I’m going to tie Nietzsche and Trailer Park Boys together, ready for this?
Friedrich Nietzsche said, “Perhaps I know best why it is man alone who laughs; he alone suffers so deeply that he had to invent laughter.” Jack Handey from Saturday Night Live once said, “Dad always thought laughter was the best medicine, which I guess is why several of us died of tuberculosis.”
Funny is funny. Soap is to the body what laughter is for the soul. My entire life has been not only devoted to making myself and others laugh… but in fact, is a joke in itself. Comedy became like medicine to me the moment I saw Blazing Saddles as a kid. In the 25 years since then I’ve seen what I consider to be a treasure trove of frakin funny. So when my good friend Evan told me to “check out” The Trailer Park Boys, I took it to heart. After all, the man had only 9 months ago introduced my to Kenny Vs Spenny, and my life was changed forever.
“What is Kenny Vs Spenny” you ask? Well I’ll tell you. It’s the funniest goddamn thing I’ve ever seen in my life. Until my good friend Evan said “check out” The Trailer Park Boys. Kenny is a maniacal, sarcastic, borderline sociopath who lives to drive his roommate, and competitor, Spenny, to the edge of madness- and beyond… Spenny is a sympathetic, emotional, and extremely sensitive person… a chump. The premise of the series is that each episode is a competition that they hold (such as “Who can sit on a cow the longest,” or “First one to be mean loses”), and whoever loses has to perform a “humiliation.” This might sound like something inane, however, this proves to be one of the best premises ever thought up by two guys. If you have a chance, you can catch episodes of Kenny vs Spenny on Showcases’s site, including the iconic “Who Can Smoke More Weed?” episode. (I was having trouble with Showcase’s stream, but I have watched many episodes here on shocase.ca) You can also catch Kenny Vs. Spenny on Netflix.
Alas, the real reason why I’ve started this ramble is to tell you about Trailer Park Boys. Over 15 years ago, Mike Clattenburg made One Last Shot, a documentary-style comedy about two small time crooks named Julian and Ricky. Robb Wells and John Paul Tremblay starred in this Nova Scotia-based comedy that was the basis for the series Trailer Park Boys. Basically, it’s a mockumentary that follows Julian (Wells), Ricky (Tremblay), and Bubbles (Mike Smith) in their day-to-day lives. It might not sound like much on the surface, but dive in, and there’s one of the guiltiest pleasures you’ll ever laugh hysterically to.
You see, Julian is a hardcore, small-time crook who is never seen (I repeat NEVER SEEN) without a rum and coke in his hand. He spends Christmas stealing presents out of trunks, and the rest of the year trying to (usually) sell pot. Where does he get the pot? Well that’s where Ricky comes in. Ricky is a 30 year-old guy with a daughter who lives with her mom in a trailer nearby, and who sleeps in his car. Many classic slapstick moments involve Ricky’s post-barbecue (or any meal) clean up, when Ricky usually leaves appliances and food spread all over the roof and hood of his car… Ricky grabs the nearest hockey stick and sweeps everything off the side of the car onto the ground, then gets in and drives away. Finally there’s Bubbles, a guy who lives with his 20+ cats in a shed next to Julian’s trailer. Bubbles wears huge, Coke-bottle glasses and Mike Smith gives him the funniest growling voice. Oh and keep in mind we’re set in Sunnyvale Trailer Park, in Nova Scotia, where the accents alone are enough to send you into giggle fits the way these guys deliver them.
So the boys are always scamming get-rich-quick schemes, usually involving a large amount of marijuana, and the seasons are more often than not set up like so: Ricky and Julian get out of prison, get a good start with living a simple life, then get mixed up in all kinds of illegal activities, and by the end of each season… [NOT SO SPOILER ALERT] they end up back in jail again… All because of the exploits of one Mr. Jim Lahey, trailer park supervisor, and his cheeseburger-addicted male lover Randy (who never wears a shirt). You see, Mr Lahey is a drunk, and John Dunsworth does one of the best drunk impressions I’ve ever seen.
Mr. Lahey and Randy stumble and bumble through their “policing” of the neighborhood like a modern day Cluseau of the trailer park. More often than not a gunfight will break out for usually no reason, and Ricky is always the one catching all the lead. Even once from his 6 year old daughter who later called him on the telephone:
“Hello? Oh hi Trinity. No don’t worry, daddy’s gettin the bullet taken ooot right now… Wait a minute, Trinity why are you talking so funny? Ah man, Goddamnit Trinity, well don’t drink any more ok?” Click.
It’s jokes like this, and brilliant acting from the solid cast, that really propels Trailer Park Boys into the heights of comedy as I see it. It’s not the highest-brow, and it will never win any awards, but where else can you get Sebastian Bach from Skid Row to drop the F bomb in front of a bunch of kids at a model train show, then lose it… only to later be smoking in the parking lot with the Boys? Where else can you get Ricky and his estranged wife Lucy driving off on drunkenly romantic “bang trips” behind the (enter abandoned business or warehouse name here). Or the likes of the resident park rapper, J-Rock? The whitest white-boy (named Jamie) of them all underneath… whose skills by the end of the series actually skyrocket!
There’s enough stuff in the 7 seasons and 3 movies made to keep you laughing for weeks. It got us through the long winter, and I offer it to you to spice up your summer life. Trailer Park Boys is available on Netflix Streaming, all seasons of it. It’s also available at Showcases’s website here (again, if the link is acting up, I apologize ahead of time and I don’t know what is up with it if it doesn’t work for you, sorry! 🙂 )