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March 1, 2013

‘Trailer Park Boys’ stars take on new roles

February 28th, 2013 - Toronto Sun

The artists known as the Trailer Park Boys are aiming high these days. Specifically, they've got their eyes on the movie Casino and its record of 398 F-bombs.

Actually, they claim to already have it beat. We'll just have to wait until August for confirmation.

That'll be when Swearnet is released - the second screen outing for Robb Wells, John Paul Tremblay and Mike Smith performing as themselves rather than as TPB's Ricky, Julian and Bubbles (the other is The Drunk And On Drugs Happy Funtime Hour, a short-lived TV series that's been cut into a DVD movie release).

"The movie's about us playing post-Trailer Park Boy versions of ourselves," Smith says. "We're tired of being censored on TV, so we get fed up and say 'F--- it,' and start our own network - which has a morning show, news show, cooking show, except everybody swears on Swearnet."

Adds Wells: "Swearnet is going to make the Guinness book. Casino, I think, had 380 or 390 'f---s in it. Our movie's only an hour and a half, and it's well over 2000."

Fans will get an earful early when the actual online swearnet.com officially launches March 9, supposedly with real programming, some of it fan-uploaded.

And, as mentioned, there's the random and hallucinatory The Drunk And On Drugs Happy Funtime Hour, about Robb, JP and Mike, trying to make a children's program amidst an insane plot to drug everybody into thinking they're actually their characters (the evil mastermind is played by the late Maury Chaykin - his last performance a few weeks before his death).

'He was visibly sick," Smith says. "But when they said action, he was able to endure whatever pain, it just sort of went away."

"He was in character the entire time, freaking people out," Tremblay recalls.

The Boys play several roles each, including gangsters, cult leaders and, of course, themselves. At various moments, they're also transformed into birds and dolphins. We ask how it had been divided into episodes.

"Well, the first episode ended when we turn into dolphins," Wells says, "and as the next begins, we wake up inside the giant c---." True story.

"It wasn't that people told us not to do it, but they did ask if we were insane," Smith says.

But the real reason they did Happy Funtime Hour, Tremblay says, was "just to try and break out of our typecast. Our approach was to play eight or nine characters each and break away. We had to do something extreme to break those molds."

If all this sounds like they're letting go of TPB, don't worry. The gang at Halifax's Sunnyvale Trailer Park endures. This month, they begin filming a third Trailer Park Boys movie - the first one not written by the Boys themselves (director Mike Clattenburg is scripting).

And they continue touring theatrically, doing sketches as Ricky, Bubbles and Julian in increasingly large venues as the show finds fans virally.

"Since the show ceased in '08, we've been touring a lot," Smith says. "The US, the UK, Australia, New Zealand.

"We recently did our biggest show ever in Chicago for 3,500 people, a Christmas show called Dear Santa Claus, Go F--- Yourself. And we're playing the Hammersmith in London, May 3."

Smith, Wells and Tremblay all have children, none of whom are permitted to watch Trailer Park Boys.

But Tremblay says, "when I drive my kids to school, the other kids are, like, 'Hey Julian!'"

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