Comedy is hard, says Corner Gas: The Movie star

After an extended stay in movie theatres, Corner Gas: The Movie lands on CTV and CTV Two tonight. Stripped of the pre-show and feature film credits, the two-hour flick takes on the structure fans of the series are more accustomed to, a super-sized episode of a project they loved dearly.

For those who didn’t venture out to the movie theatre, here’s a short refresher on what to expect: Dog River, Sask., has hit on hard economic times and is in danger of ceasing to be a town. Everyone has crazy ideas on how to make ends meet, from entering Dog River in a contest to win the cash to pay off debts to prepping for the end of the world. Coming up with a script for a 90-minute movie was a tough task according to creator/executive producer Brent Butt, executive producer Virginia Thompson, writers Andrew Carr and Andrew Wreggitt and executive producer/director David Storey, who took over two years to come up with something everyone was happy with.

Comedies are just harder to make says Butt’s co-star, Nancy Robertson.

“You laugh or you don’t,” she says during a press junket in support of the project. “In comedy, you don’t have the help of mood lighting or music. Those all help to set up a drama, but they screw up a comedy because they get in the way of the timing. It’s far more delicate.”

“I think when people see a comedy and they burst out laughing they think it’s a surprise,” the gal who played Wanda Dollard for six seasons continues. “There is nothing further than the truth. They have no idea of the work that has led up to that laugh, that smile. Because the laugh is impulsive, I think people think what led up to it was impulsive.”

All of that work has paid off. Corner Gas: The Movie is a wonderful salute to the fans who wanted more of Oscar (Eric Peterson), Emma (Janet Wright), Davis (Lorne Cardinal), Wanda, Lacey (Gabrielle Miller), Karen (Tara Spencer-Nairn) and Hank (Fred Ewanuick). The feature film structure allows for an expansion of a couple of characters, most notably Oscar and Davis. The former attempts to go full commando and live off the land (when he’s not calling people “jackass”), leading to several laugh-out loud moments. Davis, meanwhile, tries his hand at being a private investigator; the resulting scenes make me wish CTV, Butt and everyone else involved had the time and cash to pull of a Davis spinoff where he’s a small-town P.I. working in a big city like Calgary or Vancouver.

For now we’ll have to be content with Corner Gas: The Movie, a loving return to those odd folks in that little town where there’s not a lot going on, knowing that there was in fact a lot going on behind the scenes to make it happen.

Corner Gas: The Movie airs Wednesday at 8 p.m. ET/PT on CTV and CTV Two; and Monday, Dec. 22, at 8 p.m. ET/PT on The Comedy Network.