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Sophie Buddle brings stand-up laughs to Crave and CBC

The pandemic lockdown was a strange one for stand-up comedians used to performing on stage. Many, like Steve Patterson and Ron James, chose to go the virtual stage route, selling tickets and performing on a Zoom or similar platform. Sophie Buddle went the other route.

“I did nothing,” the Ottawa-born comedian says. “I was just so depressed the whole pandemic. I did a little bit of online stuff, but I really feel like what stand-up comedy is is a vibe in a room.”

Buddle is making up for that lost time in a big way, with two projects (and her continuing podcast, Obsessed with Sophie Buddle) on the go. The first for the 2020 Juno Award-winner is Smile, Baby, her new half-hour comedy special available right now on Crave. The second is a guest on Comedy Night with Rick Mercer, set to debut Monday, September 13, on CBC.

We spoke to Buddle about both projects, a bit about her background and writing new material.

Your stand-up language delivery is very different from your podcast delivery.
Sophie Buddle: Podcasts are way more conversational and it’s just chit chat. When you’re on stage as a stand-up, it’s sort of presented like you’re just talking. It’s a conversation, but it’s not. It is like a speech or a monologue, so you do end up having different pacing than a regular conversation. I was teaching a beginner stand-up class for a little while, and that was the entire advice I was giving. I feel like anybody can be funny and everybody knows what’s funny and everybody makes their friends laugh, but to be a stand-up, you just need to learn how to say your stories or your jokes or your ideas in a stand-up way or in a stand-up format.

It is sort of a weird rhythm just because you do need to end at the part where the audience laughs. You’re supposed to have the funniest word at the very end of the sentence. If you could have the misdirect be the last thing you say, then that’s the easiest because it is sort of a conversation, but the only thing the audience can really contribute to the conversation is laughing or booing or whatever. Mob mentality is half of the conversation.

In Smile, Baby, you mention the pandemic. How did it, as a creative person, affect you? I know stand-ups like Steve Patterson and Ron James went the online route and did performances that way. What did you do?
SB: I did nothing. I was just so depressed during the pandemic. I did a little bit of online stuff, but I really feel like what stand-up comedy is is a vibe in a room. I really do feel like so much of it is about being in the room with a group of people and having that energy. I did a little bit of online stuff too, just to feel like myself, but I was really missing that connection. We filmed all the Crave special sort of right, you could say at the tail end of the pandemic, but it’s still sort of ongoing, just as stuff was starting to open up a little bit.

I was feeling really rusty. I had not performed in a really long time and all my new stuff was sort of untested, so I was really nervous going into filming this. It was limited capacity in the building. I’ve been doing stand-up for, I think, 13 years now. As soon as I started doing it, I was doing it at least once a week and then more than that and then multiple times a week for years and years and years. The pandemic was the first time I ever wasn’t doing it and so I felt like definitely at my most rusty that I had been ever in my life. It was pretty scary to film something that’s such on a higher profile while feeling sort at my worst, but I’m still happy with how it turned out. It was just very scary going into it.

I watched your set on James Corden and you did your joke about your boyfriend having a school girl thing. That is also in Smile, Baby. How much new material went into the Crave special?
SB: Yeah, that’s a great question. So that joke, in particular, is actually my oldest joke that I still do. I wrote that when I was 16. I literally remember the first time I tried it. I was 16 at the Ottawa Yuk Yuk’s, and that was one of the first times that the Ottawa comedians started being nice to me. Everyone thought that was a good joke.

I really like doing new material. The only time that I feel down about stand-up is if I’m doing my A stuff too much or my showcase set too much. If I’m getting ready for a taping, that’s always when I feel bad about stand-up because what’s fun is trying new stuff. But sometimes jokes like that do just sort of stick around forever. One of the ways to retire them is to record them, basically. And so I was really just trying to get the last juice out of that joke before I can, hopefully, finally put it on the shelf forever. But I would say about half of the Crave special is brand new to the eyes of comedy people and maybe the other half I had recorded on my album or on the late night or something like that.

