Tracker Pixel for Entry

Meet Mr. Lahey… Meet John Dunsworth

by Phil Hunt | .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) | Theatre | May 27th, 2015

Villain characters from ‘Trailer Park Boys’ to perform The Aquarium

“Julian is a jerk. He's a money-hungry, narcissistic rum-swilling jerk. Ricky is dumb as a post. Bubbles is an idiot savant, a lovable character I suppose. Lucy has no morality whatsoever. Corey and Trevor are idiots!”

That quote comes from John Dunsworth, the man who plays Jim Lahey, the primary villain—or the guy who “stirs the shitpot,” to borrow one of his terms—on the TV series Trailer Park Boys.

“Lahey is one of the only characters where I've never done any deep research,” Dunsworth said. “He isn't the fool because he pays the price for his stupidity. Lahey is a pathetic character. I’ve played Shylock sympathetically. I’ve played Charles Manson sympathetically, believe it or not. I'm always looking for the humanity. With Lahey there is no humanity.”

Of course, Dunsworth is talking about the fact that Trailer Park Boys, and the character he’s best known for, appear to lack any redeeming qualities. The show, which is about to unveil its ninth season on Netflix, is focused on pathetic characters, but human beings can be pretty pathetic. The damage wrought by greed, avarice, stupidity and more are on full display in a run-down microcosm called Sunnyvale Trailer Park, and it’s extremely funny.

The series presents the story of three aforementioned anti-heroes. Julian (played by John Paul Tremblay) is the brawny brains of the Trailer Park Boys universe. He commands ridiculous criminal enterprises with one hand while balancing a glass of rum in the other. Ricky (Rob Wells) is his comically dumb friend who has a remarkable talent for growing pot and producing hash. Bubbles (Mike Smith) is a kitty-loving goofball who reluctantly gets swept up in the mayhem.

Mr. Jim Lahey, a trailer park supervisor and raging drunk, along with his pal, Randy (Patrick Roach)—a shirtless, big-bellied, burger-loving assistant trailer park supervisor—play the bad guys who try to stop the other bad guys.

The character of Lahey is the vehicle for many of the show’s most outrageous moments involving profanity, nudity, scatological philosophy and subterfuge, much of it fueled by his almost superhuman thirst for liquor. In real life, Dunsworth doesn’t even drink, but the man has elevated on-screen drunkenness into a comic art form that few can match.

“I used to be a little concerned about being a poster boy for alcoholism,” said Dunsworth. “But Mike Clattenburg said, ‘This is a story about losers.’ And people actually come up to me and tell me about how Lahey actually helped them kick their problems with alcohol, or made them laugh during a really tough time.”

In the last 15 years, the show’s popularity has grown from a raunchy, Canadian cult comedy to a worldwide cult phenomenon. There are Trailer Park Boys specials, feature films, as well as a number of touring live shows, one of which is hitting The Aquarium this Saturday.

“I have tried to figure it out,” Dunsworth said of the show’s appeal. “I can't. I ask people. They say because it's funny. I ask why. They say because it makes me laugh. My feeling is that it’s the first show that had bad language that's sort of tossed off as if it weren't. There is actually research out there that shows if you bang your head and you swear, it actually lessens the pain. You can hold your hand in a bucket of ice-cold water for 30 seconds longer if you swear. Somehow it alleviates pain. So many people have said, ‘You got me through some really tough times.’ I don’t know what you’d call it. Magic? God? Love? I don’t know!”

Trailer Park Boys fans are in for a treat on Saturday. The Randy and Lahey Show, which started 12 years ago, is described as a “a silly and drunken hour of songs and skits, audience participation, profanity, Shakespeare and general hilarity.”

“Somebody invited us out, and we cobbled a show together and it was well-received,” Dunsworth said. “Every time we do a show, we add material and fine-tune it, but we have a progression that we run through, with skits and songs and audience participation … about 30 percent of our show is off the cuff, which makes it better. When Randy goes off he's the funniest guy in the world.”

Dunsworth said variety and fast-moving acts keep audiences interested.

“When Randy and I are on the stage, we just keep it moving,” he said. “If the audience gets control it becomes a little bit of a shit-storm, but it's great when you can get it quiet, and it’s great when we get them singing in unison. Randy is so funny. I almost pee myself up there … You're flying by the seat of your pants up there and it's all up to you.”

The different live acts have been a big hit with fans. Dunsworth said Trailer Park Boys is at the point where, if they wanted to, the show could shut down and tour, though he doesn’t see Trailer Park Boys ending any time soon. A recent show in Finland sold out in 10 minutes.

