Main Page | See live article | Alphabetical index

Wayne and Shuster

Wayne and Shuster was a Canadian comedy duo formed by Johnny Wayne and Frank Shuster.

Wayne (born Lou Weingarten, May 28, 1918 - July 18, 1990) and Shuster (September 5, 1916- January 13, 2002) (a cousin of Joe Shuster, the creator of Superman) met at the Harbord Collegiate Institute in Toronto, Ontario in 1930. They both studied at the University of Toronto, where they wrote and performed for the theatre there, and in 1941 they began their first radio show for the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation.

They enlisted in the Canadian army during World War II, and performed for the troops in Europe (they would also later perform for the army in the Korean War). They returned to Canada to create the Wayne and Shuster Show on CBC Radio in 1946. They first performed on The Ed Sullivan Show in the United States in 1958, and set a record there by appearing 67 times over the next 11 years.

They performed "literate" comedy, combined with slapstick. They often used classical or Shakespearean settings and characters; on their first Ed Sullivan appearance, for example, they performed a modern murder investigation using Shakespeare's Julius Caesar in a sketch called Rinse the Blood off My Toga. After the opening of the Stratford Shakespeare Festival in 1958 they created a baseball-themed skit involving characters from Hamlet and Macbeth.

They continued to perform into the 1960s and 1970s, but their comedy began to seem old-fashioned. However, they were an influence for later Canadian comedians, such as Lorne Michaels (Shuster's son-in-law) and The Kids in the Hall.