The Drunk and On Drugs Happy Funtime Hour (Anchor Bay Entertainment Canada)


They may tour the world as their Trailer Park Boys alter-egos and seemingly do everything together professionally, but that does not mean that John Paul Tremblay, Robb Wells, and Mike Smith are actually best friends.

“For me it’s just a business thing,” deadpans Smith. “I can’t stand these guys, and I don’t actually hang out with them. I think they’re dicks.”

Smith is kidding, probably. Certainly the trio, although tired, seem amiable enough during a recent Toronto press stop to promote The Drunk and On Drugs Happy Funtime Hour. Shot in Nova Scotia over six weeks back in 2009, the six-part variety series, which premiered on the Action network back in 2011, has been re-edited into a feature which Anchor Bay is releasing on DVD today (February 12).
 

Playing fictionalized versions of themselves, the boys have been given $15-million by their executive producer Katherine “K” Money (Amy Sedaris, TV’s The Good Wife) to put together a TV show. Unfortunately their efforts are sabotaged by Dr. Funtime (the late Maury Chaykin), a mad scientist who has drugged the entire town of Port Cockerton with a blue-tinged hallucinogen which causes everyone to think that they are, in fact, their characters in the show. Throw in a rapist Bigfoot, a trio of gay radio DJs, a dysfunctional family of mobsters, and you have a show that channels the boys’ love of Monty Python and Kids in the Hall.
 

Most of the Funtime Hour was thought up while the trio were on tour together, says Wells.


“We’d spend so much time on the tour bus together, travelling from venue to venue, that we came up with the whole concept basically on tour, and it was pretty ambitious. But the main thing was to have fun. We wanted to have fun. We told everybody on set ‘we’re going to have to have fun doing this, because it’s such an ambitious project that we have to maintain the fun part of this whole thing.’”

Smith says that they succeeded on that count, although their crew was not always certain that what they were working on was not a complete disaster.

“We shot stuff out of order so they didn’t quite know exactly what was going on. I think they thought we were nuts. It’s one of those scripts where if you are shooting it out of sync and you haven’t read all the scripts, you definitely cannot just piece together what’s going on.”

Although originally conceived as a kids show that went “horribly wrong” (Wells’ words), the Funtime Hour is chock-full of sex, violence, profanity, and the kind of surreal humour that would make most network censors wince. Hence the inspiration for Wells, Tremblay and Smith’s next project: Swearnet. A multi-media venture, Swearnet will consist of a website (Swearnet.com) which will serve as the boys’ online portal for all their creative endeavours going forward (including, yes, new Trailer Park Boys stuff), and a movie, Swearnet: The Movie, scheduled to come out this August. The movie sees the boys, basically playing themselves, deciding to launch their own Internet station, free from the restrictions of network television. The whole thing launches March 9 with a live online live pay-per-view event at Swearnet.com, complete with cameos from their TPB characters Ricky, Julian and Bubbles.

“It’s just a matter of adapting,” says Tremblay of their new way of working. “There’s not a lot of money, obviously, so people are pirating DVDs and TV shows and that sort of thing. So it’s either you do a live show and make some money off of that, or with our new website we are starting up, if you want to see some new content, you have to become a member of the website. I think that’s the future. It’s good for everybody. Everyone gets paid; people get to watch what they want for a monthly fee.”

In addition, a third Trailer Park Boys movie, which the boys did not have a hand in writing this time, is planned. Series creator Mike Clattenburg has once again been enlisted to direct, and production is scheduled to start in March.

The trio also continues to tour successfully as their TPB characters Ricky (Wells), Julian (Tremblay) and Bubbles (Smith), with their “Community Service Variety Show” selling out the 3,500-seat Chicago Theatre last December and sold-out shows coming up in Dublin, Ireland, and London, England this May.

“It’s actually just getting bigger now,” says Smith of their TPB legacy. “It’s just starting to catch on in the US and some of these other countries around the world, because of Netflix and things like that.”

Are they ever surprised to find that they have pockets of fans in countries they did not expect?

Says Smith: “Well, we haven’t been there yet, but a buddy of mine is the Consulate General in Thailand for Canada, and they just busted up a DVD bootlegging ring over there. And he sent me a picture of this big pile of Trailer Park Boys DVDs that they were selling at the street corners in Thailand, which is bizarre.”


Drunk and On Drugs Happy Funtime is available in stores now.