Nightstand Humour Not in Breach of Broadcast Standards

Ottawa, May 30, 1998 -- The Canadian Broadcast Standards Council (CBSC) today released its decision concerning the broadcast on CKVU-TV (UTV - Vancouver) of an episode of Nightstand entitled “A Green Dick”.

Nightstand, which airs at midnight, follows the format of a talk show, but differs significantly from the typical talk show in that it is essentially a parody of the genre and the guests are all actors. Its February 20, 1997 broadcast included a segment in which the “guests” told the “host” of the show the contrived story of the death of a woman, one of the guests’ wife, during a bear attack. According to the tall tale, the woman was tied to a tree nude and covered with honey when the bear “attacked”. In this tall tale, the bear proceeded to lick all the honey off the woman and to have sex with her. The story led to the conclusion that the bear “had your wife and ate her too. Sir, that is one grisly story.”

Following a complaint from a viewer, the Council considered the program in light of the provisions of the Sex Role Portrayal Code. In the Council’s view, the segment did not exploit women. The Council found that the sketch in question was far-fetched and clearly unrealistic, thereby giving rise to a different level of expectation on the part of the listener or viewer. It was an extended pun, styled in some respects along the lines of what used to be called “shaggy dog” stories. The humour may have been childish and somewhat sexual or off-colour but it was no more exploitative of the one sex than of the other.

In making its determination, the Council reiterated that it will not measure questions of taste in terms of the Codes it administers; such questions are to be left for the resolution of the audience by means of the on/off switch. The Council also noted that the program was aired in a very late time slot, when there was no risk that persons other than adults would be watching.

The CBSC is the self-regulatory body created by private broadcasters to respond to complaints and administer industry standards on ethics, journalistic practices, gender portrayal and television violence. Nearly 400 radio and television stations and specialty services from across Canada are members of the Council.

– 30 –

All CBSC decisions, Codes, links to members’ and other web sites, and related information are available on the World Wide Web at For more information, please contact the National Chair of the CBSC, Ron Cohen, at (###) ###-#### or by e-mail.