Ten seasons later, “Letterkenny” still hasn’t found a character it can’t make fun of.
The cult-favorite comedy, which recently returned to Hulu, flourished first as a YouTube series and then on video streaming platform Crackle as a witty, tongue-in-cheek slice-of-life story. faster than a small Canadian town of 5,000 people where everyone knows everything.
“It’s shameless himself,” K. Trevor Wilson, the 40-year-old stand-up comedian who plays Squirrely Dan. “It’s not trying to be just any other show. It does not bend or flow with trends. It is what it is.”
What it is is a look at the people who get by: hicks (farmers), hockey players, skids (druggies) and reservation natives up the road .
In the center are Wayne (creator Jared Keeso), his sister Katy (Michelle Mylett) and two best friends, Squirrely Dan (Wilson) and Dary (Nathan Dales). During big chunks of episodes, they sit outside at their fruit stand, on wooden crates and a beach lounger, talking.
“It’s small town life. It’s that ungiven (expletive) energy,” Mylett, 32, said.
“People are roasting. They can’t take themselves too seriously because if they do, they’ll get toasted even more. But at the same time, there’s this unwritten code of ethics in this little community: you don’t kick someone when they’re down.
Usually the bad guys come from outside Letterkenny — like their French-speaking Quebec lookalikes who ruin a fishing trip, or Katy’s slimy ex-boyfriend.
Residents of Letterkenny – which is based on Keeso’s hometown of Listowel, Ontario – have a sense of loyalty, even when driving each other crazy.
“Letterkenny” is in good spirits. Even the cruelest jokes are well-meaning, intended only for subjects who can’t just take it but return it just as well.
Each season, Mylett joked, Keeso and co-creator Jacob Tierney try to fill out the latest with faster-paced jokes, wordier tongue twisters and darker references to Canada’s backcountry.
The cold openings take on a “Game of Thrones”-themed rap, a litany of wrestling references, the worst use of the word “wet” and how disgusting the urinals at the local bar are.
Some of the most confusing language of all comes from dummy hockey players, Reilly (Dylan Playfair) and Jonesy (Andrew Herr).
More often than not, they forget which is which and which girl they are supposed to woo. It takes a lot of rehearsals, Herr said, throwing their ridiculous, quick slang back and forth.
On set the day after an awards show several seasons ago, Herr said, he and Playfair were slower than usual, which interrupted the fast-paced dialogue. When they can’t keep up, everyone notices.
Wilson gave up on memorizing his lines, due to Keeso’s tendency to change or even throw away his own scripts right before filming. Now, he laughs, he’s just learning “the gist” of the scene and awaiting the final version of his speeches.
Above all, “Letterkenny” only tells simple stories about the simple inhabitants of a simple town.
“You roast the ones you love,” Wilson said. “That’s part of the joy, and it’s something you have to do in comedy: you have to take a few pegs apart before you take anything else apart.”