WES BORG ON WHY YOU HAVE TO SUCK AT WRITING, WHY IMPROV MAKES YOU A BETTER WRITER, HOW A HIGH SCHOOL IMPROV TRAINING PROGRAMME IS FAILING A GENERATION OF WOULD-BE IMPROVISORS (MF GALAXY 141)


CREATING A LEGENDARY SKETCH COMEDY TROUPE + LOSING A NATIONAL TV SHOW, WHY EDMONTON BECAME AN INTERNATIONAL THEATRE CITY

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Wes Borg is a legend. In the 1980s he cofounded the influential sketch comedy troupe Three Dead Trolls in a Baggie. He’s written widely for the screen, beginning with the Three Dead Trolls in a Baggie television series, and moving to the 2003 TV movie The Western Alienation Comedy Hour, serving as head writer on the 2004 series The Geek Show, and creating the short film Café Utopia.

He’s also appeared on CBC Radio’s The Debaters and The Irrelevant Show. He wrote the comedy songs “The War of 1812” and “Toronto Sucks” even though people often attribute them to The Arrogant Worms. He co-wrote Piledriver! with Darrin Haggin and Ha! with Chris Craddock, and The War of 1812 with Paul Mather, and he’s acted in various BioWare games including the Mass Effect trilogy and Jade Empire.

He’s received two Elizabeth Sterling Haynes Awards for his participation in the Trolls shows Kevin Costner's Naked Butt and Skippy Gets a Boner, and a Bronze Medal in the Calgary Winter Olympics Theatre Sports Tournament in 1988. In 2014 he was nominated as "Best Variety Act" in the Canadian Comedy Awards, and won "Top Improv/Sketch or Variety Performer" from Victoria's "Monday Magazine,” and was named Victoria’s Favourite Comedy Performer two years in a row.

On November 25, 2014 Borg spoke with me by Skype from his home in Victoria, and explained:
  • Why you have to suck at writing
  • What it’s like to create a legendary sketch comedy troupe and then lose the national TV show produced for it
  • Why improv makes you a better writer
  • How a high school improv training programme is failing a generation of would-be improvisers, and
  • Why Edmonton became an international theatre city
Along the way, Borg cites the Fringe, meaning the Edmonton International Fringe Festival, which is the second-largest small theatre festival on the planet, and Cathleen, meaning Cathleen Rootsaert, one of the co-founders of Three Dead Trolls in a Baggie. He also refers to GST, which for US listeners is the federal sales tax which was a new experience for Albertans who to this day do not pay provincial sales taxes.

You can find him on Twitter @deadtroll.

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