I had some new stuff, but all of it was pretty untested at that point because it’s stuff that I wrote during the pandemic or stuff that I was working on right when stuff shut down. And also, it’s very hard to decide as a comic when a bit is finished because there’s always something you can add to it. And so even if something is getting a couple big laughs, you’re always telling yourself that you should have maybe a couple more little ones in between in the lead up. Whenever you’re recording anything, you’re sort of forced to be like, ‘OK, well this stuff is finished and I just have to just be OK with it.’ But all comics talk about as soon as you record something, you think of so many new tags for it, so many new angles and that’s true for this special too. As soon as I recorded this and then you watch it back, you’re like, oh I have so many more ideas for these shows, but you don’t really want to do them because people have seen the special, so it’s very annoying.

What’s your writing process? Do you set aside time in the day to sit down and write jokes or are you out in the day and doing stuff you think of something funny and you just recite it into your phone?
SB: I’m not a sit down and write kind of comic. I’m definitely, something funny comes up or I think of something funny, I’ll write a little note in my phone and then I do most of my writing on stage. I’ll usually know what the punchline is or at the very least what the premise is and then I find it only possible to really do it while I’m on stage. I also am pretty conversational too, so I want it to come out naturally. I find if I write it and then I’m worried about memorizing the exact wording, then it’ll come off too stiff.

You’re working your stuff while you’re out there on stage in front of a live audience?
SB: Yeah. That’s one thing that’s really fun about being a headliner and having longer sets is you can still do well, you can still do all of your material that you know is good. And then by doing that, you have a lot of trust with the audience. So what I do usually, if I’m doing an hour or 45 minutes, maybe about 20 or 30 minutes into my set, I’ll go, ‘OK. I have a couple of new things I want to try. We’ll see if they’re anything or not.’ And then I can just give it a go. If it gets anything, that means it’s worth working on and if it gets nothing, you just throw it away.

Are you rare in that you do it that way or am I just ignorant and didn’t know that most comics do it that way?
SB: I don’t know how rare it is. I know that not everybody does it like that because I think that it can be a bit stressful.

But for me, that’s the only way I can really decide what to work on because I don’t want to write a whole thing. It’s honestly, maybe, more about laziness. It’s like, ‘I don’t want to write a whole thing and then find out it doesn’t work and then have wasted my time writing something.’ So I usually have the very core of the idea that I’ll just try on stage and if that gets a laugh, then I’ll think about it more and try to build around it. I’m more of a pile on to a core idea as opposed to a sculptor that’s pulling away.

CBC sent out media screeners for Comedy Night with Rick Mercer and you are in the first episode. With Rick doing stand-up, then having comedians do a short set and then talk to him afterwards has a very late-night feel.
SB: I’m obsessed with Rick Mercer. I was a fan of him from Talking to Americans and from his initial rise in Canada. And then I was on tour with him with this JFL tour, which I was not supposed to be on. At the time, I was living in Halifax because I was writing on This Hour Has 22 Minutes and they were just about to start this huge cross country, Rick Mercer, Comedy Night in Canada tour. Debra DiGiovanni was one of the people on it and she was having some visa issues getting back into Canada. So they were starting on the East Coast and they were like, ‘OK, who’s around the East Coast right now that could fill in for a show or two while we wait for Debra to get her paperwork?’ They called me and were like, ‘Hey, can you come babysit Debra’s spot for a couple of nights?’

I said, ‘Of course, I would love to do that. So fun.’ The producer of 22 Minutes let me go and I did first couple shows and it was great. And then Debra still didn’t have her paperwork and they’re like, ‘OK, well let’s bring you all the way through to Ontario.’ And so they brought me there and then Debra came, and they let me stay for the whole tour, with Debra, as well, obviously. Rick was hosting and it was Ali Hassan, Ivan Decker, Debra, Rick and myself. It was really just so fun and so cool.

