Horsing around on the set of Sunnyside

Bill Brioux-SS-B2-D7-185
Me and my Sunnyside co-star, a terrible interview. All she wanted to talk about was Gary Pearson’s book Slapshot of Love, available now in paperback on Amazon

Don’t blink or you’ll miss me tonight (Thursday) on Sunnyside (8 p.m. on City).

That’s me in the grey suit hailing a cab. The creators and executive producers of Sunnyside, Dan Redican and Gary Pearson, invited me to the set in Winnipeg last fall. I’ve known Dan since forever; we both went to the same elementary school in Etobicoke. He knows I’m a hambone and yet he still snuck me into one of his previous shows, Puppets Who Kill. Getting killed on Puppets Who Kill is way better than a National Newspaper Award.

So while I was out west writing about Sunnyside, Dan and Gary very generously put me into this very showy little cameo. Sunnyside is a strange little town and one of its quirks is that there’s an infestation of ponies. The scene called for me to hail a cab and–while I’m distracted on my cell phone–a horse gets in the back seat.

This was shot out on location on the streets of Winnipeg with an actual Shetland pony. Thanks to a savvy wrangler, the horse hit her mark better than I did. Still, it took several takes as the scene involved a moving car, a horse and a horse’s ass.

I even had my own little trailer on the set with “Man Hailing Taxi” on a sign outside on the door. Inside was a bottle of water, a shirt and tie hung up on a hanger and sides of the script. I only really had one line–“Taxi!”–but being the “King of Improv” I mumbled as I played out the phone bit. Tip to extras: do this every time. Dan and Gary had to call me back later in Toronto to a recording studio where I actually had to loop my lines. The recording engineer said day players pull this stunt all the time.

I had a blast doing it and I envy folks who get to create television. There was great camaraderie on this set among the cast and crew, even late into the night.

Another TV critic, Brad Oswald of the Winnipeg Free Press, shows up in a future episode. These Sunnyside folks are a brave lot.

My scene comes somewhere in the middle of tonight’s show, so set your PVR’s accordingly. Oh, yeah, there are other people in the episode, some guy named Thornton, this gal who wears several wigs who calls herself Kathleen Phillips, three or four others. They’re okay too.

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