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So fair a foul I have not seen!

Ancient knave with heart as black

as coat you wear upon your back,

get thee a pair of glasses, get thee

to an optometrist!
Rocky in The Shakespearean Baseball Game: A Comedy of Errors, Hits, and Runs

An early sketch comedy series that went through a number of different incarnations. Hosted by the comedy team of Johnny Wayne and Frank Shuster. The earliest version was Shuster & Wayne, a radio program they were given as a result of their earlier radio work The Wife Preservers. The next show was The Wayne and Shuster Show created for CBC radio in 1946 after they left the army after the second world war. There was a weekly television series in the 1950s, but that gave way to the better known appearances on The Ed Sullivan Show (where they appeared 67 times!) and their monthly CBC specials that ran from the early 1960s to the 1980s.

Their comedy has been referred to as literate comedy combined with a liberal amount of slapstick. They often mixed classic references, genre parodies, silly puns and bloodless violence in equal parts. A famous example being the retelling of Shakespeare's Julius Caesar as the modern, noir-ish detective story Rinse the Blood off My Toga. They also parodied and spoofed then current events and popular culture such as All in the Royal Family (Hamlet with All in The Family) and Star Schtick and even Macbeth done as an in-period Police Procedural.

While some of the sketches might be slightly dated, and the style of comedy can seem a little old fashioned, much of their work is still side-splittingly funny and should be watched when the chance is given.

Tropes used in Wayne and Shuster include:
  • Anachronism Stew: Rule of Funny previails in most cases.
  • Aside Comment, Aside Glance: frequently, especially in Noir parodies.
  • A Worldwide Punomenon: They never pass up an opportunity. Ever.
  • Breaking the Fourth Wall: occasionally, the boys notice the audience, the sound effects, the soundtrack...
  • Camera Screw: an early silent sketch involving the two painting the interior of the Leaning Tower of Pisa. The camera is on an angle so that the tower looks vertical, but the pair and their equipment are constanly leaning / falling over / sliding around.
  • Deal with the Devil: The feature story of one episode was about a musician selling his soul to the Devil in exchange for becoming Canada's greatest hockey player.
  • His Name Is (A running joke in Rinse the Blood off My Toga)
  • Killed Mid-Sentence (Also a running joke in Rinse the Blood off My Toga)
  • Large Ham: Oh, yes.
  • Long Runners (Wayne and Shuster's first show, The Wife Preservers, aired in 1941.)
  • Mind Screw: Several. For example:

 Shuster Are you sure we're alone?

Wayne Yes.

Shuster Then who's that beside you?

Wayne Beat That's you!

Shuster Yes. But can I be trusted?

  • Radio (The duo started out with radio shows.)
  • Running Gag: constantly, sometimes including callbacks to previous running gags.
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