When he got the Comedy Night in Canada show, I was really excited and it’s really cool because I just really feel like he’s the perfect person to be in a position to do sort of a comedian Letterman-style conversation. I think Canada has always really wanted something like that. I can’t think of somebody that fits the bill more than Rick.

Stream Smile, Baby now on Crave. Head to her Instagram page for tour information and tickets.

Images courtesy of Ashley Buck.

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Links: Shoresy, Season 1

From Rick Marshall of Digital Trends:

Link: How Shoresy does right by its Indigenous characters
It didn’t take long for Hulu’s Shoresy series to establish itself as more than a spinoff of Letterkenny, the long-running Canadian comedy show that introduced the titular, trash-talking hockey player played by series creator and writer Jared Keeso. Continue reading.

From Sam Stone of CBR:

Link: Shoresy’s Cast & Crew Promise a Different Kind of Comedy for Letterkenny Fans
“Jared wanted to do a hockey show, so we knew this show was going to be focused on hockey. The surprise to me when I was reading the scripts was that it had a real storyline to it. It does feel more like a movie than Letterkenny does because we’re watching a story unfold before us.” Continue reading.

From Spencer Legacy of Coming Soon:

Link: Interview: Shoresy’s Jacob Tierney, Kaniehtiio Horn, & Harlan Blayne Kytwayhat
“Coming onto Shoresy as consulting producer was really cool because I started realizing that all of this experience that I had as an actress for almost 20 years, I was exercising these other muscles now and still getting to be creative and still getting to see all of the casting, getting to help design some of the characters’ wardrobe.” Continue reading.

From Kelly Boutsalis of the Toronto Star:

Link: ‘Shoresy’ puts Indigenous characters at centre ice
“Shoresy,” the much-anticipated “Letterkenny” spinoff, is first and foremost a love letter to scrappy minor league hockey teams and it is also rich with Indigenous representation. Continue reading.

From Sean Fitz-Gerald of The Athletic:

Link: What ‘Letterkenny’ and its new spinoff ‘Shoresy’ have to say about hockey: ‘It’s observational’
Over a six-episode arc, the new show spotlights a minor supporting character from the original, a foul-mouthed, stick-swinging, trash-talking hockey player known as Shoresy. His cameo appearances in the first series were generally limited to searing verbal attacks on teammates and opponents who entered his orbit. Continue reading.

From Mia Jensen of The Sudbury Star:

Link: ‘Letterkenny spinoff ‘Shoresy’ makes Sudbury one of its characters
But Sudburians who have never seen or even heard of “Letterkenny” or its new sibling will likely recognize something else — the logo of their most popular local hockey team, the Sudbury Wolves, at centre ice beneath the players’ skates. Continue reading.

From Lyndsay Aelick of CTV Northern Ontario:

Link: Letterkenny spinoff Shoresy embraces everything about Sudbury
From Sudbury Arena to the Colson, from the Laughing Buddha to Peppi Panini, a new TV series debuting this week has a lot of Sudbury. Shoresy was not only filmed in the Nickel City, the series embraces all things about Sudbury. Continue reading.

From Sean Loughran of the Daily Hive:

Link: There’s a hockey show in town: Tasya Teles talks Letterkenny spinoff Shoresy
“I was really nervous for a bit because it’s such a different tone to what I’m used to. Jared [Keeso] and Jacob [Tierney] are so good at what they do, and they have such a well-oiled machine. With all their experience from Letterkenny, they made it really easy for us. I saw a few episodes, and they are awesome. It’s great to be in comedy.” Continue reading.

From Bridget Liszewski of The TV Junkies:

Link: Tasya Teles’ Nat is ready to go head to head with Shoresy
“I was already definitely a big fan. I had been watching Letterkenny since the beginning. When I heard about Shoresy I went back and rewatched everything and revisited it. I rediscovered the brilliance of the comedy and it amped me up even more than I already was.” Continue reading.

