As the 10th season of Canada’s Letterkenny catches us all up on the latest rural hijinx of the hicks, the jocks, and the skids, the crew behind the popular comedy also just announced a touring version of the show—a 90-minute experience called “Letterkenny Live!” featuring nine cast favorites wielding their wicked and wacky wordplay in person on stage.
When it comes to unique television, Letterkenny is truly in a class by itself. It’s easy to see how a stage version would totally work. It has a sketch show-like quality, even if it is a proper situational comedy. It’s also a quirky character study, with individual arcs and a loose but consistent narrative that’s evolved as the years have gone by.
Originating as a YouTube series called Letterkenny Problems, the show (now on Hulu in the U.S. and Crave TV in Canada) opens mostly the same way, with creator Jared Keeso (Wayne) standing or sitting with his pals musing about life or busting each other’s balls. Often, the chats and stories concern small-town gossip and troubles. As the intro, explains, “There are 5,000 people in Letterkenny. These are their problems.”
Beyond the storylines, it’s a show about language, with dialogue so droll and deliriously wise-cracky, you’re likely to be hitting the rewind button on your remote more than once to figure out what the hell the characters are actually saying half the time. When you do, you’ll understand the true brilliance of the banter, which pulls from pop culture (American and Canuckian), sexual innuendo, and straight-up smut, with glorious sprinkles of alliteration, accents and enunciations, puns and made-up phrases and lingo. It all makes sense contextually within the show’s deadpan conversations, even when it doesn’t by dictionary standards.
It’s a credit to the talented cast that the catch and throw-like speaking flow works, and that every word of dialog comes from Keeso’s slang and quip-cluttered scripts, not improvisation, though there is room for that at the end of takes sometimes. We learned this and much more after talking to the farmers [aka hicks] Nathan Dales (Daryl) and Michelle Mylett (Katy) as well as the druggies [aka skids] Tyler Johnston (Stewart) and Evan Stern (Roald), alongside local swinger Mrs. McMurray (Melanie Scrofano).
Everyone also discussed how they go about memorizing the massive amount of tongue-twisting dialog each episode. Other topics covered include the decade-old show’s reflection of real-life small-towners, its progressive representation of sex and sexual fluidity, and the fervency of its followers. As a casual fan we enjoy the repartee even if we don’t observe storylines too closely, but hardcore Kenny-heads know the history and dynamics of each character inside and out. Either way, it was cool and strange to hear everyone speak, ya know, normally. We’re embedding the interviews so you can too.
Letterkenny (season 10) is streaming now in the U.S. on Hulu.