This year marks Fan Expo Canada’s 25th anniversary. It also marks the very first time that the cast of Corner Gas Animated---specifically, Brent Butt, Lorne Cardinal, Corrine Koslo, Eric Peterson, Nancy Robertson and Tara Spencer-Nairn---are attending the convention to take part in their very own panel.
 
We caught up with Peterson and Spencer-Nairn to talk all things Corner Gas, Fan Expo, Doctor Who and (almost) everything in between.
 
Comedy: First thing’s first – have either of you been to Fan Expo before?
 
Eric Peterson: I have never been to a Fan Expo before. And you know what? I didn’t know that such a thing existed...and so I was looking it up on the Google to see what this thing was that I was going to. I was fascinated! It goes on for 4 days. People wear costumes, evidently. All kinds of information that, again, I was puzzled by. I had no idea these things existed: the people who are going to be there…and I was so struck that the great thing is, there’s 400 thousand square feet. Shopping madness! So I’m looking forward to picking up, I don’t know, a t-shirt and a comic.
 
Comedy: Yeah, you can really buy anything there.
 
EP: Anything?
 
Comedy: Well, maybe not anything, but more than t-shirts and comics!
 
EP: Yeah, 400 thousand square feet, there’s got to be.
 
Tara Spencer-Nairn: There’d better be.


 
Comedy: Tara, have you been before?
 
TSN: I’ve never been. My son has been twice. He always goes with his aunt. And this’ll be the first year that my younger son also gets to go. They’re always very excited – they’re both dressing up as Black Panther. Because one got Black Panther and therefore the other one needed Black Panther, so it’s just been very expensive…
 
EP: You’re a wonderful mom.
 
TSN: [laughs]
 
EP: You were saying earlier---and I want you to tell this story---about when the youngest one couldn’t go.
 
TSN: So the oldest one would always get to go to Fan Expo and Comic-Con. His aunt would always take him. But the little guy was way too young, he’s still only 4. So I would do something---I would call it Home-i-con. And we’d have all these DK Star Wars books and, like, Lego books and all these different kinds of superhero books. I would lay them all out and he would dress up in whatever costume he wanted, and we would have a Home-i-con.
 
EP: I just think that’s so wonderful.
 
Comedy: Good for him for dressing up and doing all that at 4 years old. He’s a go-getter.
 
TSN: Oh yeah, they are hardcore into their superheroes, even though they haven’t seen half of the movies.
 
Comedy: Eric talked a little bit about what he’s expecting from Fan Expo. Do you know what to expect?
 
TSN: I have a pretty good idea just because the kids have been and I see what my son comes back with.


 
EP: Are you looking forward to seeing anybody there?
 
TSN: I don’t know! I’m not really like, hardcore into that stuff. I haven’t seen Shazam!…like I haven’t seen these movies. Generally the only times I get into movies now are with my children, so once they get to those levels---like, the older one’s at the level where he could probably go watch Shazam! now---then I think I’d be more into it. But I have a really good idea of what to expect just because I’ve seen, I’ve heard, and I’m very aware of Fan Expo. There’s going to be a lot of people dressed up, hardcore fans.
 
EP: Well I was fascinated because one of the only things I know about is Doctor Who. 50 years ago, when I first went to England to be an actor, Doctor Who was on. The Daleks! And they’re going to be at Fan Expo! As well as the police booth, you know, the TARDIS! And Peter Capaldi!
 
TSN: So are you just gonna go missing for a while?
 
EP: Well I know him not just from Doctor Who---he’s a wonderful actor, he’s been in wonderful things over the years that I watched him do. So I was really startled to go, but proud that I’ll be at the same event.
  
TSN: What day is that panel?
 
EP: He’s there for two days, Saturday and Sunday.
 
TSN: You’re 12 to 4, you’re not going to be able to scurry off and do something.
 
EP: I can’t? I could leave a cartoon image of myself in my seat.
 
TSN: People will be very disappointed. You’re one of the fan favourites.
 
EP: I’m sure Peter Capaldi will be trying to leave his panel to see me.


 
Comedy: As you mentioned, there are a lot of sci-fi/fantasy guests that come to Fan Expo. But I feel like it’s really expanding---Saved By the Bell’s there, Kim’s Convenience is there, you guys are there. How do you feel about being invited to Fan Expo this year and being part of an effort to widen the appeal of the convention?
 
TSN: I personally love the idea, especially about the convention happening in Canada…I think it’s important to see things like Kim’s Convenience and Corner Gas Animated. I don’t know, I always just want to talk about Canadian things and push that and elevate that and have, like, an awareness, and know that there are big fans of those shows. And I think it is important to put it out there. And it is nice to see it expand from just sci-fi---I don’t know how sci-fi fans feel about that changing. But everyone can be a fan, and if you’re not a fan of sci-fi you’re a fan of something else, so allow it to just become what it is, which is Fan Expo.
 
EP: It’s only natural that Canadian shows should be part of it now, too. I mean, we’re talking about a global entertainment business. And these shows are part of it---Corner Gas is being streamed on these platforms that are global. It was odd that we weren’t included in that, and I think it’s just…nature’s finally taking its course.
 
TSN: To be fair, we don’t have a Marvel superhero in our castyet.
 
Comedy: On that note, I know you’ve both talked about who you’d want as guests on future seasons of Corner Gas Animated. Who would you specifically want to see a Corner Gas Animated rendering of?
 
TSN: Kyle Lowry and Nick Nurse.
 
EP: Who?
 
TSN: Kyle Lowry and Nick Nurse! I would have said Kawhi, but he gone.
 
Comedy: He missed his chance.
 
EP: I don’t know what you’re saying.
 