From Melissa Hank of Postmedia:

Link: Stars of Letterkenny spinoff Shoresy open up
“I love the challenge of trying to wrap your mind and mouth around all of that dialogue. And Jared sets up all these great verbal things, like alliteration and where you get to hit Ts and pop Ps.” Continue reading.

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The puck drops on Crave original series Shoresy, May 13

From a media release:

Crave announced today the highly anticipated debut of SHORESY streams Friday, May 13. Created by and starring Jared Keeso, the six-episode, half-hour hockey comedy sees the foul-mouthed, chirp-serving, mother-loving, fan favourite character, Shoresy (Keeso), join the Sudbury Bulldogs of the Northern Ontario Senior Hockey Organization (The NOSHO) on a quest to never lose again.

Two new episodes of the LETTERKENNY spin-off rollout every Friday, exclusively on Crave. In the series debut, “Never Lose Again,” Shoresy tries to prevent his team from folding. The next episode, “Veteran Presence,” follows Shoresy and his new recruits attending a mixer at Nat’s, the General Manager of the Sudbury Bulldogs.

Click here for an NSFW preview.

Season 1 of SHORESY was shot on location in Sudbury. As previously announced, Hulu will be the exclusive streaming home to the debut season of SHORESY in the U.S., joining its smash-hit predecessor, LETTERKENNY, as a Hulu Original.

Developed by Bell Media for Crave, SHORESY is produced by New Metric Media, in partnership with Play Fun Games in association with Bell Media, with the participation of Canadian Media Fund, OMDC Tax Credits, and the Canadian Film or Video Production Tax Credit and the Northern Ontario Heritage Fund, and is distributed by WildBrain, New Metric Media is the exclusive sales agent. Jared Keeso is executive producer, writer, star, and creator. Jacob Tierney is executive producer and director. Kaniehtiio Horn is consulting producer. Mark Montefiore and Kara Haflidson are Executive Producers for New Metric Media.

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Principal photography begins on the Crave original series, Little Bird

From a media release:

Crave announced today, in association with Rezolution Pictures, APTN, and OP Little Bird, that production is underway on the Crave Original drama series, LITTLE BIRD. Created by showrunner Jennifer Podemski (UNSETTLED) and head writer Hannah Moscovitch (X COMPANY), the six-part, one-hour limited series follows an Indigenous woman on a journey to find her birth family, and uncover the hidden truth of her past. The series will be available to audiences in English and French, and Fremantle will handle international distribution.

The character-driven drama features an extraordinary cast of Indigenous actors, led by newcomer Darla Contois (Dhaliwal ’15) along with: Ellyn Jade (LETTERKENNY); Osawa Muskwa (World Ends at Camp Z); Joshua Odjick (The Swarm); Imajyn Cardinal (TRIBAL); Mathew Strongeagle (BLACKSTONE); Eric Schweig (BLACKSTONE); and Michelle Thrush (Bones of Crows).

Award-winning filmmakers Elle-Máijá Tailfeathers (The Body Remembers When the World Broke Open) and Zoe Hopkins (Run Woman Run) each direct three episodes, while Hopkins writes three of the episodes.

LITTLE BIRD explores themes of resilience in the face of trauma and loss. Removed from her home in Long Pine Reserve in Saskatchewan, Bezhig Little Bird is adopted into a Montréal Jewish family at the age of five, becoming Esther Rosenblum (Contois). Now in her 20s, Bezhig longs for the family she lost and is willing to sacrifice everything to find them. Her quest lands her in the Canadian prairies, worlds apart from everything she knows. As she begins to track down her siblings, she unravels the mystery behind her adoption, and discovers that her apprehension was connected to a racist government policy now known as the Sixties Scoop. Bezhig’s sense of identity shatters and she is forced to reckon with who she is and who she wants to become.

The production of LITTLE BIRD features a training program that includes opportunities for emerging and mid-career level Indigenous creators and crew as well as for entry-level individuals to gain practical on-set experience leading to subsequent employment in the industry. Built with the understanding that training, skill building, and professional development are integral to building capacity and sustainability in the Indigenous screen sector, the program, is made possible via partnerships with the Indigenous Screen Office, Bell Media, REEL Canada, DGC, DGC Manitoba, and IATSE 856.

