They may play a couple of dopey hockey players, but Andrew Herr and Dylan Playfair take their comedy seriously. The pair co-star in CraveTV and The Comedy Network’s upcoming Letterkenny as Jonesy and Reilly, two dunderheaded, expletive-spouting friends who share a distaste for hicks Wayne (Jared Keeso, 19-2) and Daryl (Nathan Dales, King & Maxwell), a love for hockey … and the same girlfriend.
First introduced in one episode of Keeso’s web series Letterkenny Problems—which was then picked up to series by Bell Media—the characters of Jonesy and Reilly had to be bulked up for the TV show’s six episodes.
“On the web series, there was just a few seconds of chirping,” Herr (Mr. Hockey: The Gordie Howe Story) says from an on-location shoot in Sudbury, Ont. “Now we see why these two are the way they are.” Both guys knew (or know) fellows who are a lot like their TV personas on hockey teams they’ve played on, so they relate to the verbiage and actions. The scene Canadian TV critics saw being filmed that day included a riotous face-off between Jonesy, Reilly, Wayne and Daryl, with the former pair showcasing macho puffery and an urgency to “tarp off” (take off their shirts) and engage in a “donnybrook” (a fight) with the latter pair. Instead, Wayne and Daryl undressed the hockey players with a rapid-fire delivery of chirping that left Jonesy and Reilly befuddled. Herr says everyone sticks to the scripts written by series creator and executive producer Keeso and executive producer and director Jacob Tierney (The Trotsky), though Playfair’s scene-ending ad libs left Tierney and the crew crowding the monitors cackling several times.
Letterkenny spotlights three social groups—the Hicks, the Skids (Less Than Kind‘s Tyler Johnston is lead Skid, Stewart) and the Hockey Players—who are constantly at odds with each other. But when outside forces attack one faction, the other two come to their defence. Despite their differences, Letterkenny’s three social circles have a sense of community and family, something Playfair says was reflected in real-life by a promise Keeso made to he and Herr.
“Jared told us right away when he was pitching this, ‘You guys are going to be the guys,'” Playfair (Some Assembly Required) recalls. “Herrsie and I realized that we needed to take as many acting classes and get as much experience as we could so that [the network] would have to hire us. Fast forward a year and a half and here we are in Ontario filming Letterkenny with guys we were friends with before we became part of this project.”
Letterkenny will debut on CraveTV.
Check out Reilly and Jonesy in their Letterkenny Problems debut. Warning: expletives abound.