Authenticity is Good for You

Letterkenny emerged from seemingly nowhere to become one of Canada’s greatest cultural exports, a portrait of smalltown Canadiana where beers and relationships are mixed up in a hilarious stew that always leaves viewers laughing, and weirdly feeling surprisingly good. Having recently wrapped their ninth season and preparing to tour the States, Ben Kaplan caught up with Michelle Mylett (Katy), Tyler Johnston (Stewart), and Evan Stern (Roald) to hear about how they blend mischief and heart to create something entirely unique—and true to themselves.
  • BK: Weird to think about you people representing Health & Wellness for my special issue, and yet I have half a mind that your show promotes positive mental health just in being yourself.

    Tyler Johnston: If you’re not bothering anyone, you’re going to be your best when you’re doing your thing. That’s the authenticity of Leterrkenny—people are never more themselves than in a small town. People are like, ‘This is who I am, this is who you are—we might have a scrap about it, but we’ll get over it.’

    Evan Stern: Sometimes it can be too extreme for health & wellness, with all the drinking and smoking and fighting, but it is a healthy mindset to just be like, for a lack of a better term: fuck it, I’m going to do me.

  • BK: Exactly!

    TJ: The show is good about not putting titles on anybody. You can be who you are in Letterkenny. You might get made fun of—

    ES: You will get made fun of.

    Michelle Mylett: You will get made fun of—but you’ll never be bullied and no one kicks you when you’re down. There’s an inherently kind element throughout the show and it never gets lost and people respond to it. That’s the best way to live a healthy life—make sure you’re leading with kindness.

  • BK: I love your show and get it, but with your American tour, it just feels like it’s so specifically smalltown Canada that it’s hard for me to see how it plays in Detroit or Boston.

    TJ: We have farms and hockey players, but small town America has, I don’t know, blue collar folks and baseball players? Everyone can relate to the different groups of people, we all know these people in our lives.

    ES: Our best show, no offense to the Canadian audiences, because they’re so fun and so great, but the show in Detroit? It changed my life. It was that crazy.

    MM: There is a distinct difference, and I’m generalizing, but from what I’ve experienced in America—

    ES: They’re scary.

    MM: They’re just so … out there. They’re standing up, they’re yelling. I guess it comes back to the polite Canadian trope.

    TJ: We’re here to politely nod to you.

    ES: In the States, it’s like—literally picking you up and high fives. It’s just different social norms. At the Detroit show, they were so fired up. They knew every line.

  • BK: Do audiences come ready to party?

    TJ: Earlier you mentioned Boston, and we had a show there scheduled that we missed because of COVID, but it was going to be St. Patty’s weekend. I was genuinely afraid.

    ES: People are already drinking.

    TJ: And Evan can drink. Evan likes his beer. But St. Patty’s weekend?

    MM: People arrive at our show ready to party and we like that. The show’s like, ‘Want a beer? I’ll have a beer!’ The double-tap is part of the culture and we’re social, we’re drinking, and that’s part of it. It comes into the audience.

    TJ: When the characters are introduced in the live show, there’s a couple seconds after each character walked onstage and they were hooting and hollering and like Michelle said, they were finishing the punchlines before we got the jokes out of our mouths!

    ES: Tyler was furious! Let me finish my goddamn jokes!

  • BK: It’s funny, seeing the show now it makes perfect sense that it’s a smash, but I wonder what you thought before it was proven. What did you think when you read Letterkenny, the first time you got the script?

    ES: I still don’t understand the scripts when I get them.

    MM: I remember trying to read the script, like, ‘What is this?’ There was such a specific tone. But when we all get together it makes sense in this wacky, zany way. Early on, whether it would be a success or not, I knew it was special. You feel it.

    ES: It was just, ‘Holy smokes,’ and I’d read the other characters and pictured it, but then you watch the scenes and it goes completely in another direction. This cast finds funny I didn’t read on the page.

