TOSketchFest was pretty excited about last week’s premiere of The Week That Was with Jay Onrait on MuchMore. Reason being, our good friend Brendan Halloran is the head writer. You’d know Brendo from The Sketchersons, The Polecats and The Local Singles. He’s a busy sketch guy.
You should watch the second episode tonight on MuchMore (Sunday, 8:00 pm), but in the meantime, you can get to know Brendan. We asked him a few questions about his new gig:
TOSketchFest: In your own words, can you describe the show The Week That Was?
Brendan: The Week That Was is a weekly pop-culture recap show not unlike The Soup. We try to pick apart Canadian television, headlines, music videos, ourselves…
TOSketchFest: In Sunday Night Live, you wrote and hosted the news segment each week, and now you’re head writing this show. Why do you gravitate towards news satire?
Brendan: BECAUSE I HAVE A VOICE AND IT MUST BE HEARD!! No. I’m a real media junkie. I have to read a million articles about anything over the course of the day. I’m constantly on Twitter looking for news stories. My girlfriend and I don’t talk for the first 90 minutes when we get up, and that’s my fault.
I think I started actually moving towards it when I realized I was a better performer in a more presentational setting, rather than trying to play a Wizard or something outlandish in a sketch. It was just more appealing to play myself. But what sucked me in was the constant turnover of material when you deal with news or pop culture or sports. Your joke or piece has this incredibly short shelf-life and if you can get yourself to a point where you can turn out a bunch of new stuff every day, then you’re in the best position to succeed in comedy writing.
TOSketchFest: What have you learned over the years about writing comedy about the news and pop culture?
Brendan: If I’ve learned anything, it’s that if people don’t laugh, they’re right, not you. Also, you can tell some really mean jokes, as long as you’re charming about it.
TOSketchFest: What are your plans for the show over the first season? Any fun segments you’re looking forward to trying?
Brendan: This is going to sound like a cop-out, but I’m looking forward to trying any- and everything. It’s a unique position to be in when you’re starting a television show from scratch. You don’t know what your voice is going to be, and you have to spend a lot of time trying all kinds of things until you find that tone that feels “right”. You only have a couple of thngs to go on when you start and you don’t know what will work. I just wrote a piece for TSN’s Gino Reda who’s going to do a cameo this week. It’s gonna go from concept, to script, to tape in less than a day. If it works, it opens new doors for us, and if it doesn’t then it’s back to the drawing board. And that’s exciting.
TOSketchFest: I’m sure the show is keeping you pretty busy, but what else is on your dance card these days? Where can we see your writing or performance live?
Brendan: No matter how much I’m doing, I never feel like I’m doing enough. That feeling never goes away. So I’m still at Sunday Night Live on the news as much as I can be. Hosting Catch 23 at Comedy Bar is one of my favourite things to do. I also do a weekly segment for TSN Radio on Fridays. And yes, I would like a spot on your show tonight.