Clutch Keeso brings CraveTV’s Letterkenny to life

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Keeso (left) and Dales stare down loser hockey dudes on Letterkenny

You’ll want to keep a pen or a recorder handy to catch all the chirpy phrases on Letterkenny. The web-to-TV series premieres Super Bowl Sunday on CraveTV.

Creator/star Jared Keeso (“19-2”) has been gathering all the crazy-ass experessions he and his hockey-playing pals have uttered in bars and dressing rooms over the years and thrown them all into the comedy blender.

Keeso is from sleepy little Listowel, Ont., the model for Letterkenny. He spends summers in Vancouver and shoots “19-2” in Montreal but gets back to his farm town roots in southwest Ontario to visit family whenever he can.

Letterkenny is shot in Sudbury, Ont., so Keeso is collecting his air miles criss-crossing Canada. When I visited him up there during production, he mentioned he’d been back to Listowel and that his “pal and his wife threw out these best lines.”

They were talking about a girl they all knew who was pregnant again.

“She’s a one-shot Sally.”

Boom. Straight into Keeso’s collection of phrases-I-can-use-on-my-TV-show.

“They know every time I reach for my phone I’m writing stuff down,” he said.

Keeso’s co-star and co-conspirator on Letterkenny is one of his hockey pals, Nathan Dales. I met him up in Sudbury on location. We sat outside, in the sun, on a picnic table, taking about the dialogue on that day’s shoot.

“One Jared made up today,” he said. “Herzy [Andrew Herr, who plays one of the town hockey dudes] pops off his shirt. Jared says, ‘Who does that–your asethetician?’ I say, ‘You can kiss my aesthetician.'”

Keeso and Dales play Wayne and Daryl, the town’s top chirpers.

The whole thing has a Red Green meets Trailer Park Boys meets Green Acres feel–which means it will likely run forever.

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Clutch Keeso

One thing to watch for: Keeso’s head movements. There aren’t any. He’s so deadpan his neck and head appear welded in place.

Watching him on the show reminded me of the old Clutch Cargo TV ‘toons from the early ’60s. You never shake those earliest memories and Clutch Cargo haunts me still. The producers hit on this simple scam to insert real lips into drawings of heads. The series wasn’t really animated, but the lips moved.

That’s Letterkenny, except the stuff that comes out of the mouths are way funnier. It’s CraveTV’s first “original,” and it will also be seen later on The Comedy Network. For more on Keeso, Dales and the series, follow this link to the Letterkenny feature I wrote this week for The Canadian Press.

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