Interview with Actor, writer and comic Bernard Robichaud
Today on What On What’s Good with Host Jovin Tardif, I am here with Canadian actor, writer, and comic Bernard Robichaud. You may have seen him in the hit television series Trailer Park Boys as Cyrus or on Haven as Kirk. Today in our interview, we discuss his voice-over work on CBC, his role in both Trailer Park Boys and Haven, writing tips, performing as a stand-up comic, and his dream role.
1. Let’s start from the beginning. Can we discuss the voice-over work you did with the characters Robert and Becky for CBC on the radio drama ‘In Becky’s name’?
The story was written for radio and produced by Sudsy Clarke. Robert was a troubled young man, and his alter ego was Becky, but this was 35 years ago, and the details as you can imagine have dwindled over time, but not easy to do a Man and Woman voice without the range and a great producer.
2. On Trailer Park Boys, was there ever a time on or off-screen where a joke was told that made you laugh unconditionally?
No, to be honest, I don’t recall. It was a great team of actors, and there was always something funny being said or done; however, Season 5, my character and Terry and Dennis are chasing Bubbles on his go-cart, and the scene breaks to Bubbles coming to a screeching halt to let the Boys know we are coming. But, on the first take, the brakes of the go-cart snapped. It appeared the go-cart was coming to a stop. But when the cable broke, the cart sped up again, crashed into a Lilac bush, propelling Bubbles headfirst into it, and Mike Smith, Bubbles, jumped out of the lilac bush like nothing happened and delivered his lines, that was hilarious.
3. You played Kirk in the hit Showcase series ‘Haven.’ How does playing comedy compare to a drama? Is it any different or the same? Please describe.
I don’t think there is any difference, the lines are the lines, and if delivered honestly, they are either funny or not. Of course, that’s my opinion, but when you try to make something funny, it’s usually not.
4. Can we get some insight into the process of creating a screenplay or a TV sitcom? Do you have any tips for writers?
The format is different from writing a play. My tip would be, just be honest with yourself and your writing. If you can’t be honest, it will be difficult to get your feelings onto the page. Just keep writing; there are no right answers to what will or will not work, but honest writing always prevails.
5. Can you describe what it is like to be in front of an audience performing stand-up comedy? Do you have a favourite venue, and why?
Performing stand-up is quite exhilarating, yet demands so much of yourself to be on that it’s very difficult psychologically if the night is one where everyone is just staring at you. Because some evenings everyone gets the jokes, and some nights they don’t or aren’t as engaged, therefore leaving you wondering, “what the heck’, and as a performer first and foremost, I believe we are a bit perfectionist and want to do a great job. It leaves you sometimes wondering if you should even be there, and hopefully, it doesn’t prevent you from giving up. Never give up.
6. Just for fun. Do you have a ‘dream role’? Can you share some thoughts on working collaboratively with others? (i.e. James Caan, Kathy Bates, Billy Zane, Estelle Warren, Mike Smith, Robb Wells, John Paul Tremblay, Jonathan Torrens, Sarah Dunsworth, Emily Rose, Lucas Bryant, Eric Balfour)
All roles I am fortunate enough to be handed; I am grateful for and humbled that those in power felt I was the right person for the task. Every role thus far has been rewarding as I expect all future roles will be for the opportunity to create a living being on stage or in front of a camera that viewers can appreciate. Maybe the remake of ‘On the Waterfront’ or ‘Street Car Named Desire.’
All these talents have been very giving to me and helped me further my career, that’s all I can say about them, I have been privileged to work with them all!