“Take off, eh!”: Watch Night Flight’s exclusive 1982 interview with Bob & Doug McKenzie

By on January 3, 2018

Our vintage full episodes of “Night Flight” continue to be some of the most popular titles we’ve added to our streaming channel, Night Flight Plus, and so today we thought we’d highlight this “Best Of Night Flight” episode which originally aired on September 28, 1982.

This episode featured Night Flight’s exclusive interview with Bob and Doug McKenzie (“SCTV” actors Rick Moranis & Dave Thomas, respectively), hosts of the fictional Canadian talk show “The Great White North.”


During their short but sweet interview, which took place in Night Flight’s studios in New York City, we see the McKenzie Brothers seated before a large map of Canada, in pink — they tell us they weren’t allowed to bring their own map of the Great White North across the border with them — which ends up getting flipped right-to-left at one point, now showing Doug on the left and Bob on the right, with Alaska appearing on the right side of the map instead of the left.

“Our cracked Night Flight research staff has spent many hours trying to determine the correct definition of the term ‘hose head’, but without results,” our segment producer says at one point during the short interview, asking them: “Could you please give us the definitive meaning, and is it a biological reference of any sort?”

The question seems to throw Doug off a bit, because he struggles and stammers while trying to come up with an answer (meanwhile, his brother Bob begins pointing at him as if to say: “Here’s what a hosehead looks like”).

Finally, Doug McKenzie says: “Yes, um, to answer your question, the origin of the name ‘hoser’ came from, like, The Great White North, when, like, their people had, like, runny noses…”


Read more about Bob & Doug McKenzie below.


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“SCTV” — abbreviated from “Second City Television” — was based around the Toronto, Ontario stage act, expanding into Canada from Chicago’s renowned Second City theater troupe.

The cast featured Martin Short, John Candy, Rick Moranis, Dave Thomas, Eugene Levy, Joe Flaherty, Robin Duke, Andrea Martin, Catherine O’Hara, Harold Ramis and Tony Rosato.

“SCTV” had debuted on American TV screens as a syndicated half-hour in 1977, paid for in part by the real-life NBC network ($200,000 per show), who aired “SCTV” right after “Saturday Night Live” in most television markets across the country.

NBC later expanded the show to 90 minutes, moving it into the vacated 12:30 slot on Friday evenings (it also aired on Cinemax during cable TV’s early years).


Rick Moranis’s and Dave Thomas’s bickering brother act began in 1980, when producers of “SCTV” asked the cast to come up with two additional minutes of “Canadian-themed” material in order to comply with a Canadian ordinance requiring that each show filmed in Canada possess some uniquely “Canadian” content.

Since the show was not only going to be seen in Canada but all across the United States, Moranis (then 28-years old) and Thomas (33) came up with the idea of parodying Canadian stereotypes by having two not-so-bright brothers, the McKenzies, hosting their own low-budget TV talk show, “The Great White North.”


Bob & Doug McKenzie wore unzipped parkas, lumberjacky plaid shirts and toques (ski caps). Since they apparently had day-jobs, working as bottle inspectors for a beer company, they had free bottles of Canadian beer to guzzle down on camera (the empties were always left standing on a table in front of them).

They were always seated — Bob on the left, Doug on the right — before a map of North America, with Canada displayed prominently, of course.

Sometimes they fried up Canadian back bacon on a grill while talking about the need for more parking spaces at take-out donut shops, the inappropriateness of bedtime stories about dog fights, how to raise baby mice in beer bottles to scare the beer company into giving you a free case of beer, or other comedic nonsense.

They joked back and forth with each other, as brothers do — unlike the rest of “SCTV” skits, theirs were completely improvised — trading off telling each other to “Take off!,” or calling each other “hoser” or “hosehead,” and dropping in the very Canadian-sounding “eh” at the ends of their sentences.


That first two-minute skit was such a hit with “SCTV” viewers — sacks full of letters were said to have poured into their offices at ITV Studios in Edmonton, Alberta — that the actors were asked to make it a regular skit on the show.

Those skits were then taped in marathon short sessions until there were as many as forty episodes of “The Great White North” which producers would then drop into the “SCTV” episodes as they saw fit, each show beginning with a hearty greeting, “G’Day.”

Their signature theme song — Dave Thomas singing “Coo roo coo coo, coo coo coo cooo” — was apparently a parody exaggeration of the “Flute Song” theme used in 60-second Canadian television nature vignettes, such as “Hinterland Who’s Who.”

We’ve even read that CBS TV news anchor even asked if he could appear as a guest on “The Great White North,” but that might have been a joke… who knows?


Night Flight’s “Best Of” episode from September 28, 1982 also includes a behind-the-scenes documentary The Other Side of ‘The Wall,’ about Pink Floyd’s The Wall), as well as a Night Flight premiere of “They Went to the Stars,” an excursion through the TV space adventures of the early ’50s (featuring “Spade Cadet” and Space Patrol), plus music videos and more from the Residents, Jim Morrison of the Doors, Jimi Hendrix, Neil Young, Bob Marley, Count Basie and Rod Stewart, and oh so much more…check it out now on Night Flight Plus!


About Bryan Thomas

Bryan Thomas has been a freelancing writer/critic for All Music Guide, assistant editor for the When You Awake blog, and a contributor to Launch, Music Connection, Big Takeover and numerous other publications and entertainment websites, blogs and zines, most of them long gone. He's written more than sixty sets of liner notes. He’s also worked for over twenty years at mostly reissue record labels -- prior to that he worked in bookstores and record stores, going all the way back to the original vinyl daze. He lives in the Miracle Mile neighborhood of Los Angeles, CA.