Comedy: The Raptors!
 
EP: Ohh, the Raptors. I’m not a baseball fan—
[laughs] not baseball. 
 
TSN: [laughs]
 
EP: Oh, you know, they both start with ‘b.’


 
Comedy: How about you, Eric?
 
EP: I’ve never thought of that…
 
TSN: Your family?
 
EP: It could be my family…
 
Comedy: I would love to see a Corner Gas Animated rendering of Cher.
 
EP: Why Cher?
 
Comedy: I don’t know. I just feel like she has a very distinct look and I would to see that on-screen, in animated form, you know? So you could go any which way.
 
TSN: It doesn’t have to be a Canadian.
 
Comedy: It could be anyone.
 
EP: It could be…anyone. It could be a character called ‘Anyone.’ A super ‘Anyone.’ Like, it’s a totally nondescript…we’ll pitch this idea...I think that’s a great idea, that’s my suggestion, thanks to you.
 
Comedy: Well I’m waiting for Season 3 now. If that happens, I expect credit.
 
EP: I’m on the phone as soon as we’re finished here to Brent.
 
Comedy: Speaking of Season 3---if there is going to be a Season 3, what would you want to see that hasn’t already happened in the show?
 
TSN: You know what, I just find that the stuff that they come up with is stuff that I could never think or dream up in my wildest dreams. It’s shocking to me every time I get a script, I’m like “Huh! That’s really funny!” I'm always shocked!
 
EP: It is wonderful.
 
TSN: It’s great.
 
EP: That Brent Butt. He’s a very creative fellow. I’m in the same boat. I’m thankful I’m not writing the thing, because I’d be dead in the water. I don’t know where they come up with it, you know? The stuff that’s the same, and yet different---which is the key to the series, of course...and I feel that with Brent, with the animation, you’re allowed a lot of imaginative settings and characters that aren’t possible when you’re shooting it live.
 
TSN; Because people can’t actually be blown up, sometimes.
 
Comedy: Right, like you can’t have a unicorn or whatever.
 
EP: And Brent’s mind…that’s a very fertile corner for Brent’s mind to wander.


 
Comedy: What were some of your favourite episodes or moments from Season 2?
 
TSN: Oh my goodness. I have such a hard time remembering because they go by so quickly now. That’s been the funniest thing for me, is that you only really live with an episode for so long. We record an episode anywhere from three to four hours, and then it’s sort of gone.
 
EP: And you’ve seen the script the night before, basically. Then when you think of the actual shooting of the live show, there’ve been so many plots…but I have to say, from Season 1, I loved being in the ‘Road Warrior’ fantasy where I had the mask on…I was very tickled with that.
 
Comedy: I’m assuming neither of you got to work with him one-on-one, but can I just say I’m so jealous that Michael J. Fox was on your show?
 
TSN: I’m so jealous that Michael J. Fox was on our show and I didn’t get to meet him.
 
Comedy: Did anybody other than Brent get to meet him?
 
TSN: It’s always Nancy! Brent writes them for Nancy, and it’s always Nancy.
 
Comedy: Because he’s biased! Because they’re married!
 
TSN: Exactly! Nobody else gets to meet the guest stars.
 
EP: You’re going to have to marry Brent.
 
TSN: I know. I’m just going to have to do it.
 
Comedy: Did you get to meet any of the guest stars?
 
TSN: We were supposed to meet Sarah McLachlan, we were all in Vancouver, and she had to reschedule because she had a voice thing going on. Which I was like, yeah, I get that. But then she came in another day and sang with the Vancouver crew.
 
Comedy: Who’s the Vancouver crew?
 
TSN: The Vancouver crew is Gabe, Brent, Fred, Nancy, and Lorne. Lorne used to live here, so did Gabe.


 
Comedy: Before we go our separate ways, because you’re off to Fan Expo this weekend I wanted to ask if you’ve had any strange or memorable fan interactions in the years since you’ve been on Corner Gas.
 
TSN: [to Peterson] You have the most fan interactions.
 
EP: I have a lot. A lot of people go, “you’re the jackass guy!” So they do that, or they come up to me and say, “hi, hi, could you call me a jackass?” I often am asked to call someone a jackass…and I am very proud of that…I probably should be talking to a shrink about it [laughs].

I enjoy being the jackass guy too much. But I’m also very grateful to the fans, that they do watch the show. It means a lot to me, and we do put a lot into it. There’s a lot of satisfaction in being told that people like what you do. And in lieu of getting big money and lots of fame, it’s a wonderful compensation to have people come and say “my family loves it, we love it, we love you.” And because it’s Canadian, to touch on that subject again, we’re inundated with cultural products from other places, mainly the United States. And so the Canadian fans, when it’s a Canadian show that they know and they like and watch, they feel that they’re part of it and part of us.

And that’s a kind of special little vibe that comes with it. And the other thing is that it’s always so jolly. I mean, I’m not worried that a fan is going to insult me or try and kill me or steal something…and it doesn’t make me feel separate from them. In fact, it’s the opposite. I’m totally up for going, yeah I’ll call you a jackass. With love.
 
TSN: I just had…there was a woman that was at the cash at the Shoppers Drug Mart that I always go to who thought I was Nancy. And rather than correcting her I was like, “yeah, yeah, yeah!” I kind of went along with it. I’m normally fine. When I’m with my kids, then I get a little more awkward. They’re still young, so I don’t want them to understand that or get that. So if you’ve ever had a weird interaction with me with my children it’s because I’ve been like “ahhh, thank you so much, gotta go!”
 
Catch the cast of Corner Gas Animated at Fan Expo Canada this Sunday from 12 to 4 p.m. at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre.