Next Comedy Legend will go ‘beyond integration’ for advertisers

Second City's partnership with the CBC for an upcoming talent search show, Next Comedy Legend, promises some unique marketing opps for advertisers. This is more than a venue for telling jokes. This is a chance to put a brand to the test of 'improv.'

CBC and The Second City have announced that production has begun on a televised talent search to find Second City’s Next Comedy Legend. The show is scheduled for airing this summer, and CBC manager of customer marketing Steve Pitkanen says the net is open to going ‘beyond integration’ for advertisers.

The sky’s the limit when it comes to advertising. Citing brand placement, sponsor logos and on-set ads as possibilities, Pitkanen is bullish on the notion that an improv setting could work well for advertisers. ‘Auditions can easily take place in (company) venues,’ he says. ‘Products or company mascots could be incorporated into the skits and improv challenges. I think it’s going to be quite interesting.’

Second City will spoof the talent competition genre in its signature tongue-in-cheek style. Unlike other talent searches, Next Comedy Legend is seeking one hopeful with the talent and the skills to compete and earn a contract with Second City, where legendary Canadian comedians like John Candy and Dan Aykroyd got their start. Celebrity appearances will include Second City alumni Joe Flaherty, Dave Thomas and Elvira Kurt. Trish Stratus will be hosting. Second City actors Matt Baram, Paul Bates, Anand Rajaram and Naomi Snieckus will act as mentors.

‘It’s going to be interesting in the sense that it hasn’t been done yet,’ says Pitkanen. ‘It’s more of a skill set with improv, as opposed to telling jokes. We have good expectations for audience numbers for this one. It’s going to stand out.’

Sketch comedy performers in four cities across Canada will compete to stage sketches and improvs reminiscent of Drew Carey’s improv series Whose Line is it Anyway? Auditions will begin Mar. 20 in Vancouver, Mar. 24 in Calgary, Mar. 28 in Halifax, and Apr. 4 in Toronto. CBC will premiere the first of eight episodes of The Next Comedy Legend on CBC’s Tuesday Comedy Night, July 3.