Jonathan Torrens wears his patriotism on his sleeve. Want proof? In addition to co-hosting a podcast with former Our Lady Peace drummer Jeremy Taggart called Canadianity (a book is on the way this fall), heâ€™s hosting a Canada Day special where he does maple syrup shots and jumps into a massive butter tart.
Your Special Canada starring Jonathan Torrensâ€”debuting Sunday at 9 p.m. on CBC and repeating July 1 at 7 p.m. â€”is an entertaining and ingenious hour featuring Torrens playing himself and memorable characters like Slappy the Trivia Beaver and cross-dresser Sindy Crosby. A combination of online bits heâ€™d already done for the networkâ€™s comedy portal were strung together with original content filmed in Torrensâ€™ birthplace, Charlottetown. The celebration begins with a Sir John A. MacDonald re-enactor sniffing that everything has been done with regard to Canada Day television specials; Torrens aims to prove him wrong.
â€œThe first is with The Taters of Conspuderation, a diorama with potatoes dressed as the Fathers of Confederation,â€ he says on the line from his home in Nova Scotia. â€œThe second is â€˜Jonath-Anne of Green Gables,â€™ a one-man show in which I play both roles, and my big finale is jumping into a big butter tart.â€ It took a few days for producer and star Torrensâ€”along with writer-producer-director Richard Mortimer, producer Lynn Harvey and writers Paul Pogue and Steve Dylanâ€”to suss out the content surrounding the existing skits; the result is a variety show with a Canadian angle.
There are plenty of outlandish moments in Your Special Canadaâ€”Torrens dons a beaver suit and slaps folks in the face with a whipped-cream-laden beavertail when they get trivia questions wrong, and has Zamboni drivers compete in an obstacle courseâ€”but there are goosebump-inducing ones too. Case in point: Torrens delivers a heartfelt take on Alanis Morrisetteâ€™s â€œThank Youâ€ to this country and flies to Canadian Forces Station Alert in Nunavut to deliver maple syrup, Canadian flag toques and good feelings to soldiers stationed there.
â€œMy challenge in Alert was to keep it together and not cry on camera,â€ the Mr. D co-star admits. â€œFirst of all, the sacrifices that they make for our country are enormous. Secondly, the universal feeling of the folks is that itâ€™s an honour to be posted there and theyâ€™re happy to be there.â€
â€œIt just makes you realize that making funny faces on the TV â€¦ there is no merit in that compared to what these people are doing.”
Your Special Canada starring Jonathan Torrens airs Sunday at 9 p.m. on CBC. It repeats on Saturday, July 1, at 7 p.m. on CBC.