Tag Archives: Steve Patterson

Steve Patterson takes on late-night (sort of) with The Smartass-ociates

“People still want Canada to have a late-night Tonight Show type broadcast, but I’m not interested in doing that,” Steve Patterson says. “I would be more interested in doing a show where you actually learn something while you’re watching.” He’s got it with The Smartass-ociates,
Patterson’s newest project currently streaming on CBC’s website.

Patterson has been told for years that he should be doing a  late-night program but balked. That’s understandable. Mike Bullard tried to do it a couple of times with a certain amount of success, but Canadians never really supported a homegrown take on the U.S. late-night model. It wasn’t until The Colbert Report came along that Patterson saw something that would work here: a show where he could interview somebody with something to say other than the entertainment project they’re working on. Enter The Smartass-ociates, a co-production with Mountain Road Productions—who worked with Patterson on I Wrecked My House—where experts in different areas are paired with a comic to sit down to discuss various topics with Patterson as host and moderator.

Filmed last year in Ottawa, Season 1 guests pull from a wide range of interests. Episode 1, for instance, features the Honourable Lisa Raitt and comedian DeAnne Smith discussing the U.S. election and the difference between Canadian and American politics. Episode 6 boasts Olympic speed skater—and gold medal winner—Ivanie Blondin and comic Dave Hemstad discussing misogyny in sports coverage of female Olympic athletes. Rather than debating topics—something Patterson has nailed on The Debaters—these are frank conversations that educate as much as entertain. Blondin, in particular, stood out to me for her thoughtful first-hand account of misogyny, and her humour.

“She turned out to be one of our best guests and was one of our last bookings,” Patterson says with a laugh. “She was so honest about everything. I wouldn’t make it a habit of telling the rival of a guest to go f–k themselves, but it came about very organically.”

With Season 1 currently available online, Patterson’s ultimate goal is to have The Smartass-
 become a weekly television series on CBC where he discusses current topics, similar to John Oliver’s Last Week Tonight. Ideally, he wants to do it within this calendar year.

“I want to get into the meat of news topics with people and introduce Canada to as many of my funny Canadian friends as possible,” he says. “Let’s learn something and let’s laugh while we’re learning. Let’s prove what comedians have to offer when they literally come to the table on some of these topics.”

Watch Season 1 of The Smartass-ociates on CBC’s website.


Comedian Steve Patterson aims for laughs in HGTV’s latest reno show

It takes just a few minutes for one to realize that Steve Patterson was hired to host I Wrecked My House—debuting Tuesday on HGTV—because he’s funny and not for his home renovating skills. Why? He almost put an eye out swinging an axe at a run-down kitchen cabinet.

“That was almost the shortest run of any hosting job,” Patterson says with a laugh on the phone from Ottawa. “The crew told me that it was plexiglass and wouldn’t shatter. Somehow I shattered it and it flew back in my face. Fortunately, I was wearing safety goggles or I would have been doing the rest of the show with an eyepatch.”

Patterson, veteran comic and host of CBC’s The Debaters, was hired on by Ottawa’s Mountain Road Productions to host a comedy series for HGTV that had an element of home renovation to it. The hook? While the series would showcase homeowners who tried—and failed—to pull off their own DIY projects, humour rather than meanspiritedness would be the order of the day. That’s precisely what you get in Tuesday’s debut, when Patterson visits homeowner Tim and his family in Port Colborne, Ont. A gaping hole in a kitchen allows one to peer up into the second-floor bathroom, a half-door lets someone cooking at the store talk to the person in the main-floor loo and lengths of wood clutter the main entryway.

“It was important to everyone involved that we focus on the humour,” Patterson explains. “We cast people that had a sense of humour about themselves and the work that they had done. Or hadn’t done.” For most people, a fairly simply renovation can balloon out of proportion. Throw in the daily challenges of life, work and a family and before you know it, that weekend project has stretched out for months. Or years.

Filming for the first season took place largely around Southern Ontario during one of the most brutal winters on record. Patterson admits he did the least amount of work on the project because of his touring schedule—his I Laugh Therefore I Think spring tour resumes in a few weeks—and praises contractor Dave Rannala and his small squad who turned what usually takes months of renovating into days in order to keep the production hours tight.

It was very much a guerrilla-style of filming, with everyone helping each other to get shows in the can; one crew member, Andrew, is a carpenter who helped with the demo, the film crew and was the show’s unit photographer. They all worked hard to get the jobs done and create a program that not only fixes bad builds but celebrates family.

“This is going to sound corny, but what makes a home is the couple,” Patterson says. “It could easily be an overbearing spouse complaining, but it’s never about that. They have appreciated the effort the person put in and you laugh it off because there’s love in the home that allows you to do that.”

I Wrecked My House airs Tuesdays at 10 p.m. ET on HGTV.