The McKenzie brothers, Bob and Doug, are characters created and performed by Rick Moranis and Dave Thomas (the actor, not the founder of Wendy's), respectively. They first appeared in the Great White North, an improvisational sketch on the Canadian television show SCTV. The sketch was born from Canadian broadcasting regulations, which require them to show at least 2 minutes of Canadian culture. The result, two beer-guzzling backbacon-eating toque-wearing hosers sitting on their couch filming conversations that you would expect to find on the public access channel. Dave Thomas referred to it affectionately as Kanadian Korner.

The duo was wildly popular, however, Moranis and Thomas didn't realize to what extent until in 1980 when they were asked to attend a Saskatchewan Roughriders match in character. "They were all shouting 'you hoser' and all the things that we had been saying on the show," remarked Thomas about the visit. Since the Great White North was taped, Thomas had never interacted with an audience, and was truly put back at the crowd's reactions.

With this realization, they decided to try to cash in on the popularity and recorded the Great White North album. It did well. The album's hit single Take Off was number one on the charts in Canada and was in the top 10 in the United States.

The album did well enough that MGM noticed and offered Moranis and Thomas a deal to make a movie based on the characters. Strange Brew: The Adventures of Bob and Doug McKenzie began filming in the fall of 1982 with a script very loosely based on the story of Hamlet written by Dave Thomas. Released in 1983, the movie did poorly at box office, however it has since become a cult classic. A sequel, Home Brew is in the works, but is currently trying to work its way out of developmental hell.

Their cult status landed them a gig as spokesmen for Molson Beer. "We held focus groups...and it was pretty amazing how high the McKenzie brothers were in awareness, even though they weren't on the air," said one of Molson's marketing managers. "They had top-of-mind awareness among beer drinkers 21 to 27, as well as those 34-plus."

In 2000, McFarlane Toys released the Bob and Doug action figures, sold separately. Also available is the set of the Great White North.


Sources:
http://www.strangebrewmovie.com/
http://sctvguide.ca/programs/mckenzie.htm
http://www.geocities.com/kanadian_korner/

Thanks to The Content Rescue Team for bringing this to my attention!

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