Nova Scotia

D'Oh Canada! Canadian journalist voicing Trudeau on The Simpsons thanks to YouTube video

Lucas Meyer's impression of Canada's prime minister caught the attention of The Simpsons producers and he'll be the voice of Justin Trudeau in an upcoming episode.

Lucas Meyer's impressions caught the attention of the show's producers

Lucas Meyer will be portraying Prime Minister Justin Trudeau in Sunday's Canadian-themed episode of The Simpsons titled 'D'Oh Canada.' (City TV/The Canadian Press)

Canadian journalist Lucas Meyer is putting the hours he's spent listening to politicians to good use, lending his imitation of Justin Trudeau to The Simpsons.

Sunday's upcoming episode, "D'Oh Canada," will feature a subplot involving Lisa being granted asylum in Canada during a family trip to Niagara Falls. 

Meyer, a lifelong fan of the show, said he was thrilled and a bit stunned to receive an email from a Simpsons producer last September. He auditioned a few hours later and found out he got the part the next day. 

"I just couldn't believe it, I sent it to my wife and she was losing her mind," he said.

"A, it was unexpected. B, it's not just a show it's The Simpsons, one that I grew up with. And C, it's not just a guest voice. It's guest-voicing the prime minister." 

Meyer, who grew up in Montreal and Antigonish, N.S., has been honing his impersonation skills for years. He said Trudeau is one of his favourites to mimic, along with Don Cherry, NHL commissioner Gary Bettman and his mother-in-law, Esther. 

While working as a reporter in Calgary in 2017, Meyer relented to urgings from friends and posted a compilation of his impressions on YouTube. The video has garnered about 32,000 views and caught the attention of The Simpsons producers. 

Meyer kept the news secret for more than six months and finally shared it Monday on social media.   

"I never would have anticipated this," he told CBC News with a laugh.

Lucas Meyer while recording his voiceover for The Simpsons. Meyer works as a reporter and anchor with Newstalk 1010 radio station in Toronto. He previously worked in Yellowknife and Calgary. (Submitted by Lucas Meyer)

Tim Long, a Canadian-born consulting producer on The Simpsons, hinted the episode featuring Trudeau would touch on a "current scandal," perhaps the SNC-Lavalin controversy.

"That may be one of those things that nobody in America is going to get," Long, who was born in Brandon, Man., and grew up in Exeter, Ont., said in a recent phone interview with The Canadian Press.

"It's funny, though, because of course America got used to the idea that, 'Well, Trudeau is great' — at least the liberal part of America has sort of got it in their head that, 'Oh, he's amazing and Canadians must love him' — and I think they're shocked to learn that he's in a little bit of trouble right now."

Meyer currently works as a reporter with Newstalk 1010 in Toronto and has had his own professional dealings with Trudeau on the scandal.

On Feb. 7, just after the Globe and Mail broke the SNC-Lavalin story, Meyer found himself among a scrum of reporters in Vaughan, Ont. They were pressing the prime minister on whether he applied any inappropriate pressure to former attorney general Jody Wilson-Raybould. 

Though the impressions may be inspired by some of the people he encounters at work, his goal is to entertain. 

"I think if there was a clear intention to mock someone or make someone look bad, then there would be some problems. I can honestly say there's absolutely no malice either for [Trudeau] or anybody else. It really is just about trying to be funny," he said.

In the same video that eventually led to The Simpsons part, he also imitated Calgary mayor Naheed Nenshi

"Literally the next day, when [Nenshi] walked into council chambers he said, 'I'm surprised you're still here, Hollywood hasn't scooped you up yet,'" Meyer said with a laugh.  

Watch Meyer's impressions video from YouTube:

As for what makes a good impression, Meyer said it comes down to the subtle differences a politician might make when giving prepared remarks or during a question-and-answer session. He tries to take note of how people use their hands, their facial expressions and intonations.

"I think if you can get that whole package, that's what makes it really effective," he said.

Meyer comes by his performing honestly. His father was a theatre director and his mother a professional ballerina. 

"So to be able to do this for them, is very very special," he said.

But he is quick to point out he's no professional — The Simpsons appearance is his first go at animated voiceover work. 

"If this is a one-off, which I presume it will be, that's fine with me."

About the Author

Elizabeth McMillan is a journalist with CBC Nova Scotia. Over the past nine years, she has reported from the edge of the Arctic Ocean to the Atlantic Coast and loves sharing people's stories. She can be reached at elizabeth.mcmillan@cbc.ca

With files from The Canadian Press

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