Tag Archives: Brent Butt

A (Corner) Gas of a time on MasterChef Canada

Tuesday’s “Cooking with (Corner) Gas” episode of MasterChef Canada was full of challenges for the Top 7 home cooks. They had to compete in a Mystery Box Challenge and, FINALLY, a classic MasterChef Canada Tag Team Challenge. But just hold on and let me tell it in order.

As the seven remaining home cooks entered the kitchen they saw a MASSIVE Mystery Box. What could be in it? Or perhaps, who could be in it? Tonight’s challenge was elevated diner food and the contestants got a little bit of help from the cast of the hit series Corner Gas Animated, including Brent Butt, Tara Spencer-Nairn, Lorne Cardinal and Nancy Robertson. For me, it was a good opportunity to add one more great Canadian series to my watch list. For the cooks, winning would give them a huge advantage in the upcoming Elimination Challenge.

All of the cooks rushed to the pantry and got baskets full of delicious products. And then there was Beccy, who had just a couple of grapefruits, eggs and butter. I was looking forward to seeing what she had in her creative mind and what the judges would get in the end. The atmosphere in the kitchen was easy and fun. The Top 7 cooks were cooking passionately and had so many great ideas, like chicken and waffles from Eugene, a Japanese play on steak and eggs from Kaegan and a tuna melt from Marissa. But chefs Claudio, Alvin and Michael made their choice and decided to try three dishes out of the seven; the lucky ones were Nadia, Andy and Beccy. Nadia made a stuffed French toast with smoked applewood brie and spicy berry fig sauce and the judges loved her brie! Beccy cooked an elevated diner pie with grapefruit and basil with Italian meringue and crumble; the presentation was extraordinary. Andy prepared a Thai Burger with vegetable tempura.

Chef Alvin was very impressed by Andy’s dish … and he was the home cook who won the challenge. Which dish would you like to try?

The Elimination Tag Team Challenge was a replication of an Asian box with five different dishes. It contained perfectly crafted Chinese bao with pork belly, cucumber and Asian pear, jellyfish salad and Banh Mi sandwich, and Takoyaki. And for the dessert? Fried banana in coconut batter. The home cooks had 70 minutes to master the box. Andy was safe from elimination but as well had a power to make teams for the Tag Team Challenge. He made Eugene and Beccy a team, Michael G. and Kaegan the second team and Nadia and Marissa the third. The heat was on. The teams were rushing to finish. The normally quiet Beccy was very vocal, urging Eugene to work faster. The judges started to sample the dishes. The first team to get all of their items in their box were Kaegan and Michael G. The Banh Mi was great, the takoyaki and the bun were good, but the bananas were burnt. Beccy and Eugene missed a couple of details but still made a great box. Nadia and Marissa, unfortunately, disappointed judges and Marissa left MasterChef Canada.

MasterChef Canada airs Tuesdays at 9 p.m. ET on CTV.

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Links: Corner Gas Animated, Season 1

From Sabrina Furminger of the Vancouver Courier:

Link: Corner Gas gets animated
When CTV approached Brent Butt and his partners about bringing Corner Gas back to the small screen, the Vancouver comedian was admittedly leery. Continue reading.

From Bill Brioux of the Canadian Press:

Link: ‘A Sasquatch and a unicorn fight’: Brett Butt talks animated ‘Corner Gas’ reboot
Revivals are taking over television schedules, a trend sure to continue with the smash hit start of Roseanne. But can one of Canada’s most popular sitcoms find success revived as an animated series? Continue reading.

From Dana Gee of the Vancouver Sun:

Link: Corner Gas crew is back and they’re animated
For each of its six seasons CTV’s Corner Gas was Canada’s top sitcom.

In 2014, that success translated into a feature film. Now, four years later, there is indeed a lot going on as the franchise has once again expanded. This time the gang from Dog River, Sask., are starring in an animated version of the show. Continue reading.

From Sabrina Furminger of the Vancouver Courier:

Link: An animated return to ‘Corner Gas’
Corner Gas is back, but the town of Dog River and its eccentric inhabitants look a little different than the last time we saw them – dare we say (at the risk of veering into pun territory), they look a tad more animated.

The comedy juggernaut (which ran for six seasons on CTV and seemingly bid adieu with a wildly successful movie in 2014) returns to television on April 2 with Corner Gas Animated –and as the title suggests, it serves up a cartoon take on the zany characters Canadians love and their trademark shenanigans. Continue reading.

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Corner Gas returns with “magic and sorcery” in Animated series

When I first read the news Corner Gas would be returning—this time as an animated version—I scratched my head and asked myself a few questions. Why are they doing this? Didn’t everyone do what they wanted over six seasons of live action? What would make this different?

