The Interview

by Michael Schultz on December 20, 2014

It takes a good Canadian lad to shake the world order. Seth Rogen’s (Sony’s) The Interview is about a couple of journalists who go to interview North Korea and to assassinate often mocked KIm Jong-un ( I am the un the un the un they call the 7th son).

As we know – Sony has pulled the movie from distribution. They’ve been hacked. They have been threatened. Obama says that “we cannot have a society in which some dictator someplace can start imposing censorship here in the United States. Because if somebody is able to intimidate folks out of releasing a satirical movie,imagine what they start doing when they see a documentary that they don’t like, or news reports that they don’t like.” The North Koreans can be easily pissed off let’s face it. That said, the movie does provoke. With the shoe on the other foot, imagine if North Korea or China did a film about Obama’s assassination because he was considered evil?

The movie banners have come down in Hollywood- no Christmas receipts for The Interview. Sony has to figure out how or even if they will get the movie out there.  One interesting comment on Sony ( and their apparent ‘wimping out’) has been that “they’re not in the free-speech business. They’re in the entertainment business.” The ‘war’ of words seems to remain in the ‘cyber sphere’. Let’s hope it stays there. Maybe “Little Kim” would feel a little more tolerant if Sony promised a percentage of the gate?

Being a good Canadian lad, Rogen found himself filming in Vancouver…’s Canadian soil made to look like North Korea:

Hold tight…..stay vigilant. Watch out for guided missiles. The Interview – an act of war? Heckling to the max?

Merchant of Venom – Timing, Talent and Testicles…

by Michael Schultz on December 19, 2014

Comedian Don Rickles is still out there at age 88. He’s got a one hour special coming out on CBC as part of Just for Laughs.

His style has been described as ‘insult comedy’. Sometimes it’s politically incorrect. Rickles figures as long as the laughs keep coming he must be doing something right.

In a recent interview he talked about hecklers at his shows:

” I was always good at being able to be funny, standing on my feet and by the seat of my pants. I worked in joints where there were hecklers…so when I worked those places, I had to talk to the people and I used to talk in my sense of humour and they called it ‘insult’.” Rickles defends himself by admitting that it was never hurtful. His ‘merchant of venom’ label has become his trademark style.

Jerry Seinfeld, in a tribute to Rickles called One Night Stand, says Rickles has the 3 Ts of comedy – “timing, talent and testicles”. Rickles also pits himself against the audience.

Here’s the link to the CBC show:

Here’s a good one!

by Michael Schultz on December 18, 2014

Worst Heckle

by Michael Schultz on December 14, 2014

This one is just simply simple. It’s called ‘the worst heckle’. Nothing is said but something is done. A front row member of the audience displays their ‘member’. I suppose it could happen – a bit of a show stopper to be sure!

Democracy Hacks

by Michael Schultz on December 8, 2014

Canadian Liberal MP Irwin Cotler is proposing a national speak no evil day in the House of Commons….mutual respect, civility, no abusive assaults. It may sound like he wants to take the fun out of politics but it’s not a bad idea. He’s proposing December 10th each year be designated as ‘the day.’

Jim Brown of CBC talked with Cotler recently.


“Comfort is our biggest enemy…..”

by Michael Schultz on December 7, 2014

I have been interested in what  Canadian Janice Stein has to say for some time. She is the Director of The Munk School of Global Affairs at the University of Toronto. I used to enjoy hearing her views on TVO.

In the late 1980s and the 1990s I was deeply involved in two specific educational pursuits mostly at the high school level; 1. Entrrpreneurial Studies and 2. International Business. The first came along as an update to the existing Business curriculum to support the notion that Canadians need to be more entrepreneurial – to pursue opportunities beyond the resources they currently control (perhaps the best definition I ever heard). It was a bit of a jolt to the exisiting and somewhat mundane procedures of typing, accounting and even marleting.  Here was a course proposing risk taking, a sense of urgency, and solving problems with new products and services. I got so excited I helped write a text and even had a column on the subject ( Young Entrepreneurs) in the TORONTO STAR.

International Business was equally exciting….now that we could be entrepreneurial here at home – what about our presence in the global community? I wrote curriculum, I visited countries like the United States,England, Japan, South Korea even Fiji on student trips, teaching junkets and fellowships. It was all very exciting because it coincided with the evolution of new technologies like the Internet, email and videoconferencing etc. I wrote a textbook too. Ontario was the only province to introduce International Business as a stand alone course….very innovative.

Fast forward to this past weekend when Stein comes out telling us ( a few decades later) that ‘Canadians aren’t change leaders and that ‘ We’re deeply, deeply risk averse…..we prefer the status quo’ ( whatever that is here in Canada). I do like what she has to say. It does tell us that not a whole lot has changed even though courses to change all this were transplanted in the curriculum at high school and university. Or has it?

