The good news is that the new season of Baroness von Sketch Show starts this week on Tuesday, October 6th on CBC. Check your guide for local times. The bad news is this is their fifth and final season. If you haven’t been following this hilarious half-hour sketch comedy show by four brilliant Canadian women, then, where have you been? Living in a cave? Get with it! Meredith MacNeill, Aurora Browne, Jennifer Whalen and Carolyn Taylor take Kids in the Hall humour to the next level and target women, particularly those over forty.
I cannot recommend their show highly enough. I’ve been a devoted fan since Season 1, Episode 1. One of my favourite sketches showed the four women lined up at the back door of a trendy night club all primed for a wild girls-night-out—well, as wild as we over-forty’s can get. The tough-looking bouncer on the door won’t let them in without I.D. None of them can produce the necessary right-of-passage so they’re denied entry. Meanwhile, he lets pubescent girls in skimpy skirts and belly-baring crop tops bounce in with just a smile. The ladies are desperate. “I lost my virginity during an original showing of Dirty Dancing . . . at a drive-in movie” one of them pleads in an effort to confirm her considerable age. “Her sweater is Liz Claiborne!” says another. Finally, they accept their fate and announce they won’t be able to get in to celebrate Linda’s birthday so they turn around to leave. “You have a friend called Linda?” says the bouncer with a note of incredulity in his voice. “Well, then. You really are old!” and he lets them in.
The humour delivered by these four women is brilliant, scathing and laser-sharp. It’s so on target it is possible that some men or younger women wouldn’t even get many of the references, but give it a try anyway. These gals certainly get us. They do a hilarious sketch about going to a friend’s cottage for a girls’ weekend. They even stretch out the words with a nasal “going to the caaaaattaaaaage” the same way Seinfeld and Elaine said, “We have to go see the baaaaby”. By the time the hostess delivers the extensive list of rules and procedures for a weekend at the caaaaatage, including “If it’s yellow, let it mellow”, the entire ordeal hardly seems worth it so they decide to go to a motel instead. Anyone who has been a weekend guest at a friend’s rustic cottage will relate.
Meredith MacNeill is absolutely brilliant at physical comedy and completely fearless. Her body contorts and responds to situations in ways that will have you running for the bathroom. Every week when I change the sheets on our bed, I’m reminded of a sketch she did about trying to stretch a tightly fitted sheet over the mattress. Whenever I lean back and pull on that fourth corner to ease it over the mattress I remember MacNeill doing the same while tucking her hemorrhoids back in with her fingers. Women get it. Simple situations interpreted brilliantly. Shopping for jeans, trying to discretely buy gynecological products at the pharmacy, cutting your own hair, sitting in the middle seat in an airplane when you have to go to the bathroom. All these everyday experiences are hilariously skewered by the Baroness von Sketch ladies.
They once did a sketch of two women our age going for lunch at a trendy restaurant and none of the veteran wait staff want to serve them because they tend to be so finicky so they delegate to the newbie. Watch it. The hair, the wardrobe choices, the vocal cadence, everything they do is spot on. I know I’ve probably used too many superlatives to describe the show, but I love them and I’ll miss them soooo much. At least we can still rewatch five seasons via streaming. Set your TV to PVR the show every week while you still can. Pour yourself a glass of wine or a lovely cup of tea and be prepared to spend half an hour laughing yourself silly. That’s something we really need these days. In the meantime, enjoy the YouTube links I have provided above. And if you know of any other programs that boomer women would like, please share.