Friday, October 28, 2016

Interview: The Trailer Park Boys

It's 2004 and I am stoned. While dazed on the sofa a friend pulls out a USB memory stick and tells me he's got this awesome new comedy I've got to check out. "What is it?" I ask. "It's a Canadian comedy show about a bunch of crazy assholes living in a trailer park". My expectations were pretty low, but then he put on the grainy, pirated divx and I began to laugh. And laugh and laugh and laugh.

I'm still laughing to this day (though not continuously since 2004, that would be horrible). In the interim Trailer Park Boys has gone from strength to strength; evolving from its early days as a black and white indie movie to underground stoner hit to mainstream success (they're even funded by the Canadian Government). Season 11 of the show is due to air on Netflix in March 2017, a miniseries Out of the Park: Europe is released on Netflix today and they're soon to visit the UK with their live show Dear Santa Claus: Go Fuck Yourself.

The boys famously blur the line between fiction and reality, so I yesterday found myself having the surreal experience of chatting to Julian, Ricky and Bubbles - three guys I've spent countless happy hours with.

I asked them why they were coming to this grey and miserable island. Julian responded: "We're just coming here to have a good time, spread some festive cheer and say hi to all our British fans again. We've been London recently for Out of the Park - we got to hang out with Noel Fielding and have a look around Buckingham Palace." Given the chaos that generally follows Ricky and Julian around I ask if anything went on with palace security - the three mumble something mysterious about a stolen pair of Princes Charles' underpants and Bubbles "remembers that crazy guy who broke into the Palace and sat on the Queen's bed." 

"Are there any other British celebrities you'd have liked to have worked with but didn't?" Julian quickly replies "we'd have loved to work with Ricky Gervais...".  Ricky interjects with an excited "We did get to hang with Sebastian Bach (Canadian metal icon) in Amsterdam!" 

I ask them if there's anywhere they didn't enjoy. Ricky: "Nobody understood anything about us in Germany. Maybe it's because they don't speak good English. It was fucking weird."

"So what is 'Dear Santa Claus, Go Fuck Yourself?'. Julian replies, "well, its our way of apologising to Santa for the things we've said about him". I can't help but point out that telling him to "go fuck himself" doesn't sound like too much of an apology, but Bubbles interjects "No, no it's me telling Santa to go fuck himself..." I guess, given that Santa in the show is the soused and villainous Mr Lahey (assisted by his elf helper, rotund cheeseburger devourer Randy) I can't blame him.

I put to them a quote from a review of their live show in California: "the night appeared to be a scam to sell $10 cheeseburgers to stoners, I estimate Julian pulled in $1,500 on stage". Julian angrily responds, "It wasn't a scam! Those people got their cheeseburgers!" He points out that anyone attending the London or Manchester shows can buy a cheeseburger too, as long as they "come with a pocket of cash. I don't take cards."

Given the boys post behaviour and history, I can't help but wonder whether there's some bigger caper going on under the hood. I point out to them that 'luxury Canadian weed', (legally grown stuff smuggled from across the Atlantic) sells at the astonishing premium of $150CDN an ounce on the London street. They seem surprised, but suspiciously, not too surprised. Even so, there's an obvious confidence in their own horticultural skills - even though the market has been blown wide open by marijuana legislation in Canada, Ricky and Julian confidently assert "well our weed is way better than whatever they can grow, so we're not too worried".

So what next for their travels? I point out that the Middle East could definitely do with some Sunnyvale Trailer Park style good times (though probably less of the random shootings). Julian responds: "Well... they do have loads of good hash over there...

Dear Santa Claus, Go Fuck Yourself is at the Apollo London on 9th Dec and Manchester o2 on 11th Dec. Tickets available here. Out of the Park: Europe is on Netflix now.

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