Bob & Doug McKenzie: Birth of Canadiana, Eh


No single pop icon, nor politician, nor food, has done as much to advance Canada’s international reputation and, indeed, its own identity, as Bob & Doug McKenzie. The famous Canadian duo from SCTV introduced the world (and even Canada) to such “Canadian” words as “eh”, “hoser”, “toque” and the ever popular “Take off, you hoser” followed by a well-placed “Eh?”

Until Bob and Doug McKenzie came along, Canadians were unaware that they said such things, and the rest of the world was pretty much unaware that Canada existed. Since the Second World War Canada had taken a back seat in international affairs while the US and USSR battled it out in the Cold War. Then suddenly, in September 1980 on the popular SCTV sketch comedy program, Canadians Rick Moranis and Dave Thomas (the actor, not the Wendy’s founder) appeared with their first-ever installment of The Great White North. Making fun of their home and native land’s stereotypes, brothers “Bob & Doug McKenzie” hosted a hilariously amateur show highlighting all of Canada’s bizarre customs, such as drinking copious amounts of beer, wearing heavy winter clothing all year, and calling each other “hoser”.


The cast of SCTV

The cast of SCTV

Bob & Doug McKenzie became an instant hit in both America and Canada. Suddenly, Canada was back on the map (albeit in a dumbed-down derogatory stereotype which still exists today, trumping the glorious and tough image Canada had gained during the first half of the 20th Century).

Bob & Doug became so popular that they went on to record several comedy albums on vinyl, their most popular being “Take Off”. Then came Hollywood, with the blockbuster “Bob & Doug McKenzie in Strange Brew” which became an instant cult classic in America. In 1984 Bob & Doug did a Pizza Hut commercial for a Super Bowl spot that won awards, and followed up with another Pizza Hut commercial in 1986. In 2000 McFarlane Toys released the Bob & Doug McKenzie action figures, and in 2007 CBC aired the Bob & Doug Two-Four Anniversary, Eh!


Bob & Doug McKenzie returned in 2007 with a cartoon that lasted two seasons


“Take Off”, the incredibly funny comedy album released in 1982



Bob & Doug hit the silver screen with “Strange Brew”

It was this heavy-drinking duo that introduced some of Canada’s modern lexicon. Before 1980 Canadians were not known for saying “Eh”. Today, we are. We do it almost subconsciously. It’s Bob & Doug’s fault. Other Bob & Doug McKenzie additions to Canadiana include:

  • Hoser
  • Take off, eh
  • You knob
  • Two-Four (to indicate a case of 24 beers)
  • May Two-Four (to indicate the national Victoria Day holiday on May 24th, which usually involves camping and drinking a two-four)
  • Youz (to say “you” to multiple people)


The Second City Theatre in Toronto, home of SCTV

The Second City Theatre in Toronto, home of SCTV


Strange Brew (Lobby Card_1) 1983

A scene from Strange Brew, when Bob & Doug’s van flies into Lake Ontario. “The brakes been cut!” “Well, no point in steering then.”


Dave Thomas, from St Catherines, Ontario


Rick Moranis, from Toronto, Ontario


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s