Canadian comedy legend Brent Butt will be performing in Cranbrook on Tuesday, February 20 at the Key City Theatre, and it just so happens to coincide with two big milestones for him: February 2018 marks 30 years working as a standup comedian, and he is just months away from relaunching the iconic show Corner Gas, which is being given new life as an animated series.
“It’s very exciting,” said Butt in a phone chat with the Townsman. “You know when we first started the process and kind of figuring out how to do it and building the whole thing it was very surreal, because you’re turning a world that was real into something that’s drawn and people that were real, you’re turning them into something that’s drawn. There’s a very surreal, weird element to it.”
The animated series will see a return from all the original actors, with the exception of Janet Wright who passed away in 2016. Butt said that it’s great to be back in a writing room again.
“I love to be sitting around with other comics and writers and funny people trying to build a story and making each other laugh, that’s always a blast.”
While the process is a lot of fun for the Tisdale, Saskatchewan native, he also acknowledged how much work goes into it, and how challenging balancing touring as a comedian and doing production duties for the new series.
“Once you get into it though it’s just a matter of putting your head down and pedalling. And you gotta meet deadlines, and you gotta pound stuff out and it’s a known entity, you know. Corner Gas is something that people know and like and so you want to make sure that you honour that and don’t go too crazy.”
He said that the show translated well into animation and that it has allowed for doing more fantasy sequences and other bigger things that just weren’t possible in a live-action format.
The unprecedented success of the original series elevated Butt’s career to new levels, affording him opportunities to branch into film, and giving his live performances the ability to draw large crowds when he tours. For him, standup is what started everything, and he said that it would be great if the animated series lives on for decades but added:
“I’m always going to do standup no matter what, even if it’s just me cracking jokes to my dog in the backyard.”
In terms of what you can expect from his performance in Cranbrook, Butt said that 99 per cent of what he does on stage would be appropriate for prime time, network television. However, he said that it’s basically impossible to gauge exactly what people will be offended by, adding that he’s had people storm up to him after a show irate because they were offended that he said “oh my god” or “what the hell” in his act.
“I just came to realize a long time ago that I have no way of telling whether you’re going to be offended or not. I always say, well are you a lunatic or not? How sensitive are you? I have no idea how sensitive you are. So how can I say whether you’re going to be offended or not?”
But he added:
“I don’t go out of my way to try and offend people. And listen, if you hear something that does offend you, just roll with it, relax. Nobody promised you you’d be able to go through life without getting offended. I’m offended 50 times a day by what I see going on in the world, so we all get offended. Don’t storm up in a huff just roll with it.”
Butt is touring with his long time partner in comedy and one of his closest friends Jamie Hutchinson, who he described as razor sharp, quick witted and hilarious. They met at a comedy club in the 1980s and soon were booked on a tour together, which served as the impetus of their friendship.
With the 30 year milestone freshly under his belt, Butt still loves touring just as much, but he tends to fly more these, and stay in better hotels.
“I love going on the road, I always have, even at it’s greasiest and clunkiest, when we were staying in the worst dumps across the Trans Canada Highway. The whole while I was doing it I was like, ‘man I’m living it, I’m living my dream, this is what I wanted to do.’”
Tickets for this performance can be purchased here or by calling 250-426-7006. See first hand what has made this comedian so successful for all these years.
“I didn’t know to what degree I would have any success but for me the thing was make a living as a comedian that was it for me, everything beyond that has been gravy.”