“I didn’t want to do something for the sake of doing something,” creator, writer, actor and executive producer Brent Butt says of Corner Gas Animated, debuting Monday at 8 p.m. ET/PT on The Comedy Network. “The legacy of it was too important to me. I’m up for a shameless cash grab—don’t get me wrong—but it had to feel right.”

“I honestly thought that the movie was it because Brent is a man of his word and said that was it,” Tara Spencer-Nairn says. “But then I busted Virginia Thompson one day in a Shoppers Drug Mart shortly after the movie came out. I was in line and saw Virginia and she was on her phone saying loudly, ‘I don’t like how the Oscar character looks.’ I was like, ‘Virginia, I’m right here!'”

Thompson, the show’s executive producer alongside Butt and executive producer David Storey, admits the idea for an animated take on the lives of the folks living in small-town Saskatchewan has been in the works for years, but really gained momentum following the success of 2014’s Corner Gas: The Movie. After six seasons on CTV and a final farewell to fans with a feature film, Thompson figured that was it. But an outpouring of support—and demand for more stories from Dog River—caused the trio to recall something they’d kicked around as a joke years ago: an animated series.

“Brent, David and I got together and had lunch and said, ‘What do we want to do?’” Thompson recalls. “The animated concept kept popping up. We’re really excited about this because it really does come from Brent’s imagination and brand of comedy. It’s a different angle to Corner Gas.” Butt’s love of comic books—he and a friend started a publishing company and his first comic, Existing Earth, was nominated for a Golden Eagle Award before he left that for a standup career—and skills as an illustrator (he designed Corner Gas’ station logo) means that the world can expand beyond the limitations of physical television production.

“I think graphically,” Butt says. “I think in cartoon terms. Corner Gas was always written to be a live-action series because it was loosely based on what I imagined my life would be like if I hadn’t pursued stand-up comedy.” During production of the original Corner Gas, some of the ideas he came up with were dismissed as “too cartoonish.” Butt jokes he spent six years de-cartooning Corner Gas; now he can let Dog River and its citizens go wherever he wants with no live action constraints.

 

Being unfettered pays off within minutes in Monday’s debut “Bone Dry,” when Brent and Oscar Leroy (Eric Peterson) argue over Brent having forgotten to order more fuel for Corner Gas’ tanks. They’re dry, leading Oscar to surmise the small town will devolve into a world where people fight to the death for gas. Cut to the elder Leroy’s imagination and a riff on The Road Warrior with Oscar, hilariously, as The Humungus. Butt and Peterson are reunited with the rest of the original Corner Gas cast—Gabrielle Miller as Lacey Burrows, Fred Ewanuick as Hank Yarbo, Lorne Cardinal as Davis Quinton, Spencer-Nairn as Karen Pelley, Nancy Robertson as Wanda Dollard—with Corrine Koslo taking over the role of Emma Leroy following the death of Janet Wright.

With half of the cast based in Vancouver and the other half in Toronto, a unique way of capturing their voices for the first season’s 13 episodes was decided on. The technology is good enough that each group could enter a recording studio in their perspective city and do a group read of the scripts.

“We had this lightning in a bottle with these people who were cast to populate this world and interact,” Butt says. “We had that magic chemistry that sometimes happens. That chemistry is a big reason for the success of Corner Gas. Having the actors from each city together means they can react to each other and react over the phone line in Vancouver.”

“We all play off each other,” Spencer-Nairn says. “I feel like if we didn’t do it this way we’d miss a lot of beats. There would be so much comedy lost if we weren’t working together this way and able to react to what the other person is saying live.”

“We could have done it piecemeal,” Butt says. “But there is an intangible chemistry and magic that these people have when they get together and the way they interact is magic and sorcery.”

Corner Gas Animated airs Mondays at 8 p.m. ET/PT on The Comedy Network.

Images courtesy of Bell Media.

 

 

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Link: Award-winning Corner Gas star Janet Wright dies at 71

From the Canadian Press:

Link: Award-winning Corner Gas star Janet Wright dies at 71
Award-winning stage and screen actress Janet Wright, best known for her portrayal of the long-suffering matriarch on “Corner Gas,” has died at age 71.

Wright played Emma Leroy on the hit Canadian sitcom, which ended its six-season run in 2009, and returned with a big-screen adaptation in 2014.

Wright’s character Emma was the wife of Oscar Leroy, played by Eric Peterson, and mother to Brent, portrayed by series creator and star Brent Butt. Continue reading.

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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.

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