September 2, 2008
How did CTV take the news that you wanted to end your hit series Corner Gas after six seasons?
When I went to the president of the network he said, “You gotta think this over.” I said, “Do you think I just thought of this on the bus?” Like, “Since I’m downtown, why don’t I drop by and talk about, oh, I dunno, ending Corner Gas” or something? Believe me, I’ve given it many hours of thought. I forced myself to question myself and play devil’s advocate. And at no moment have I ever thought this might not be right.
There must have been a sense of responsibility— to cast, crew, even to the province of Saskatchewan. You think about those things, but at the end of the day you can’t not do what’s right because of some perceived obligation. I never promised anybody a living. Rouleau, Saskatchewan, existed before Corner Gas and it’ll just have to keep on existing after Corner Gas.
Is the fan reaction different there than here?
I think Vancouver has the lowest per capita TV viewership in Canada. It’s not a big TV-watching place.
Seasons 1 and 2 there was a noticeable difference. Walking down the street in Winnipeg or Calgary, it was a big deal. In Vancouver, it was like, every now and then somebody might recognize you.
Did that bother you?
Not at all. It was kind of cool. I could just live my life. In Vancouver, the comment you’d get from people is, “Oh, you’re on Corner Gas. I hear it’s terrific.” Then, around Season 3, I guess they heard about it enough that they started to watch it.
You were a successful comedian before the show. Will you distance yourself from your character now?
Yeah, but people are going to think what they think. You’d have to bend over backward to change your image. I’d have to create a new persona. The biggest difference between Brent Leroy and Brent Butt is Brent Butt wears a square watch and Brent Leroy wears a round watch. Other than that, they’re kind of the same.
You had something like 1.5 million viewers a week. The show could have run forever.
Well, it could have walked forever. But it’s kind of like doing 45 minutes of standup. You can leave now and everybody’ll be happy. Or stay another 15 minutes and watch people start reaching for their coats.—Guy MacPherson