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On Friday, June 1, Governor General Julie Payette presented a Lifetime Artistic Achievement Award to Second City CEO and Executive Producer Andrew Alexander. The ceremony took place at Ottawa’s Rideau Hall as part of the 2018 Governor General’s Performing Arts Awards (GGPAA), Canada’s most prestigious recognition for the performing arts. The following evening, Alexander and his fellow laureates were feted at the GGPAA’s annual star-studded gala, held at the National Arts Centre.
Alexander was humbled by the honour, noting during Friday’s ceremony, “Receiving this award is a tremendous acknowledgement of the thousands of talented young actors and students who have found a home at Second City, just like I have.”
Saturday’s 2018 Governor General’s Performing Arts Awards gala was hosted by CBC News Network’s Heather Hiscox. The evening featured a salute to Alexander’s career by Second City alumni Debra McGrath and Colin Mochrie, who quipped, “I’m not really sure who he is. The guy with the hair?” The couple led the National Arts Centre Orchestra in a laughter-filled musical tribute to Alexander, complete with a military chorus line to delight the crowd of over 1800 guests.
Also honoured at the 2018 GGPAAs were Lifetime Artistic Achievement Award recipients Geneviève Bujold, Peter A. Herrndorf, Angela Hewitt, Ginette Laurin and Murray McLauchlan. Florence Junca Adenot received the Ramon John Hnatyshyn Award for Voluntarism in the Performing Arts, and Tegan & Sara were presented with the National Arts Centre Award.
The Lifetime Artistic Achievement Award recognizes artists for their outstanding body of work and enduring contributions to the performing arts in Canada. Alexander was celebrated for his award-winning career developing and promoting Canadian theatrical, film, and television comedy. He has committed over 40 years to building The Second City, the world’s most renowned comedy institution, which launched the careers of countless performers, including John Candy, Gilda Radner, Eugene Levy, Tina Fey, Mike Myers, Andrea Martin, and Stephen Colbert. Alexander also created and served as Executive Producer of the legendary Canadian sketch comedy series SCTV, which will be the subject of an upcoming CTV and Netflix documentary directed by Oscar winner Martin Scorsese.