    TJ: You think three things while you’re working: What are you doing? Why is it so different from me, and, most importantly, why is this working?

  • BK: You can see it with you guys even on this Zoom call. I think it works because you genuinely like one another and the show, besides being potty mouthed and alcoholic, it’s also really sweet.

    MM: We actually can’t stand each other. It’s a big problem.

    TJ: And, of course, now we’re all in separate green rooms . . .

    ES: Yeah, right. Like, the opposite is true. When we’re on the tour bus, we pass each other notes and candies.

    TJ: More like Advils for the headaches from the night before.

    ES: That’s candies!

    MM: We lucked out with how well we all get along. Of course, it’s also in the interest of the show because we’re in collaboration and it’s a comedy, but we all have respect for each other, love each other and want each other to succeed. It isn’t always that way at work for people so I know how lucky we are.

    TJ: We have to respect each other's boundaries.

    ES: Really?

    TJ: On camera, there are no boundaries. I kiss Evan twelve times a day, but when we’re on tour together for two months straight? It’s nice to find some alone time.

    ES: Good luck.

    MM: We’ll be pulling down the blinds on the bunk beds.

    ES: Good morning, Tyler.

    MM: Hi, Tyler! How did you sleep?

  • BK: Assuming you survive the tour, what’s next for each of you outside the show?

    MM: Well, we went back filming Letterkenny this summer and I finished the movie American Dreamer with Peter Dinklage and Shirley MacLaine. I also have a skincare line coming out in the fall.

  • BK: This drops in the fall. Tell us about your line.

    MM: Small-batch, sustainable, a little west coast brand available as e-commerce. We don’t want to bite off more than we can chew.

  • BK: You other guys?

    MM: Yeah, where’s your skincare lines?

    ES: I’m working on The Last Gang in Town, a limited production of a book I got the rights to set in 1972 about the Vancouver gangs clashing with the police.

    MM: My dad is obsessed with this book.

    ES: I love that. It’s pretty popular. Aaron Chapman is the author.

    TJ: I’m excited for you guys. Me, I’ve buried myself in TikTok.

    MM: He’s blowing up on TikTok.

    ES: He’s an internet phenomenon.

    TJ: Oh you guys, shut your mouths. But I am having a lot of fun; last night my Twitch stream got a little out of hand.

  • BK: You guys talk plenty about booze, but this magazine is released in pot shops across the country and legalization is coming upon its third anniversary.

    ES: Tyler, do you have any thoughts on weed?

    TJ: Funny you say that, I can smell some right now through my window.

    ES: Is it your arm, outside your window?

    MM: Tyler and I are both west coast kids; weed isn't a new concept for us.

    TJ: It feels like it’s been legal here in Vancouver since before I was born. I’m all for legalization, especially when you look at the statistics about the people being thrown in jail for that shit. You have to shake your head. So I’m all for legalization, let the tax people get the money and build schools, build roads, keep that shit moving! I mean, if you can have a 12-pack of beer and hate yourself in the morning, people can smoke some weed.

    MM: It’s definitely better than alcohol in my opinion. It’s caused a lot of relief for people I know that really need it.

    ES: The first time I smoked weed was in Amsterdam. I had some beers, smoked a joint and went to a jazz show. I was like, ‘Wow, this is the best night of my life!’

    TJ: The first time I smoked weed was in Amsterdam!

    MM: You guys are soulmates.

  • BK: All these Americans seeing your show are going to come to Canada and have that be their Amsterdam experience.

    TJ: Absolutely, weed tourism is going nuts! By the time next summer rolls around, people are going to go to Smith Falls and go from one weedery to the next on their hoverboards, like: bzzzzzzz, smoke another blunt, and by their third weedery their hoverboard will be going backwards.

    MM: You’ve got a business model there.

    TJ: I already sold it to Canopy.

For information on the Letterkenny tour, and updates about the show’s new season, please see