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Let's see now. There's a hole in the roof where the water comes in even when it's not raining; there's a funky smell coming from under the back porch, and the only thing making more weird noises than the family wagon is the cat's digestive system. Clearly, a little humour wouldn't be such a bad thing right now.

A perfect time then, to don the Groucho glasses and arrow-through-the-head prop, and head down to the premier Canadian Comedy Awards, held last night at the old Masonic Temple in downtown Toronto. There, before a full house in the small hall, guests munched on Canadian fare like back bacon on a bun and poutine, and readied themselves to be amused by the crème of the Canadian humour establishment (although, to no one's surprise, much of the cream, Jim Carrey, Mike Myers and the like, was unfortunately absent from the evening's proceedings).

The nominees were competing for nifty Plexiglas maple leaves, etched with the outline of a happy, dancing beaver. In all, 22 were handed out last night, in categories ranging from standup to television, stage to film. When all was said and done, Mary Walsh walked away with three, and Rick Mercer did too. Mike Myers won two and so did Don McKellar.

More than 100 people or productions were nominated in categories that covered comedy on TV and stage, and in film and clubs.

The host was former SCTV funny man Dave Thomas, the most recognizable face on hand last night, a veteran of more than 20 feature films and more than 300 sitcom episodes. A one-hour version of the ceremony is to be broadcast tonight on CTV at midnight, with the full program aired Sunday at 9 p.m.

Mr. Myers, to no one's surprise, was named best actor in a comedic film for his reprise performance of Austin Powers in The Spy Who Shagged Me. He also took the award for best original comedic screenplay for the same film. Mr. McKellar received honours as best comedic film director for his apocalyptic feature Last Night and as best new playwright (along with colleagues Bob Martin, Lisa Lambert and Greg Morrison) for The Drowsy Chaperone.

Ms. Walsh, star of CBC-TV's This Hour Has 22 Minutes,was named best female performer in a TV comedy and shared best-writing credits with her colleagues on that same program in the categories "writing in a TV comedy series" and "writing in a comedic episode or TV special."

Her colleague Rick Mercer was chosen best male performer in a TV comedy for Made in Canada and, like Ms. Walsh, shared the awards in the two TV writing categories with her associates in This Hour Has 22 Minutes (Tim Steeves, Cathy Jones, Greg Thomey, Mark Farrell, Chris Finn and Edward Kay).

The other awards went to:

Ms. Lambert (best female performance in a comedic play, The Drowsy Chaperone);

Mike Kennard and John Turner (a.k.a. Mump and Smoot, although they appeared sans clown face last night); best actor[s]in a comedic play, for Something Else);

Paul O'Sullivan (best direction of an existing play, for Pinata Full of Bees);

Steve Morel (direction, new play, for The Drowsy Chaperone).

In television, awards went to Henry Foner (best director of a comedic special, for This Hour Has 22 Minutes New Year's Special) and Mike Kennedy (direction in a comedy series, for Made In Canada).

In film, Sarah Polley (best female actor in a feature, for Go!) and Tim Burns (best adapted screenplay, for Jacob Two-two Meets the Hooded Fang) took home awards.

The awards also saw the creation of the Canadian Comedy Hall of Fame and the induction of six honourees, all of them Torontonians: Dave Broadfoot, John Candy, Barbara Hamilton, Don Harron, Frank Shuster and Johnny Wayne.

Winners were picked by members of the Alliance of Canadian Cinema, Television and Radio Artists, Canadian Actors' Equity, the Writers Guild of Canada and the Directors Guild of Canada.

As great minds such as Jerry Lewis, Sam Kinison and Father Guido Sarducci have all noted (or at least thought about) at one time or another, comedy is actually a pretty serious business. Last night, amidst a certain amount of "organized mayhem and merriment," that was certainly true, as members of Canada's comic elite were finally able to take home something more tangible than simply the memory of chuckles and guffaws.

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