From SCTV to the operating room

By Kyle Francis

“Take off, ya’ hoser!”

Those words, known to any warm-blooded Canadian as those of Doug and Bob Mackenzie, were written and made famous by Canada’s own Dave Thomas, who made a name for himself on the ever-popular Second City Television. It was through SCTV that Thomas became known for his zany sense of humor, clever writing and comedic directing. Even now, years after SCTV, Dave continues to write and direct, and is still making the nation laugh with new projects.

Armed with a quirky sense of humor from his time in North Carolina and England, Dave left a successful career as a writer in the advertising business to pursue an acting career.

“When I saw Second City, it was this thing where you could get up on stage, improvise and create your own stuff and when I saw them, I was like ‘I want to do that more than anything in the world’. So I quit advertising, auditioned, and got onto SCTV.”

After a successful stint on SCTV, both acting and directing, Thomas went on to direct and act in several television shows and feature films, such as Strange Brew: The Adventures of Doug and Bob Mackenzie, Coneheads, and Ratrace. Now comes Intern Academy.

In a fall full of zombies, assassins and super-heroes it’s pretty easy for a little Canadian comedy about young doctors to slip under the radar. So if you haven’t even heard of Dave Thomas’ latest writing/directing project, no one will blame you.

Wait a second! A comedy about young doctors! This sounds an awful lot like the popular sitcom Scrubs!

“In Scrubs, they keep it pretty light. They do a lot of dream sequences and kind of bolt out of reality,” says Dave.

“What I went for was real life hospital drama. The thing in hospitals is that really funny things will happen. Like if someone has something shoved up their ass and they claim they have no idea how it got there? You spend ten minutes laughing your head off about that and then the next minute you’re running down the hall trying to save someone’s life,” says Thomas.

Intern Academy follows the exploits of six of the worst students fresh from med-school in the worst hospital in the country. From an internal organ fight to med-students stripping their way through school, the movie promises wacky Canadian fun across the board. What’s that? Canadian fun? That’s right, Intern Academy has a one hundred per-cent Canadian cast.

“Canadians are all really funny, you don’t have to look too far to find a funny Canadian,” says Thomas of his casting choices.

Although it stars some of the grizzled old vets of great Canadian comedy shows like SCTV and Kids in the Hall with the likes of Dave Thomas, Dan Aykroyd and Dave Foley, most of its stars are young, new up-and-comers like the Alberta natives Pat Kelly and Peter Oldring.

“Pat was on stage at second city when I saw him, and the rest of the cast are all sort of stage-y performers, trying to sell it to the back row, you know what I mean? Pat was more laid back, a style that suits itself better to film. He’s very, very funny, and so is Peter Oldring,” says Dave, expressing his immense confidence in his young cast.

Dave Thomas’ career took off like a chinchilla hopped up on amphetamines. Even twenty-five years later, he shows no signs of slowing down.

He’s still capable of producing fresh material like Intern Academy even after making the world a much funnier place with films like Strange Brew and Coneheads,

It’s safe to say that his career is far from over… Eh?

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