Stein contends that the public sector is buried in process – I would agree. It’s scary and it’s why places like hospitals scare us. Stein is impressed with young Canadians coming through the ‘pipeline’ at the Munk School….she’s just worried they’ll leave Canada  and take their intellectual capital and energy elsewhere.

Her central message is ‘ we need more entrepreneurial spirit in this country’. Just like central message or banner in the course I got involved in 30 years ago …I couldn’t agree more. Here is Stein  advising today’s students:


Sugar Sammy and Franglais…

by Michael Schultz on December 6, 2014

Samir Khullar ( aka “Sugar Sammy”) is a Montreal (Indian Canadian) standup comic who likes to mock Quebec nationalism. Here in ( the rest of) Canada that means making fun and heckling the Quebec language police. He has been getting a few threats lately but you have to laud this fellow for standing up for Canadian nationalists (the rest of us). Canada needs all the federalist comedians it can get.

Sammy talks with an interviewer about “Franglais” – the mixing of both English and French …as in ‘ I’ll really make you rire’…..

My former mother-in-law was an Anglo Canadian but spent years on the Dutch island of Curacao…she spoke Dutchlish on occasion….a bit of Dutch spliced with English fillers. Yum.

In this clip he talks about watching Hockey Night in Punjabi and how the announcers are moving along and suddenly say “neutral zone” in English…because there is no word for ‘neutral zone ‘ in Punjabi.

Montreal is a global, cosmopolitan city. I think Khullar is trying to say to Quebec…’put on your big boy pants’  and join the best country in the world ….your language is safe….even if it does become ‘franglais’.

Go get ‘em Sammy – and hey, CBC, get this guy on the airwaves.

Box J Boys

by Michael Schultz on November 30, 2014

Well, it’s Grey Cup time once again in this fair land of Canada – however, I won’t be watching simply because I don’t subscribe to the channel that is carrying it. Used to be you just had to turn on the TV – go to CBC and voila….citizenship ensured. Seems like another part of our cultural fabric and birthright has been stripped away by those TV capitalist folks.

One group that will show up is the Box J Boys. This is a group of Hamilton supporters who help keep the ‘fan’ in ‘fanatic’. They are referred to as a ‘gregarious’ group of friends who have become a fixture at the Grey Cup ( as well as Tiger Cat games) over the past 20 years. They received their name for the place they sit in behind the players’ bench in Hamilton. Their goal? To create more fun and excitement at the games.

Apparently Calgary fans were impressed by the Box J Boys from Hamilton years ago and started their own group called “The Cowtown Posse”.

The kilts worn by the Box J Boys have been subject to a considerable litany of heckles and one-liners by others in attendance.

CFL folks love these groups because they bring passion to the game in the stands.

Apparently you don’t have to be a dwarf to get tossed by the Box J Boys. Here’s how they celebrate a touchdown:


Sounds Fishy

by Michael Schultz on November 28, 2014

An octopus has eight tentacles. The Stanley Cup final used to be as many as eight games. When Detroit won a Stanley Cup in the original six days, fans would celebrate the ‘eight’ by throwing octopi on the ice. This of course would be a boon to the local fishmonger.

Enter the Nashville Predators. Fans have developed a tradition ( starting in 2003) of putting a southern twist on things by flinging the odd catfish on the ice when the opportunity arises.

Recently, animal rights folks have been a little upset with the practice. Arena staff are on the lookout for fans bringing the fish into the games. Fans have been strapping the fish to their legs and covered with their pants to get in. It’s a little like ‘catfish terrorism.’

One proposed solution is to create plastic catfish that can be hurled on the ice instead. Heckling and fan response takes some weird turns. I remember going to the old Maple Leaf Gardens and having Cracker Jack, that caramel covered popcorn that dentists salivated over. It always promised a ‘prize’ in the box. But not at the gardens….the authorities there decided that boxes of Cracker Jack sold in the Gardens would NOT include a prize because they were worried about players hurting themselves by tripping over them. ( because fans would throw prizes on the ice)

I’m not sure if they have catfish on the menu at the Predator arena. I was in South Korea once for a professional ballgame ( 1992) and they did serve octopus. Here’s a scene from the arena – they even have ice girls to pick up the stray fish:

Hats Off…

by Michael Schultz on November 26, 2014

Today’s heckling ‘incident’ comes from the football world. Minnesota Viking’s tackle Matt Kalil emerges from the stadium after a loss to the Green Bay Packers. He has phone to ear and approaches a fan who has obviously heckled him.

Kalil flips the fan’s hat off and walks on. Check it out….you be the judge.

Another fine example of how careful you have to be when launching your heckles. As Kalil walks away you can see a program being launched at him – it misses. Another fan heckles him with; ‘ why don’t you play that way on the field?’

Here’s Kalil repenting after the incident.

Fine line – mouthy fan too close to the athlete… I’d say the fan deserved it. Perhaps the fan should be glad it wasn’t something more physical.