| Nov 30, 2006

Feature Article - November 23, 2006

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Feature Article - November 23, 2006

Lorne Elliott:It's all in the delivery

by Jeff Green

It was quite a coup for the students from Sharbot Lake High School to engage Lorne Elliott to perform a concert in aid of their Costa Rica trip.

Elliott, who lives in Hudson , Quebec , has developed a national profile as the host of a CBC comedy/variety radio program “Madly Off in All Directions” for the past 11 years. He has also written several plays over the years, and has done four television specials for the CBC.


Lorne Elliott has a very rural Canadian feel to his comedy, and he had no trouble connecting with the audience at Sharbot Lake High School , in a performance last Saturday night at the school. Armed only with his wits, an expressive visage, and a guitar, he kept the audience laughing for two 50 minute sets.

Part of the charm of his performance lay in his ease on stage. Although it is clear Elliott’s show has been developed over time, he was able to respond to the audience, and this give and take provided some of the best humour of the evening.

“ Sharbot Lake , is that part of the Ottawa Valley ?” he asked, intending to use some of his Ottawa Valley material. But when the audience definitively rejected the inference that Sharbot Lake is part of the Ottawa Valley (even though technically it is, if looked at in watershed terms), he said, “so what is Sharbot Lake part of?”

“The Land o’ Lakes” someone said.

That was all he needed, and Elliot milked the term ‘Land o’ Lakes’ for all it was worth, taking particular pleasure in the difference between “o’ lakes” and “of lakes.”

One of Lorne Elliott’s comedic assets is his willingness to make himself the object of his own humour. He made fun of hobby farmers, rubber boots, raccoons, wood stoves; all the stuff of rural Canadian life, told from the perspective of a rural person.

He lives on a farm that his great grandfather bought for $160 a century ago, and after a hundred years of dabbling in farming, “we’re still trying to pay off that original investment,” he said, a sentiment echoed by the experience of a lot of the people in the audience. The pleasure of Lorne Elliott’s performance, aside from the fact that he is a funny man, lay in his ability to insinuate himself into the lives of the audience members, even though he had never been to the region before. Somehow he was able to make us in the audience laugh at our own lives, without being insulted in any way.

Lorne Elliott is a talented performer, with great personal warmth, and the audience owes a debt of gratitude to the Sharbot Lake High School students and staff who organised the show.

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