Calgary·Q&A

Bruce McCulloch brings tales of bravery and stupidity to Calgary stage

Former Kid in the Hall Bruce McCulloch is back with a new solo show, which gets personal about how he is returning to Canada after 20 years spent living in the Hollywood Hills.

Former Loose Moose performer and MRU journalism student says this is probably his most personal show

Actor, comedian and film director Bruce McCulloch and his family moved back to Canada recently after 20 years living in the Hollywood Hills. (Bruce McCulloch)

Bruce McCulloch returns to Calgary Sunday to perform a new solo show based on his upcoming book, Tales of Bravery and Stupidity.

McCulloch, who is on tour with This Hour has 22 Minutes star Cathy Jones, will be performing Saturday at the Banff Centre and Sunday at Mount Royal University's Bella Concert Hall. Friday, he spoke to Doug Dirks on The Homestretch.

This interview has been edited for clarity and length.

Q: Telling stories of bravery I understand. But what made you want to decide to wade into stupidity?

A: Well I can't do one without the other, because it's about me, right? And it's got to be true.

So I do find myself in situations that I didn't need to be in, even if I'm being brave inside them — and that makes, therefore, stupidity.

Q: Can you give us an example of that?

A: My wife says sometimes I get into situations just to create the material — like being on a flight, on WestJet. And I text my wife 'God is great' — like the terrorists did, just as a joke? And then someone oversees me.

And after that, it's like, "Why did I do that? Now I'm in trouble." So it's just to be silly and funny in the world, and that sometimes gets me in trouble.

Bruce McCulloch and Paul Myers in the q studio in Toronto. (qTV)

Q:  Your wife is an actress as well, and you involve your family in the stories that you tell. What do they think about that?

A: They sort of hate me for it, but, hey, what are you going to do? I'm respectful of my family. But when you're an artist, which is what I tell them I am, the thing is that, sometimes, you just have to process your life. Mostly we make fun of me in my stories. So it's probably fine.

Q: Is any of your material based on your life here in Calgary back in the day?

A: A lot of it is. But as I'm getting older, less and less so. I did a lot of that with [the television series] Young Drunk Punk. In this show, I talk about my decision to move back to Canada after I've been in L.A. for 20 years. It feels like the audiences are really responding to that journey.

Q: What motivated you to come back to Canada?

A: I sort of made a promise to myself that my kids had to be Canadian at a certain point, and that when my daughter went to high school, that was the cutoff.

So we've been back in Toronto for a few months now, and you know, it's great to be.

Bruce McCulloch and Scott Thompson, two members of the Kids in the Hall, speak to CBC's Midday about their own TV show in 1990. (CBC Archives/Midday)

Q:  What's it been like to try to adapt to life back in Canada during the wintertime?

A: It's tough. I'm actually driving now to Saskatoon, and it is –28 C right now. But I I kind of like all this.

Q:  You've done other one-man shows, of course. What is it you like about this format?

A:  It's what I started doing like a thousand years ago at Loose Moose Theatre and is my preferred way to communicate my weird ideas and stories with an audience. It's still the most connective thing I can do.

And besides, it's fun to be out there [on stage].

Q: How personal do you get in this show?

A:  It's actually probably the most personal I've gotten in this show. I talk about a kind of a unique friendship of mine. And there's actually parts that are quite touching — or at least that's what I'm told. A lot of it is like stand up, and a lot of fun, but there's a couple moments there that are much more serious.

Q: You mentioned starting out at the Loose Moose Theatre, which is still going strong after all these years. And we've had Loose Mooser Andrew Phung on the show of course, who's now featured in Kim's Convenience on CBC television. How did that help develop you as an artist?

A: I wouldn't be here without Loose Moose Theatre.  I wrote a piece actually last year about that, which is that I wouldn't be anywhere. I might still be loading trucks if I hadn't wandered into Loose Moose when I was doing journalism at Mount Royal College in the early '80's, and that experience formed the basis of that. In every show I create, I'm just trying to be interesting and going, what idea do I have? And how do I follow it? That has been what I've done for all these 10,000 years now.


With files from The Homestretch

About the Author

Stephen Hunt

Digital Writer

Stephen Hunt is a digital writer at the CBC in Calgary. Email: stephen.hunt@cbc.ca

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