LITTLE BIRD is a co-production from Bell Media’s Crave and APTN, produced by Rezolution Pictures and OP Little Bird with the participation of the Canada Media Fund (CMF) and Manitoba Film and Music. Fremantle International is the distributor for the series. Led by an Indigenous creative team, LITTLE BIRD is developed by showrunner Jennifer Podemski and Rezolution Pictures, and created by Podemski and head writer Hannah Moscovitch. The series is executive produced by Ernest Webb, Catherine Bainbridge, Christina Fon, Linda Ludwick (Rezolution Pictures), Kim Todd, Nicholas Hirst (Original Pictures), Jeremy Podeswa, Jennifer Podemski, and Hannah Moscovitch, along with Christian Vesper and Dante Di Loreto (Fremantle). Producers are Tanya Brunel and Jessica Dunn (OP Little Bird), Philippe Chabot (Rezolution Pictures) and Ellen Rutter.

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All-new Crave original series, We’re All Gonna Die (even Jay Baruchel), premieres April 30

From a media release:

Death is certain. What isn’t certain is how — or if — the human species will perish entirely, and what humanity will do to cope or even thrive in the face of catastrophic threats. In an attempt to explore this complex existential crisis, Crave announced today that its new original series WE’RE ALL GONNA DIE (EVEN JAY BARUCHEL) is available for streaming on Crave on Saturday, April 30 in English and French. Hosted by Canadian actor, director, and author Jay Baruchel (Goon, This Is The End), the half-hour, six-part series is a smart, tongue-in-cheek look at the end of the world, which draws together science, psychology, pop culture, and philosophy.

A teaser trailer for WE’RE ALL GONNA DIE debuted during last night’s 94th OSCARS® broadcast coverage on CTV. Also revealed today are first-look images from the new series.

In each episode, Baruchel meets his fascination with the apocalypse head-on, as he explores, from a place of genuine curiosity and wonder, various ways humanity could possibly meet its doom including; an asteroid Armageddon; a nuclear catastrophe; a pandemic pandemonium; an alien invasion; a volcanic cataclysm; and a climate apocalypse. Featuring some of the top scientists, activists, and experts in their respective fields, and highlighting the cutting-edge science, ideas, and technological innovations at the forefront of the defense of humanity, the series is suffused with the ultimate hope that humankind can come together to make the world a better place.

Episodic synopses for this ‘killer’ series are outlined below:

Episode 1 – Asteroid Armageddon
Could an asteroid destroy the world? Jay meets with experts including the Planetary Defense Officer at NASA to find out if “we’re all gonna die”.

Episode 2 – Nuclear Catastrophe
Jay learns that, far from being a relic of the Cold War, nuclear Armageddon is as big a threat as ever.

Episode 3 – Pandemic Pandemonium
During the COVID-19 pandemic, Jay tackles the existential threat of disease, while considering the added danger of human-made viruses.

Episode 4 – Alien Invasion
Jay believes that aliens are out there, watching us at the very least. But do they pose a threat? (Maybe!)

Episode 5 – Volcanic Cataclysm
Jay learns about a surprising threat. Supervolcanoes are often overlooked, but when they erupt, they will change the Earth’s climate.

Episode 6 – Climate Apocalypse
Jay explores the emergency that is climate change, and considers what we can do, as a species, to save ourselves from… ourselves.

WE’RE ALL GONNA DIE is produced by 90th Parallel Productions in association with Bell Media’s Crave with the participation of the Canada Media Fund (CMF), the Government of Canada – Canadian Film or Video Production Tax Credit Program and Ontario Creates – Tax Credit Program. Written and Directed by Victoria Lean. Produced by Stuart Henderson, Victoria Lean, and Ben Travers. Jay Baruchel, Stuart Henderson, and Gordon Henderson are Executive Producers.

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