Even throughout his six-year career of creating and starring in Corner Gas, Brent Butt said standing on stage with a microphone in hand is where he feels at home.
Butt, backed by his friend and fellow comedian Jamie Hutchinson, will be a “guy doing stand up comedy” on the Vernon and District Performing Arts Centre stage March 20.
“It’s always been my favourite thing to do,” Butt said over the telephone from his Lower Mainland home. “It’s where I’m most myself. That’s where things make sense to me.”
For Butt, that obsession began when he was 12-years-old. Butt was sitting on the couch in his Tisdale, Sask. home during the summer watching daytime television when he was first exposed to the craft. As a fan of comedy, he thought he’d stay tuned for this thing they called “stand-up.”
“I had never really seen a guy stand there just talk and be funny,” Butt said.
It was at that moment he knew what he wanted to do. Butt approached his mother and told her he wanted to be a comedian.
“She said, ‘Go do it outside,’” Butt chuckled in his classic Saskatchewan cadence. “I was the seventh kid. My parents were pretty laid back. There wasn’t much pressure on us to be successful.
“It wasn’t a crazy thing to understand when I wanted to be a stand-up comedian. The rest of my life became killing time until I could do stand-up.”
After honing his craft at two local stand-ups during high school, Butt eventually worked his way up to the Just For Laughs stage. He was a mainstay at Just For Laughs until the 2002 event, after which he stopped to ignite Corner Gas.
Created by Butt, the CTV series follows the often mundane yet always comical lives of the residents of Dog River, Sask. Butt drew from his rural Saskatchewan upbringing to cultivate the fictional town built in Rouleau, Sask.
And, after six years of acclaim, Butt said he knew it was time to pull the plug. The final episode of Corner Gas aired April 13, 2009, for a total of 107 episodes. On April 6, 2009, then Saskatchewan Premier Brad Wall signed the proclamation to officially make April 13 Corner Gas Day in the province.
“I felt it was time to wrap it up,” Butt said. “You don’t want to get stagnant. It kind of felt like the show tapped me on the shoulder and said, ‘It’s time to go.’”
Butt, who had continued to do stand-up comedy during breaks of the show, spent further time on stage, but the show continued to live on through a 2014 film adaptation and an award-winning animated series that launched in 2016.
As for what the future holds, Butt said the animated series will go on, work will stream on his podcast and YouTube channels dubbed The Buttpod and, most importantly, he will continue to do what he loves.
“I feel very lucky that I knew what I wanted to do,” Butt said.
“The only thing I’ve never been able to walk away from is stand-up.”
Tickets to an evening with Brent Butt, with special guest Jamie Hutchinson, are $48.50 adult and are available through the Ticket Seller, 250-549-7469, www.ticketseller.ca.