Canadian stars park their trailer in Greensboro

by Lenise Willis

Julian, Bubbles and Ricky star in the Drunk, High and Unemployed Tour, playing Sunday at Carolina Theatre. (courtesy photo)

Picture a poor, uneducated man in an undershirt, beer in hand, and where does your mind place him? That’s right, a trailer park. It’s the long-existing stereotype of “trailer-park trash,” and pure examples of the cliché are the Canadian Trailer Park Boys.

Tucked in a trailer park in Nova Scotia, Ricky, Julian and Bubbles are constantly cooking up schemes and running into trouble. The lethargic Ricky, who lives out of his car, makes a living growing pot while also smoking it. Julian is the brains of the trio’s get-rich schemes and has been drinking rum and Coke since he was six or seven.

On the other hand, Bubbles, who lives in a shed and is obsessed with kittens, is constantly busy trying to keep the boys out of trouble and out of jail.

“We’ve known each other our entire lives, so we’re like brothers,” Julian said as he explains how he and Bubbles were abandoned and then raised by Ricky’s dad. “We look out for each other and that’s what the trailer park is all about.”

Attempting to broaden their horizons, the trio is now off on tour to see the world. Bubbles is trying to create a new career in the movie industry, Julian is putting his latest money-making scams into action and Ricky has an idea that can change the world.

“Everywhere we go people seem to like us,” Bubbles said, noting that Dublin was their favorite tour stop so far. “We’ve met a lot of great people and it’s been a lot of fun.”

Stars of the hit television mock reality show “Trailer Park Boys,” the haphazard trio has answered to the law in seven seasons, two full-length films and two international tours. Now in their second live show, The Drunk, High and Unemployed Tour, the three will share their stereotypical and outrageous trailer park misadventures with Greensboro.

The men behind the act are John Paul Tremblay (Julian), Robb Wells (Ricky) and Mike Smith (Bubbles), though they are notorious for remaining in character for interviews and public appearances.

“It’s something we’ve always done,” said Smith. “We’ve never done an interview on camera where we weren’t in character.” Smith says since he was a kid he’s always been a fan of Spinal Tap, the fictional rock band whose members persistently remained in character.

“It was very confusing in a good way,” Smith said. “A lot of people thought Spinal Tap was a real band for the longest time. It’s worked out the same for us. A lot of fans when they saw us interviewed in character they would think, ‘Geeze, are these guys real?’ and to this day there are still people who argue that we are those characters.”

“Trailer Park Boys,” a Canadian comedy created and directed by Mike Clattenburg, debuted as a short film in the Atlantic Film Festival in 1999 and then was later developed into a mockumentary-style TV show mimicking reality TV — much like the Comedy Central hit series “Reno 911.”

Concluding in 2008, the show featured the misadventures, as chronicled by a camera crew, of the residents living in the fictional Sunnyvale trailer park in Dartmouth, Nova Scotia.

“We wanted to show this weird setting with all these bizarre characters that people could look at and say, ‘Oh, well, they live in a trailer park but in many ways they’re happier and much better people than we are,’” Wells said.

“We improvised a lot based on the script [for the TV series], but live is a whole different ballgame,” Wells continued. “There’s no take twos or anything so you gotta be pretty comfortable up there.”

“If we didn’t drink, it’d probably be the easiest job in the world, but you drink all during the day it’s pretty hard on the system,” Tremblay added jokingly.

With unemployment rates still high, the theme of The Drunk, High and Unemployed Tour should allow the audience to laugh at their troubles — or at least feel better about their own lives.

“In Canada and the US both there are a lot of regions where it’s tough times,” Smith said, “so if people can come out and forget about that for a night and get drunk with us and have some fun, you know, that’s a good thing.”

wanna go?

The Trailer Park Boys in The Drunk, High and Unemployeed Tour Oct 16, 8pm Carolina Theatre 310 S. Greene St., Greensboro

336.333.2605 $28.50 in advance, $31 at door