In its first season last summer, the parody – which undeniably sounds a lot like other CBC interview shows, mirroring that tone of objective, earnest inquisitiveness and story choice with uncanny accuracy – got the phones ringing at the CBC.
Listeners were upset to learn that Grade 4 was being cancelled in Nova Scotia, that during a planned visit by the Queen, locals would be forced to drive on the other side of the street in her honour, and that the Calgary Aquarium was shutting down and, needing to empty the building, was planning to grill up its fish for families who showed up the following weekend.
“I think this is absolutely outrageous and disgusting,” one caller to the This Is That hotline said about the aquarium story. “This is shocking to me,” said another, “and I just hope it’s a joke.”
It was, of course. For starters, Calgary doesn’t have an aquarium.
But when listeners – already livid about the subject matter – realize they’ve been duped, that can spark even more outrage.
“We’ve got a thicker skin about it now,” co-host Pat Kelly says. “You just come to terms with the fact that there’s people that listen to the CBC who do not have a sense of humour whatsoever.”...The most comical thing, at least to me, is that it never occurs to Pat for even a second that perhaps it's not that "there's people" who lack a sense of humour. It's that his show is not in the least bit funny.
But that's the Ceeb for you. It accords itself the right to offend at whim and at will, expecting "people" to have thick skins when it does. At the same time it panders to the thinnest-skinned among us, buying into and purveying the whole "victim group"/"human rights"/state censorship mentality.