A Beginner’s Guide to “Letterkenny,” The Most Quotable Show on TV

One of the few good things to come out of quarantine was my discovery of (and now my devotion to) all things Letterkenny.

The comedy, which just launched its tenth season and is currently streaming on Hulu, isn’t for everyone. It is 1) very Canadian 2) somehow unapologetically raw and highly progressive at the same time and 3) full of fast-firing, rhythmic dialogue that occasionally calls for the help of subtitles.

Originated from a YouTube web series, Letterkenny follows the residents of a rural northern town of 5,000, where most residents fall into one of three categories (hiccups, skids, and hockey players). Not much happens: The synopsis for this season’s third episode, “Dyck Meat,” simply read: “The hicks attend a sausage party. The hockey players and skids have a video game battle.”

[The Dycks here are a Mennonite family. Every single sentence uttered by patriarch Noah Dyke is a wildly inappropriate double entendre.]

The “main characters” in Letterkenny are Wayne (Jared Keeso, the series’ executive producer, creator and co-writer… and the man who will most likely be the next Wolverine if the internet has anything to say), his sister Katy and his friends Daryl and “Squirrelly” Dan, although almost all one of the dozens of characters has at some point taken a lead role.

We took a few minutes this month to chat with cast regulars Jacob Tierney (“Glen” and also executive producer/director/co-writer), K. Trevor Wilson (“Dan”) and Lisa Codrington (“Gail ‘) to talk about how a Canadian show found love in the US, whether the live version of the show will indeed reach our shores as planned this spring, and how “to be fair” became one of the show’s signature quotes.

Pitter patter, let’s get to him. [Side note: Letterkenny is also the best soundtracked show on television — season 10 has included tracks by Turnstile, Little Simz, Metronomy and Sunbeam Sound Machine]

Daryl and Squirrelly Dan from Letterkenny

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The show found its success in a really roundabout way

Originally launched on the Canadian channel Crave in 2015, Letterkenny didn’t get a proper US rollout until three years later…but it already had fans all over the world. “It was funny how people found us,” admits Wilson. “When we were just on Crave, we had fans in the States trading us like we were Japanese wrestling videos. I met a guy in Minnesota, he got CD-ROMs of the show burned by a Snowbird in Florida. We were big in the military too – we were part of the Canadian Forces homesick package. Soldiers overseas traded ribbons with other soldiers overseas. So early we ended up with fans from Australia, New Zealand and the US military.”

Like everything else, Covid affected last season

And for some of us, it’s been in a good way. “I think having nine seasons was good for some people when the quarantine kicked in,” says Tierney. Still, it turned filming on its head — seasons 10 and 11 were filmed together, and the current season 10 is just six episodes — and also forced their 2020 live tour to be cut short and postponed for this year. Hopefully. (“It’s up to Covid and the Universe if this happens,” Wilson admits.)

The actors aren’t as much like their show counterparts (which is probably for the best part)

Given the over-the-top personalities on the show, it’s probably best if none of the actors just dial in. “I’m gay in real life, and on the show Glen is engaged to a woman and a pastor, so those are two pretty big differences,” notes Tierney. And while bar owner Gail may be the boldest person…well, ever…on a TV series (“Do You Want 68? You’re Down on Me, and I Owe You One”), real-life actress Codrington admits she’s quite different is .

“The beauty of immersing yourself in a character who is very far from me,” she says. “It’s really my first time doing comedy. I’ve always played dramatic roles, like kids falling into fountains.” If that career arc sounds odd, Wilson supports it: “As an actor, you get oddly typecast in Canada. As a teenager, I was always called the guy who teases disabled kids.”

“To be fair” and the show’s other memorable lines can be a curse

Without ruining too much, there are a few repeated lines in the show, the most memorable of which is an over-the-top haughty “to be fair.” Tierney says, “It started with Jared making fun of me for saying ‘to be fair,’ so now I really can’t say it at all.”

Wilson, whose character randomly adds “s” to random words, has it a little better. “‘I guess’ is the one that comes back to me,” he says. “And that’s a step up because when people knew me from standup, they used to yell ‘penis’ at me.”

The show really has the most amazing dialogue

Pick a favorite quote Letterkenny is impossible. But here are five:

  • “Well, there’s nothing better than a fart. Except maybe kids falling off their bikes. F-ck, I could watch kids fall off bikes all day, I don’t give a shit about your kids.”
  • “We only have one chance here. A chance. A victory. You know? Vomit on your mom’s spaghetti or whatever this talking singer says.
  • “I see the muscle shirt came today. Muscles coming tomorrow?”
  • “Your mom just liked my Instagram post from 2 years ago in Puerto Vallarta. Tell her I’ll put my swim trunks on her whenever she wants.”
  • “What’s up with your body hair, your big bangs? You look like a 12-year-old Dutch girl.”

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