Brad Oswald

  • 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.
  • Hockey wives stickhandle lives and work off the ice

    The first thing you notice is the absence of shouting and screaming. Whenever one ventures -- with an abundance of caution, a slight sense of shame and, if one is wise, a ready finger on the "mute" button -- into one of the many "unscripted" TV series that feature some combination of the words "real" and "housewives" (or its shortened form, "wives") in their titles, one usually expects to encounter trashy behaviour, tacky over-privileged success, completely contrived confrontations and lots of bitchy snipping and screaming.
  • One Big Happy... but not very funny

    When Ellen DeGeneres's sitcom character, Ellen Morgan, came out of the closet in 1998 during the final season of Ellen, it was a pretty big TV deal. When Elisha Cuthbert's gay character, Lizzy, decides to have a baby by artificial insemination in the première of the new DeGeneres-produced sitcom One Big Happy, it most decidedly isn't.
  • God save this soapy trash...

    Ridiculous. Campy. Cartoonish. Bitchy. Outrageous. Out of touch. Out of control. These aren't the sort of descriptives usually associated with the royal family -- at least, the Windsors hope they're not -- but they're certainly applicable to the fictional version of Britain's regal set presented in The Royals, E! network's predictably preposterous first foray into the realm of scripted drama.
  • London's burning, but miniseries lacks heat

    As fires go, this one's a bit of a slow burn. The four-part miniseries The Great Fire has a major historic event -- the conflagration that laid waste to most of central London in the fall of 1666 -- as its inspiration, but it's the screenwriters' decision to focus on the political double-dealing and romantic entanglements that occurred while the flames raged, rather than the fire itself, that ultimately makes this yarn feel somewhat overheated.
  • Throwing a flag on Super Bowl ad survey

    I'm doing a quick survey. Here's the first question: Which of these things have you never heard your friends say while watching the Super Bowl:
  • Seething comedian fuels up on stupidity for volcanic eruptions

    The political attitudes are different. The sporting preferences are different. The currency and exchange rate are very different. Even the weather, except in close proximity to the Canada-U.S. border, is different. But frustration, indignation and boiled-over anger at life's unending absurdity are the same wherever you go in North America, so Lewis Black has absolutely no trouble bringing his seething style of comedy north of the 49th parallel.
  • Chip off the old Rock

    The Peacock should be justifiably proud. And TV viewers will, in all likelihood, be slightly confused. Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt is a solid, appealing and consistently laugh-out-loud funny comedy developed for NBC by 30 Rock's Tina Fey and Robert Carlock.
  • Risk-taking comedian Williams has uniquely twisted take on everyday life

    Some comedians spend years developing an offbeat stage persona that will allow them to stand out from the standup crowd. For Harland Williams, becoming the uniquely weird dude you see onstage was simply a matter of not trying to be anyone other than himself.
  • Shiny new tech can't distract from CSI spinoff's deficiencies

    Technology is cool. Anybody who writes scripts for a contemporary police-procedural drama can tell you that. From CSI and Person of Interest to The Blacklist and Scorpion and beyond, the cop-show realm is awash in gimmicks and special effects designed to amaze and impress viewers by making them feel as if they're getting an inside look at the latest cyber-sleuthing tools and techniques.
  • Murder mystery slays new series competition

    So much for winter being TV's off-season. Here we are, heading into the first week of March, which was long considered to be the absolute depth of prime-time television's cold-weather doldrums; instead of a steady stream of reruns and mid-season fill-ins, what this week's TV menu brings is no less than five new-series premières on major broadcast networks, a couple of cable-channel series debuts, the return of a trio of veteran series and the binge-ready arrival of the third-season episodes of Netflix's highest-profile offering, House of Cards.
  • Will good be good enough?

    It's a bit of a sticky problem for a TV-show producer: will viewers embrace your new series if it's simply good, when what they've come to expect from you is greatness? That's the situation facing Vince Gilligan (Breaking Bad) and David Shore (House), who share creator/executive producer credits on Battle Creek, a promising but hardly groundbreaking new buddy-cop drama that premières Sunday, March 1 at 9 p.m. on CBS and Global.
  • Mr. Nice Guy rages against the machine

    Ron James has been called a lot of things during two decades of touring Canada as a standup comedian -- inventive, energetic, prolific, patriotic, frantic, frenetic and, of course, funny. But... angry? Ron James?
  • Netflix, Crave TV, shomi go to war online to capture Canadians who want U.S. programming

    It says a lot about the current state of television entertainment that a couple of the most-talked-about TV shows of the new year aren't really on TV. Transparent, a daring comedy-drama produced by Amazon Studios for online distribution, in January won a Golden Globe Award for best TV series (comedy or musical) and a best-actor trophy for series star Jeffrey Tambor.
  • Fine-tuning the funny

    Bigger names, a new and bigger venue, a big new awards show and substantially smaller prices -- these are the elements that Al Rae thinks make this year's Winnipeg Comedy Festival worthy of raising a glass. With a "Whine and Cheese" theme celebrating its 14th-year vintage, the city's annual spring flood of funny business -- which runs April 6-12 -- will feature an expanded schedule that runs a full week and includes a roast, a couple of one-man shows, a bilingual improv event, a gritty urban-comedy night and showcases for local comedy, alternative humour and gay-themed performances, as well as the usual schedule of taped-for-TV galas at the Pantages Playhouse Theatre.
  • Standup gigs the spark in comedian's creative tank

    He's had his fill of Gas, so now it's time for Brent Butt to hit the road. Fresh off last year's hugely successful multi-platform release of Corner Gas: The Movie, the Saskatchewan-born writer/producer/actor/comedian is spending some time reconnecting with his standup-comedy roots.
  • Once upon a laughtrack...

    It has often been said that those who fail to learn from the mistakes of the past are doomed to repeat them. It could be argued, perhaps even more strongly, that those who fail to learn from the mistakes of those who've repeated past mistakes pretty much deserve to suffer the same fate.
  • I spy with my little eye a tame wartime drama

    Unlikely heroes make for the most compelling drama, according to a school of screenwriting thought. If that's true, then the new CBC drama X Company ought to be a real white-knuckle ride, because its secret-mission warriors tend more toward nerdy talents and dysfunctional personalities than the traditional hard-charging, weapons-blazing heroics we're used to seeing.

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