CODCO was a Newfoundland and Labrador Canadian troupe that aired on CBC Television from 1988-1992. This show is a pun on this theatre troupe's origins. Founded as a theatrical revue in the early 1970s in the maritime island-province of Newfoundland, CODCO draws on the province's cultural history of self-deprecating "Newfie" humour, frequently focusing on the cod fishing industry.
From these roots, CODCO subsequently developed a half-hour, television comedy program of the same name, for national broadcast, produced in the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation's regional studio in Halifax, Nova Scotia, and on location in St. John's, Newfoundland.
CODCO's pointed satire takes aim at regional differences, national assumptions, politics, sexism, gender roles, gay codes and television genres. The general format of CODCO's satire is sketch comedy, with sets, costumes and make-up that replicate the sources under attack. The CODCO members' theatrical roots trained them to shape detailed caricatures, with nuances that dismantle not only the conventions of the source personas and genres but also the ideologies of a medium colonized by commercialism. Spun from the collective writing and acting skills of the members, and ably directed by the experienced John Blanchard and David Acomba, the CODCO members' sketches show the tightness of well rehearsed scene studies, rather than the loose burlesque of Saturday Night Live.
All four members cross-dress, and their ability to traverse sex roles plays to CODCO's evident interest in social transgression and critique. Cathy Jones and Mary Walsh portray a variety of males, from macho through wimpy, along with their femme fatales, "loud feminists" and pesky middle-aged, bingo-bent matrons. The sketches featuring the homely, dateless "Friday Night Girls" satirize the isolation of women in Newfoundland's island life. Walsh's Dakey Dunn, "Male Correspondent," replete with gold chain, hairy chest, cigarette and beer, might explain the dilemma of the "Friday Night Girls;" in one monologue, Dakey admits to not completing high school and, in crude English, lays out a machismo view of economic and cultural matters as if himself in command of Newfiedom. Greg Malone's Queen Elizabeth and Malone's and Tommy Sexton's gay queens share an excessive style and gay-rights politics that only satire can contain on broadcast television.