic Dean Jenkinson were the go-to guys as host/MCs at Rumor's Comedy Club), but he put his comedy career on hold when he became co-host of Citytv's Breakfast Television in 1999.
  • Teaching old comic new tricks is easier with a strict deadline

    The problem was specific. The solution was obvious. And as a result, the Winnipeg Comedy Festival is both a collaborator in and a beneficiary of John Wing's latest comedy conundrum. "It was a very practical decision: I needed to write a new hour (of material), and I knew I wouldn't do it unless I had a deadline hanging over my head," says Wing, who is debuting his new deadline-pressure-cooked comedy in the form of a sold-out one-man show, Old Enough to Know Better, on Wednesday at 8 p.m. at the Gas Station Arts Centre.
  • Tale of farm boy turned comedian offers up plenty of laughs

    There’s something both upsetting and comforting about a Canadian showbiz “success” story that ends with an appearance in a John Deere tractor commercial. And that’s where the road to fictional comedy stardom eventually takes Colin McLeod, the central character in HA!, a one-man play starring former Three Dead Trolls in a Baggie member Wes Borg. The 80-minute production, a heavily rewritten update on a story created by Borg and collaborator Chris Craddock some 15 years ago, had its Winnipeg Comedy Festival debut on Monday night and will have a second performance on Friday (7:30 p.m., Gas Station Arts Theatre, tickets $18 at
  • It's the beginning of the end for Mad Men, arguably one of the three most important dramas in history

    Farewells, particularly the difficult ones that wrench the gut and tear at the heartstrings, are often times of reflection, when one is inclined to remember the good times, rationalize the hard times and try to figure out what the whole thing meant. And so it is with the acclaimed TV drama Mad Men, which returns this Sunday (9 p.m. on AMC) with a "Season 7B" première called Severance, setting in motion the final seven-episode run toward a series finale that will (hopefully) bring closure to the story of Don Draper and his '60s-era Madison Avenue counterparts.
  • Veteran improv comic takes on standup comedy in one-man play

    There's a big difference between writing and performing standup comedy and writing and starring in a play about a standup comic. Wes Borg has figured out a way to do both.
  • Relationship-challenged loners forge an unlikable alliance

    It's a proven fact that sitcom characters don't have to be likable; Larry David and Jerry Seinfeld turned four of the most detestable individuals in TV history into the most successful and lucrative comedy ever. They don't have to be likable, but they do have to believable, and they do have to be interesting, and they do have to be funny in a way that makes viewers want to come back, again and again, to find out what they're going to do next.
  • Doc tough to watch, but not to be missed

    As documentary subjects go, there can't be many that are more difficult, or less inviting, than this: Cancer.
  • Andy Kindler: something old, something new...

    Unless you're a dedicated comedy fan, you might not know who Andy Kindler is. You might recognize the face -- that guy who played the friend on Everybody Loves Raymond, or was a special correspondent for The Late Show with David Letterman or, more recently, played the inept manager on But I'm Chris Jericho! -- but you can't remember the name that goes with it.
  • Documentary seeks out Canadian connection to Vietnam War

    It wasn't our war. And yet, in some ways, it very much was. As TV networks south of the border begin to roll out news and documentary programming that marks the 40th anniversary of the end of the Vietnam War, it's interesting to note that CBC's Doc Zone is airing a new film that examines what the war meant, and continues to mean, to Canadians.
  • Corden gives audiences reason to return for new Late Late Show

    James Corden’s debut as host of CBS’s The Late Late Show was a gracious and jovial affair; it’s too soon to say that the affable Brit has made the show his own, but he certainly demonstrated a style and attitude that might eventually set him apart from the rest of the late-night pack. Corden took his first bow as a talk-show host on Monday night in CBS’s post-Letterman 11:35 p.m. slot, the driving rock intro provided by his in-house band (led by musician/comedian/“disinformationalist” Reggie Watts) immediately signalled that this is going to be a glitzier and decidedly more showbizzy program than that of his predecessor, Craig Ferguson.
  • Who are all these fresh faces on late night TV?

    My goodness, it's like going to bed with a bunch of complete strangers. Late-night TV, which was once populated by a few reliable "friends" with whom viewers could cosy up in front of the television and spend those last few waking moments, now finds itself in a state of constant upheaval as hosts come and go, shows are rebuilt and rebranded and the after-hours audience drifts off to other TV temptations.
  • Small winners, big losers with pick-and-pay

    In general terms, Thursday was a pretty good day for Canadian TV viewers. For the operators of television's more obscure specialty channels, however, the day's announcement by the federal broadcast regulator can only be seen as the worst possible kind of news.
  • New CRTC requirements good for TV viewers, bad for small specialty channels

    In general terms, Thursday was a pretty good day for Canadian TV viewers. For the operators of television’s more obscure specialty channels, however, the day’s announcement by the federal broadcast regulator can only be seen as the worst possible kind of news.
  • The Count is livin' lucky with his favourite things

    You'd have to consider yourself a pretty lucky person if there were three things in life that you really loved to do and you somehow ended up doing all three of them for a living. Danny Koker is that kind of lucky.
  • Offbeat comedian stays busy juggling multitude of projects

    This spring could bring some pretty big changes for Jon Dore. Then again, maybe not.


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