And then there was Sharon and Bram.
Demonstrating that the show must go on, even after the death this month of their compatriot – Lois Lilienstein, aka Lois – were the two remaining parts of this prized singing trio. They were present at a small dinner for the Field Trip music fest this week at Analogue Gallery in Toronto where, to my amazement, the after-dinner hijinks included a room-wide stand-up-and-sing – led by, oh yes, Sharon and Bram! But no, not their signature ditty "Skinnamarink" – but something just as jaunty.
“I’ve been to a lot of dinners, and that was a first,” I confirmed, after the table of about 30 of us had finished sing-song’ing and doing the hand-gestures to a tune called "Peanut Butter…and Jelly!”
Earlier, in a more somber moment during dinner, Sharon admitted that this was probably the first time she’d been able to talk about Lois without crying. She also confessed that both her and Bram were all but blown away by the tributes paid to their lost co-conspirator, over the past week, including an obit in The New York Times in which Lois was praised for her “sunny personality and tuneful, bell-clear voice” so familiar to the millions of families who grew up with her. (Besides their non-stop live performances, Sharon, Lois & Bram – the show – ran on the CBC in the '80s, but lived in reruns on the Nickelodeon channel in the States for eons after.)
Faithful to her cheery brand right to the end, Lois, I hear, was laid to rest the other day during a ceremony in Toronto that included a mariachi band (one of her final requests) and a sprinkling of chocolate chips on her grave, “so she can cook her famous brownies in heaven.” Indeed, as the food was going around at this particular feast – a fabulous dinner prepared by local chef Anthony Rose, with dishes from his three restos (Fat Pasha, Big Crow and Rose & Sons) – Sharon lamented that Lois, more than anyone, would have loved it ‘cause she was such a food enthusiast. I silently raised my pita, with chopped eggplant and tahini, to her!
(Dinner, by the way, was hosted by Arts & Crafts impresario Jeffrey Remedios, the force behind next month's Field Trip at Fort York, an event that he has called “an annual love letter to our home town.” Kinda hard to argue with a concept like that!)
How could there not be tears? There was a rivulet or two, for sure, when Samantha Bee did her final appearance with Jon Stewart on The Daily Show Thursday night. It was after the host, who’s also leaving the show soon, bid a rather emotional farewell to the long-time correspondent.
“We needed a correspondent,” Jon began, talking about the early days of the show with Samantha. “We looked in all the usual places: your liquor stores, your betting parlors, your methadone clinics. Obviously Google Maps was in its nascent stages. We took a wrong turn. We ended up in Canada and we found this just delightful, incredibly funny person, Sam Bee.”
Stewart then played a collection of some of Bee’s best segments from her almost 12 years on the show. The Toronto-raised funnygirl is off now to host her own satirical series for TBS.
Photo: @michellelewin on Twitter
Will Smith – part of the cast of thousands shooting Sucide Squad in Toronto – hit Maison Mercer the other night for a party in honour of fitness diva and bodybuillder Michelle Lewin. Fresh Prince had on a baseball cap paired artfully with a ski vest and the sort of lumbering silk scarf that fathers on the Indian sub-continent like to wear! Street style: noted.