Why Jonathan Torrens thought Monctonians were 'barbarians'
Cult Canadian TV star's new book with Jeremy Taggart dishes on New Brunswick — and the rest of Canada
There was a time when the man formerly known as J-Roc used to diss New Brunswick.
Growing up in P.E.I. in the 1980s, Jonathan Torrens — well-known for his roles in cult Canadian television ranging from teen consumers affairs show Street Cents to Trailer Park Boys — recalls some of his "earliest memories have to do with the anti-fixed link bridge movement," he said.
"I remember people saying, 'we don't want the Moncton crazies coming over here and ruining the place every weekend,'" he said. "So my earliest imagination of New Brunswickers was that they were these barbarians coming to destroy my beloved little island."
As an adult in Nova Scotia, he saw New Brunswick as part of a "geographical sorbet: as soon as we got through New Brunswick, we'd be where we're going, whether Maine or Quebec," he said.
'Donald Trump: not a bahd'
These days, Torrens knows better.
In January 2014, he teamed up with ex-Our Lady Peace drummer Jeremy Taggart to create Taggart and Torrens Radio Show and Podcast, a sweet and hilarious rip through Canadiana, ranging from sports to 1980s kids' shows to current affairs. Taggart and Torrens preach the gospel of "bahd-ism" — a play on "bud," that quintessential Maritimer term of endearment — which is essentially a philosophy of "not putting yourself first."
"Donald Trump: not a bahd. He is not a practising bahd-ism. Harvey Weinstein, not a bahd. George Clooney, on the other hand, is a bahd," said Torrens.
On Tuesday, Torrens and Taggart release a book called Canadianity: Tales from the True North Strong and Freezing. Much like the podcast, it's an eclectic sojourn through the 10 provinces and three territories, tales from the road and "random observations on everything this country has to offer."
For those still curious about why Torrens left Trailer Park Boys without "nomesayin'" goodbye, the book dishes on that, too.
1/4 Playing J-Roc has truly been one of the greatest pleasures & privileges of my life. But it's time to hang up the ol' do-rag. Nomesayin?—@TorrensJonathan
"I'm a pretty private person and I was upfront about some of those things, more so than I normally would be. This was a chance for me to explain," he said.
'Classic New Brunswick'
As for his once-meh feelings about New Brunswick, Torrens has seen the error of his ways — and we have Moncton-based rock combo the Motorleague to thank for that.
"I can't even say this without getting misty," Torrens said. "On the night of our very first Taggart and Torrens show ever in Winnipeg, we arrive at the venue. The guy at the venue says 'there's a package here for you guys.'
"The Motorleague had passed through two days before. They left a note saying 'Hey buds, sorry we missed you, have a good show. We'll be thinking of you.' They left us tuques and T-shirts."
"Classic New Brunswick," he said. "The very definition of bahd-ism."