You Have to Laugh: Character Actor Patrick McKenna

Patrick McKenna is a talented Canadian actor/comedian. He appears on Stargate SG-1, playing the hapless but sweet Dr. Jay Felger alongside the equally funny and magnificent John Billingsley (the attached clip is classic; I also enjoy a scene from the same episode where Felger darts down an enemy ship's corridor by hugging the sides, spy style, while Billingsley's character strolls casually down the middle of the corridor behind him).

McKenna also shows up in a Due South episode, starring fellow Canadian Paul Gross, and naturally on the Red Green Show as Red Green's nephew, Harold.

Canadian television is . . . impossible to describe. It's like British television, only more cynical or laconic or something. And it's like American television, only . . . it's not.

The Red Green Show successfully crosses the American-Canadian border. Harold is the quintessential British-type canny dope with a dollop of Al from Home Improvement. He is utterly geeky and sometimes the butt of an episode's jokes, yet he is also often the character who call others on their impracticality, pointing out the extremely ridiculous nature of what they wish to attempt.

The below dialog is one of my favorite exchanges from the episode "Moving House." McKenna as Harold delivers the perfect combination of hysteria and pointed sarcasm. Note the "it's not a covered bridge anymore!" line.
RED GREEN: Well, the good news is, that old building is out of the way forever.

HAROLD GREEN: Beautiful, old, pioneer log cabin. I thought you guys were gonna save history, not make it! I can't believe you didn't call the phone company! When you move a building down the street, where it has telephone lines on both sides, you gotta call the phone company! Because what they do is they take down the phone lines, and once you're past, they put the lines back up.

RED GREEN: Well, we did half their job for them, then, didn't we?

HAROLD GREEN: Well, I'm glad I had that chimney to hold on to, at least. I got, like, telephone line burns all over my thighs. Oh, that's another thing, too. Yeah, you gotta phone the power company! What about the power lines?

RED GREEN: Well, no, that was bad.

HAROLD GREEN: Yeah, that was bad! That was real bad! I mean, what'd you-- [and] I suggested that you pre-measure all the bridges on your route to make sure they're all wide enough.

RED GREEN: Yeah, especially that covered bridge.

HAROLD GREEN: Yeah, that poor old covered bridge. Covered bridge that the Historical Society worked so hard to preserve. Well, it's not a covered bridge anymore, is it? Oh, just a bridge now! Bridge surrounded by lumber! You should have pre-measured! [Pause.] Or at least slowed down.

RED GREEN: Yeah. Oh, come on, Harold, we couldn't slow down, because once the power lines set the cabin on fire, we had to pretty much haul it. That's what I'm saying. And the irony there is that we couldn't call in an emergency because the phone lines were down, so we actually had to– we had to drive the fire to the fire station.

HAROLD GREEN: Yeah, poor old fire station. Fire station that the Historical Society worked so hard to preserve! Fire station stood there for a hundred years taking everything Mother Nature threw at it. Of course, that's not including, you know, a flaming log cabin coming at twice the speed limit!

RED GREEN: I know, I know. But, y'know, in fairness, for a fire station, it was pretty darned flammable. And you know, you know, full marks to Buzz Sherwood, who realized that the fire trucks were actually trapped inside the burning station. So what he did was he filled up his water bomber plane, and he dropped water right onto the fire.

HAROLD GREEN: Yeah, well, he tried.

RED GREEN: He tried, yeah.

HAROLD GREEN: He got the Baptist church. Poor old Baptist church! The one the Historical Society tried so hard to preserve!

RED GREEN: Yeah, that church didn't have a prayer.

HAROLD GREEN: Did you learn anything? Any--any little thing? Did you learn anything from all of this?!

RED GREEN: Well, I did, Harold. I think I learned what "ironic" means. Y'know, I never really got it before, but I think I'm there now.

* * *
LATER AT THE MEETING

HAROLD GREEN: Just a quick announcement from the Historical Society. Due to the fact of all the recent losses to the historical buildings in the area, seems the Historical Society will be no longer declaring buildings as historical sites. They'll just be labeling them targets as opposed to buildings.

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