Dunsworth isn’t just a Trailer Park Boys cast member. He’s a respected Canadian actor and teacher. He’s a self-described “renaissance man” who is working on a novel, paintings and more. If you can’t see the humanity in Jim Lahey, it’s certainly there in his other projects, such as his short films on YouTube. There you can watch “Get a Hobby: Work With Rocks and Cement Like John Dunsworth” or video documentary called “This Is Jim Cleveland” and get a completely different sense of the man.

For a guy who does such interesting work outside of Trailer Park Boys, does the outrageous antics of Jim Lahey ever give him pause?

“I always go for it,” Dunsworth said. “In season two of ‘Haven’ on SyFy (where Dunsworth is also a cast member), we had Ed Asner in our last episode. He’s 87 years old and still acting. William Shatner was our guest star on ‘Haven’ as well. Snoop Dogg will be on Trailer Park Boys. Whenever you get stimulus from new blood, it makes you reach a little further. And you're always going for a bit of notoriety, so competing with Ricky, Bubbles, J-ROC … I'd be a wimp if I didn’t go for it.”

IF YOU GO:

Randy and Mr. Lahey LIVE

Sat, May 30, 9 p.m.

The Aquarium, 226 Broadway, Fargo

$25 at ticketweb.com

Recently in:

WASHINGTON, D.C. - Savanna’s Act passed unanimously in the U.S. Senate on Friday and will move to the U.S. House of Representatives.The bill, S. 1942, is named for Savanna LaFontaine-Greywind, a member of the Turtle Mountain Band…

Culture

Drink n’ Destroy

by Logan Macrae

Pixeled is every 1980’s nerd’s wet dream. This is the kind of place that you sat in your parent’s basement and dreamt about. Contemplating what college might look like, and through your braced teeth, you took a wheezy breath,…

Saturday, December 15th, 3-6pmJunkyard Brewing Company, 1416 1st Ave N, MoorheadCome bare the elements with us for a good cause. Bring your spare winter gear to be donated to Churches United for the Homeless. Coats, gloves, boots,…

by Josh Boscheejoshua.boschee@yahoo.comphoto courtesy of Mitch MarrEight words that perfectly describe the beautiful spirit of Kim Winnegge."I have given my whole life to words."Those of us who knew her remember these words as a…

Gadfly

Affluenza

by Ed Raymond

What happens if conspicuous consumption becomes global?The latest National Geographic has an editorial “The Global Peril of Inequality” by UCLA Professor Jared Diamond which the entire world should read. The author of many…

FARGO - A collection of memories from High Plains Reader's annual Cocktail Showdown. Participants were judged on creativity, flavor, and presentation; and this year we added a new category. Like years before, each establishment was…

by Ben Myhrebenmyhre35@gmail.comUs North Dakotans love our Knoephla soup. I am no exception. I have fond childhood memories of sitting in my grandmother’s kitchen making this dumpling soup. From then until today, my taste buds go…

Music

Snow and Flurry

by HPR Contributor

by Jacques Harvieux jacquesthejock@gmail.comMosh pit etiquette 101: The mosh pit is located front and center of the stage.Create a sizeable ring.When the music starts unleash mayhem. If you fall - get up immediately.If somebody…

“The Diary of a Teenage Girl” director Marielle Heller beautifully translates another personal autobiography to excellent results. “Can You Ever Forgive Me?” is based on the confessional 2008 memoir of literary forger Lee…

SEBEKA, Minnesota – Nearly a century ago the nation was racked by inclement weather, soaring unemployment, and despair following World War I and the lucrative Roaring 20s. The 1930s were an era of dust storms and lunch lines,…

by Ryan Jankeryan.janke78@gmail.comFargo-Moorhead Community Theatre presents “A Christmas Story: The Musical” which is underway at the Stage at Island Park and will run through December 22. It has been promoted as a show both…

Those who have been reading my articles for a while may remember when I interviewed Zachary Tooker about the Level Two Comedy Club at the Radisson in Fargo. While the club may have unfortunately closed, Tooker has not ceased…

by Gabrielle Herschgabbyhersch@gmail.comphotography by Logan MacraeEver wish you could go to your favorite brewery without leaving your house? Finally, you can (sort of). Kilstone Brewing is now doing limited can releases of some…

I’m a big man, I’m tall and powerful, but this also causes some issues in the body department. I suffer from acute scoliosis in my lower back, and pain radiates from this area on a daily basis. I have only ever had one massage…

by Devin Joubertdevinlillianjoubert@gmail.comIt’s that beautiful time of the year that’s filled with seasonal decorations, sparkly lights, warm family gatherings, and delicious feasts. I love everything about this time of the…

“(Søren) Kierkegaard…has opened our eyes to the shallowness of much of our pseudo-Christian life, and to the outright deception in politics which Christianity has been made to serve.” - William Hubben“The people starve…