Published Apr 25, 2015Why are Canadians so obsessed with their national identity? Frankly, because sometimes it seems like we don't have much of one — such is the result of having too much of a good thing (i.e. multiculturalism, land, maple syrup). Canada is awesome in so many ways that it makes it hard to boil down what it's like to be Canadian into a few simple words. Thankfully, although we've only officially existed as a country for a little under a century and a half, Canada seems to have more comics per capita than most of the world combined. Granted, half of them live in L.A., but make no mistake: Canadians are funny people.
That seems to be the basis for comedy writer Robert Cohen's Being Canadian, a feature-length documentary that finds The Big Bang Theory (and, perhaps even more regrettably, According to Jim) writer returning to his home and native land to reconnect with his roots and find out what it means to be Canadian.
Along his journey he meets an incredible cast of characters, including stars of the big and small screens (Dan Aykroyd, Jason Priestley), radio (Alanis Morissette, Rush), comedy clubs (Russell Peters, Howie Mandel) and even a few Canucks you probably forgot belonged to the Great White North, and asks them the kind of questions that have been plaguing Canadians for years (e.g. What is Canadian cuisine? Why do we always have to point out which celebrities are Canadian to our friends? And how did The Beachcombers last for 18 seasons?).
It's all pretty silly stuff, even for a guy who worked on The Jamie Kennedy Experiment, but Cohen does an excellent job of starting a conversation that, although doesn't have a one size fits all kind of answer, certainly isn't thought about enough by most of the country's residents.
That's not to say Being Canadian is without its flaws. At times, some of Cohen's interviews can sound tinny (most of How I Met Your Mother star Cobie Smulders' segments), appear blurry, or even look distinctly out-dated (Conan O'Brien's interview was clearly conducted on the old Late Night set at least six years before). But such is the case with any labour of love (the lack of coverage from Newfoundland and Labrador, P.E.I. and every single territory is less excusable).
Like a lot of Canadians who have made their living overseas, Cohen is both proud of his country and confused about the overall ambivalence the rest of the world has toward us. Although he never quite arrives at a concrete conclusion about what it means to be Canadian, he certainly shows off our country's charm and talent along the way.