On Friday, April 1 — that’s April Fool’s day — the shortlist for the 2011 Leacock Medal for humour was announced, and there was Practical Jean. Thrilled? You bet! This is an award I’ve been thinking about ever since one of my literary heros, Paul Quarrington, won for his novel King Leary.
It’s a helluva shortlist, I must say. My fellow nominees are Todd Babiak for his novel, Toby: A Man; past Leacock winner Terry Fallis for The High Road; TV funnyman Red Green for How to Do Everything; and Montreal-born, New York-livin’ David Rakoff, for Half Empty. They all seem like decent fellows. I met David at the International Festival of Authors in Toronto last fall, and he told me if I hadn’t started writing the screenplay for Practical Jean, I should get to it.
You know, there’s a rich history of humour in Canada, and I’ve never felt more a part of it than now, thanks to an award named after the father of all Canadian humour writers.