Monday, July 2, 2012

Lumberjack Show

Yesterday was Canada Day, and in celebration a group of us headed to Vancouver in search of fun and entertaining events to instill in us a sense of patriotism. After a few hours of wandering around finding nothing but activities and shows aimed at 7-year-olds and promotions for local businesses, we eventually came across a lumberjack show outside of Canada Place. Granted, the show also appears to have been directed at 7-year-olds, this does not excuse it from how truly awful it was. I can safely say that I have never seen a worse live performance in all my life and I once saw a high school production of Treasure Island where one of the actors was reading directly off of a script that he was holding the entire time. Much like that play, the lumberjack show was embarrassing and cringe-inducing for everyone involved with the added negative of being fundamentally retarded.

The show begins with the host attempting to pump up the crowd which is mostly comprised of Canadians so it fails dismally. Next he introduces four men in overalls and plaid shirts all of which have their arms ripped off. Two of them have beards and are a bit flabby while the other two are more strapping and may have formerly been male strippers. Within five minutes it becomes apparent that none of the men on stage can act, and that spending all that time in the forest has robbed all of them of any sense of comedy. To be fair to the lumberjacks, they were pretty good at handling a saw, throwing axes, climbing poles, and other such feats, but for every one minute of feats of strength and lumberjacking skill there are at least ten minutes of them making horrible non-jokes and awkward silence from the audience. Their humour came in two forms: misinterpreting what the host was saying, and attempting to cheat. An example of the first type would involve the host saying something like “we have a red team and a green team so let’s split the audience in half,” and then one of the lumberjacks would charge forward with a chainsaw. The host would ask him what he was doing and he’d reply “you said to split the audience in half!” The second type of “joke” would typically involve the red team trying to get a head start on one of the challenges while the host wasn’t looking (like sawing part way through a log before the timer starts) and then acting like nothing had happened. Essentially, they repeated these two jokes over and over again at least once each between each challenge in the vain hope that it might eventually become funny. I’m assuming they were operating under the logic that if nobody laughs the first time it must be because they didn’t get it, so you have to say it again every five minutes until they do. If this is the case then I’d like to inform them that we did in fact get it, but their jokes just suck. All they succeed in doing is making young children cry and ask their parents where all the joy in the world went.

I think the highlight (or anti-highlight if you will) of the show came when they invited two young girls from the audience up on stage to participate. One was a local, but the other was from Mexico. Upon announcing this, a sense of shame rippled through all Canadians in the audience at the knowledge that somebody from outside the country was not only a witness, but actually a part of this terrible display. A few more awful jokes were made, the girls sawed through a log with help from two of the lumberjacks, and the Mexican girl won and was given a souvenir mini wooden chair as a prize. This could have been the end of it, but the host had other, creepier plans in mind. The 50-year-old host pulled the runner-up aside and told that as a consolation prize she would get him. He then proceeded to put his arm around her shoulder and make comments such as “I wish you were older,” and “I like a woman who does what she’s told,” while the audience laughed nervously. I’m pretty sure the girl would have run screaming if he wasn’t holding her hand so tight. This was the only time they attempted a joke that wasn’t a repetition of the two mentioned above, and I never thought I’d say this, but I wish they hadn’t tried branching out.

After they finally let her flee with another miniature chair, I really just wanted to leave, but we stuck around to see the log rolling competition which we thought would be the last part of the show. It turns out we were wrong and that they had devised even more ways to rob the world of all mirth and goodwill. We left anyways because if we stayed any longer I’m pretty sure we would have lost all sense of national pride and identity. As we were walking away a friend who is almost always in a good mood turned to me with a sorrowful look and said, “I tried so hard to enjoy that. So hard. But I just couldn’t.” I cannot think of more fitting words to end this post. 

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