CBC takes sketch comedy from stage to screen with new series

The series will focus on male friendship, toxic masculinity and race, filtered through a comedy lens.

A Toronto-based sketch comedy troupe, TallBoyz II Men, will move from the stage to the small screen after getting the green light from CBC.

The new half-hour series, created by troupe members Guled Abdi, Vance Banzo, Tim Blair and Franco Nguyen, will explore current issues such as male friendship, toxic masculinity and race, through the lens of raucous comedy. It’s also produced by a Canadian comedy heavyweight, Kids in the Hall star Bruce McCulloch.

While a time and premiere date have not yet been set, CBC has been confirmed that it will launch both on linear and its digital streaming service Gem, this fall. The first season will contain eight episodes.

The troupe is well-known among comedy nerds in Toronto and Montreal; TallBoys II Men won the award for Best Comedy Short at Toronto SketchFest, and has also been lauded at the Toronto Fringe Festival and Montreal SketchFest.

The addition very closely followed CBC’s first look at its 2019-2020 TV schedule (which focused on renewals). Comedies coming back to CBC this fall, and midseason, include Schitt’s Creek (which will return for a sixth and final season), Kim’s Convenience, Still Standing and Baroness Von Sketch Show.

CBC has not yet disclosed viewer stats for its Gem service.