As It Happens

Shirtless Mark Critch explains his Trudeau photo bomb

CBC TV's Mark Critch couldn't resist peeling off his shirt as he stood behind Prime Minister Justin Trudeau in St. John's on Monday.
Mark Critch couldn't resist photo bombing the PM with no shirt. (Mark Critch/CP)

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is making headlines for a shirtless photo bomb again. Except this time he's not doing the photo bombing and he's fully clothed.

(Jim Godby)

That honour goes to Mark Critch, star of CBC TV's This Hour Has 22 Minutes. On Monday, Critch bared his chest when standing behind the prime minister as photographers snapped away. As It Happens guest host Laura Lynch reached Critch in St. John's.

Laura Lynch: Mark, was it so hot up there on Signal Hill today that you just felt the need to strip off a few layers?

Mark Critch: Well, you know Signal Hill is where I always go to sunbathe. So I think it's the Prime Minister's fault for coming into my natural habitat. It's not unlike when somebody you know kind of wanders into the polar bear exhibit, or something like that, at a zoo. You know, I'm just up there, I'm like a moose.

LL: How did you find yourself moved to take your shirt off behind the prime minister? Was this a 22 Minutes stunt?

MC: No, it wasn't a 22 Minutes stunt. The PM was in town. I heard he was going to go and fire the noon day gun. So my two sons Jacob and Wil were with me and I say "come on, go up and meet the prime minister." Good Canadian thing to do, you know. 

So we wandered up there and the prime minister is very nice to them and got a picture with them and, you know, stopped to talk to them and everything. And I said "good seeing you again," and he went to leave and a little voice inside of me said "hey, you know you should do?" 

My two sons, their eyes rolled so far back up in their head that they're currently at the hospital. The doctors are trying to pull their eyes back down. Anyway, I just whipped off my shirt and said "hey, get a picture!" And Justin said "I knew if I came here something was going to happen." And, Seamus O'Reagan — it was the only time I've ever seen someone do an actual facepalm.

LL: And wait a second, the security detail charged with protecting our Prime Minister, all they did was stand by and snicker?

MC: I think they just felt bad for me. They wanted the moment to pass. But everybody was a pretty good sport. You know, that's a great thing about Canada. You can do a lot of stuff without getting tased. 

LL: I'm wondering if this something you want to see more Canadians do. Could it be a trend?

MC: It certainly could be! He's gotten into this thing where he wanders out of caves, like a mythical beast or something. We'll see what happens. 

LL: What kind of reaction are you getting on social media?

MC: I just did it to take a picture. I thought this would be funny — and partly to embarrass my sons. But it just went crazy. People look at the picture and it makes them happy and they get a kick out of Seamus giggling there too and the security guards giggling. So I don't know, it just seems like a very Canadian moment.

LL: How would you compare a shirtless Prime Minister Trudeau with a shirtless Mark Critch?

MC: It's kind of like those before-and-after informercials. I would be the before picture and after you use the Ab Master, he would be the after. I'm kind of the picture they would hold up in school and say, don't let this happen to you. This is what happens if you don't eat right and don't do yoga. I'm like a warning.

For more on how the whole photo bomb went down, listen to our full interview with Mark Critch.