If you read the original version of “I’m Dying Up Here”- the book not the Showtime tv series, then you know that comedians talking about unionizing, banding together for rights, is not unheard of here in the states. But it’s also not a reality. Maybe its because comedians tend to be loners, or maybe its because American culture is more competitive than cooperative, or maybe its because American stand-ups don’t even know what they would ask for, but the push for cooperation seems pretty absent here in the US.
But up North the idea of alliance is alive and well and this week, the newly formed Canadian Association of Stand Up Comedians (CASC) is heading to Parliament Hill to campaign for rights and recognition, and possibly paving the way for similar collaboration here in the U.S. The group is headed up by comedian Sandra Battaglini. “Our goal with this trip is to increase the awareness and profile of Canadian comedy and garner support and commitment from officials and politicians to elevate and invest in the legacy comedians have built in this country, not only at home, but on the world stage,” she said.
Representatives from the Board of Directors of CASC are meeting with government officials from the Ministry of Finance, CRTC (Canadian Radio-Television and Telecommunications), Canada Council for the Arts and various representatives and critics for Canadian Heritage and Senate Standing Committee on Transport and Communications this week.