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Opinion: I listened to the comedy station that replaced TSN 1040 so you don't have to

Is Funny AM 1040 funny?
vintage-radio

On Tuesday, Feb. 9, 2021, Vancouver's TSN1040 AM radio station officially went off the air, minutes after the staff were informed that parent company Bell Media had decided to pull the plug.

A minute-long message was played over the airwaves, in which an unnamed, robotic voice explained that the "quickly evolving broadcast media landscape" forced the company to make a difficult decision.

Somebody decided that it would be a good idea for them to play the Greenday song, "Good Riddance" over the air immediately following the robotic and unceremoneous farewell.

Ouch.

The station's staff, others in the media, and listeners at large reacted swiftly, condemning Bell for not only taking the station off the air, but for the way that they did it; they gave employees 30 minutes to get everything off their computers, and that was it.

It was then announced that they were going to flip the format of the station over to 24-hour comedy which, as you can imagine, did not go over well with TSN1040 fans.

This past Friday night, I committed an hour to listening to the most-maligned new radio station in Vancouver—heck, probably in all of Canada —so you don't have to.

It's called Funny 1040, and they don't let you forget it as they often play spots letting you know you're listening to "Vancouver's all new Funny AM 1040."

The station has seemingly come up with a mathematical equation to insert the most number of jokes they possibly can into each hour.

A comedian's name is read by someone—sometimes they say "And here is [NAME]", other times it's just their name—then what follows is that comedian doing a 2-4 minute long bit.

These aren't bits made specifically for the station or for radio at all, in fact; they're taken out of what were previously full comedy sets. So it's almost as if you're listening to a series of one-liners, with little buildup and nuance.

Joke after joke slam you in the face, then every 20 minutes you're subjected to a commercial break.

The commercials seem to be leftovers from TSN1040, as they range from concussion clinics to sales on Nissan Kick vehicles to Hockey Helps the Homeless and others. Here is the full list of commercials I heard over the 60 minutes I listened:

- Online counselling service
- Concussion clinic
- Hockey Helps the Homeless fundraiser commercial
- Nissan Kicks sale
- Subway restaurants
- Personal Finance Podcast
- Speedy Glass
- Government of Canada COVID-19 travel advisory
- Canadian Blood Services donation
- CTV National News with Lisa LaFlamme
- Red Reishi mushrooms

Over the hour I heard jokes from 24 comedians, including five A-listers:

- Freddie Prinze
- Eddie Izzard
- Robin Williams
- Richard Belzer
- Craig Ferguson

17 not-quite B-listers:

John Caparulo from Ohio
Bill Engvall from Texas
Tommy Savvitt from New Jersey
John Mulaney from Chicago
Mike Birbiglia from Massachusetts
Gary Gulman from Massachusetts
Jesse Popp from Michigan
Brian Regan from Florida
Jeremy Hotz from South Africa
Dara Ó Briain from Ireland
Richard Jeni from New York
Doug Benson from San Diego
Demetri Martin from New York
Jim David from North Carolina
Ron White from Texas
Jim Breuer from New York
Andy Sandford from Georgia.

And two female B-listers:

Morgan Murphy from Oregon
Maria Bamford from California.

You'll notice that beyond the comedians being mostly white dudes, there were no Canadian comics that I heard. So from my hour-long drive-by it wasn't made clear to me how they're going to fulfill their CanCon requirements that ensure they have at least some Canadian talent.

In summary, you're probably better off listening to reruns of Malcolm in the Middle or Frasier if you're looking for some laughs. Or comedy podcasts.

From the latter category I'd recommend starting with Vancouverite Sophie Buddle's debut album Lil' Bit of Buddle that recently won a Juno, or John Cullen's recent album Long Stories for No Reason which pokes a lot of fun at our fine city.