There is no way that "Trailer Park Boys" should have lasted this long. After 10 seasons (with an 11th due in the next few months), a dozen specials and three movies, the adventures of these characters should feel excruciatingly dull by this point. But somehow the characters have not only remained fresh, but the storylines keep escalating to a grander scale.
The show tells the gleefully profane tale of Julian, Ricky, Bubbles, Lucy, Sarah, J-Roc, Tyrone, Ray, Cory, Trevor and the many other residents of Sunnyvale Trailer Park. Most episodes involve Ricky, Julian and Bubbles trying to either make money doing something stupid and illegal, or trying to avoid being kicked out of the park by its supervisor Jim Lahey and his round and shirtless accomplice Randy.
Dunsworth and Pat Roach (who plays Randy) are touring the country for the No Pants Unpissed U.S. Tour—basically a variety show where Dunsworth and Roach do a stand-up show as Randy and Mr. Lahey. I had a chance to talk to Dunsworth over the phone and it was just as surreal as I could have hoped. They were driving from Erie, PA to Buffalo, NY and our reception was spotty at best. Apparently, Roach was driving and Dunsworth was the navigator, so I kept hearing "Randy" interject without having any clue what he was saying.
Touring as the characters has been an absolute blast for Dunsworth. "We're having a ball and we're so happy people come to our show and laugh and have a good time," says Dunsworth. "I'm 70 years old. I wouldn't mind playing him 'til I'm 90. I think Lahey should eventually be President of the United States. Randy can be VP." (But the characters are Canadians, mind you...)
It's easy to get caught up on how great the characters of Bubbles, Julian and Ricky are, but John Dunsworth's performance as the drunken and insane Mr. Lahey is the secret weapon of the show. He manages to find so many different notes of pathos and sadness to the character, all while remaining consistently hilarious throughout.
Dunsworth might disagree about the depth of Lahey, though. "Some people import motivations to the guy that I don't know are there," he says. "I mean I like to make up a little history about who he was, but it's mostly my history that I put in and layer on top of the guy."
His range, however, is undeniable. "I've done Shakespeare. One of my favorite characters I've played was Shylock in 'The Merchant of Venice.' I like comedy, but I like serious drama as well. I taught at university, and I still teach every once and a while. I'm a teacher for people who want to improve their technique. I consider myself a good drama teacher because I don't hold back. I tell it like it is."
Dunsworth's casting as Lahey didn't give him much time to prepare—especially since he found himself without much in common with his character. "In Trailer Park Boys I play a drunk, but I don't drink," he says. "There was very little preparation for the role. I just followed the directions of Mike Clattenburg who started the whole thing. He'd say 'John, give me an eight on the drunk, two on the pathos and two on the anger,' and I'd do it. Jim Lahey is not really a deep character. I mean, I'm married for over 20 years and I've got four daughters. Treena on Trailer Park is one of my daughters. I don't have many similarities to Lahey at all. I'm heterosexual and a teetotaler, mostly. I like drugs and marijuana more than I like drinking alcohol."
His fearlessness in portraying Lahey is staggering and that doesn't even take into account how hysterically pathetic Roach portrays Randy. These two characters combined make for an extremely dysfunctional duo, which should make for a hilarious live show.
Whether there is much depth in Lahey or not, one thing is certain: he is the liquor.
Randy & Mr. Lahey Live
Monday, Oct. 3, 9pm, Domino Room, 51 NW Greenwood Ave., Bend, $27.50 adv., $33 door