Letterkenny Stars on the Evolution of the Skids: From Misfits to Mavericks

It’s traditions! What would a holiday season be without new episodes of Letterkenny? Thankfully, we don’t have to try and find out as a brand-new six-pack of episodes drop on Christmas Day on Crave in Canada and December 26 on Hulu in the U.S. Season 9 of Letterkenny will see the Hicks, Skids, and Hockey Players attending an American Buck and Doe following the fight with Dierks (Tyler Hynes).

While the Skids started out at odds with many of the other Letterkenny characters, Stewart (Tyler Johnston), Roald (Evan Stern), and the gang have slowly found themselves more and more integrated with the main group. Johnston and Stern recently spoke with us here at The TV Junkies about how and why that evolution may have happened, how they get into character, and share some insight on their co-stars, including star and creator Jared Keeso.

The TV Junkies: All of the Letterkenny characters are so unique and fun, but Stewart and Roald have their own special uniqueness it seems. What’s your favorite thing about playing those two?

Evan Stern: I would say ‘unique’ is a very nice way of putting it.

Tyler Johnston: I’d say that’s the nicest word I’ve heard. [laughs]

ES: It’s a lot of fun to get as wild as possible with Tyler. They do give us a bit of freedom, especially with our physicality, where Ty and I can just play off each other and clown around. [Jared] Keeso and [Jacob] Tierney are really open-minded when it comes to letting us act like idiots.

TJ: The cool thing about the Skids is that they maybe started out dealing drugs and selling cigarettes, but they’ve grown a lot. They are like chameleons. They might be DJing this season, then lifting weights the next season, and after that maybe they are throwing a party. You never know with the Skids.

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TTVJ: The Skids really did start Letterkenny as this group that were sort of the villains of the show.

TJ: I like that you say that, Bridget…

TTVJ: [laughs] But they really have integrated themselves more and more as part of the gang. How did that evolution happen?

ES: Honestly? I think it’s just Jared liking us as people and being nice to us. Tyler and I, in every scene where we’re with a big group of people, will purposefully shoot each other glances like, ‘Oh my God, we’re so stoked we’re here!’

TJ: One of the cool things about this show is that we can be ridiculous, with plenty of fart jokes, but they do a great job of pumping us full of emotion. With the Skids’ journey, it’s always nice to see the underdog come to life a little bit. I think it’s safe to say the Skids were the underdog in the early seasons. We joked last season that the first few seasons no one wanted to get near the Skids, but the last few seasons you can’t keep people away from them.

TTVJ: Is there anything in particular that helps you get into character when you return to shoot a new season?

ES: Tyler, in particular, is a very professional actor who likes to rehearse his lines 400 times. So we become the Skids by holing ourselves up in a hotel room or basement, just hammering the lines until it feels like he’s my boss.

TJ: I’ll just reiterate what Evan said in that I just show up to Sudbury, I take charge of our relationship, and then it goes on camera.

ES: ‘Evan drive me around! Evan do my laundry!’

TTVJ: Some of the scenes on Letterkenny are unlike any other series on TV with its sharp, fast-paced dialogue. What’s it like filming some of those scenes where everyone is sitting around together discussing something seemingly absurd? How do you all keep a straight face?

TJ: We have not mastered it, especially when we get in those big groups. I’m not going to point any fingers, but sometimes guys like Jared Keeso try to break other characters just for fun. Evan and I run our stuff so many times that we allow ourselves to just fall into it and see what happens. It’s the other characters that often break me, like Gail (Lisa Codrington).

ES: She’s impossible to break, eh? You couldn’t break her if you tried.

TJ: She’s the best and such a nice lady, but when she turns into Gail it’s like ‘what is going on?’

TTVJ: Do you think Stewart will ever return any of Roald’s affections?

TJ: You’ve seen it, but there’s some affection in this recent season. It threw me off a bit. Stewart loves Roald and the Skids. He just has a tough time showing it. He wants the most out of his partner Roald and sometimes Roald just doesn’t come through how Stewart wants.

ES: There’s lofty expectations!

TJ: I said Roald! Evan always comes through.

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TTVJ: How often do you guys get “Stewart” yelled at you?

ES: Well, let me tell you… [laughs] Not as much anymore because I’m not out, but when it’s a normal day in Toronto and I’m just walking around the cars drive by with “Stewart!”

TJ: Evan is so easy to pick out of a crowd too.

TTVJ: Now Evan you were posting a ton of breakdancing related videos during filming of the last Letterkenny season. Do you guys come up with the Skids’ choreography or how does that work?

TJ: It’s Jared’s choreography usually. He’ll get on stage and show us the dance..

ES: [laughs] Do a back flip…

TTVJ: I knew it was him! [laughs]

ES: They give us a lot of freedom to go with our instincts.

TJ: The first few seasons we were given a reference point of a cyber goth dance party underneath the bridge. We just kind of took what we wanted from that and made it our own. From there, Evan won’t give himself credit, but he’s a great dancer, and he’s choreographed our moves on more than one occasion. If there was a Letterkenny choreographer credit it’d probably go to Sternzy.

ES: That’s really nice of you to say, but I feel that you have invented some moves that I don’t think anyone on Earth would have created. I can’t describe it and you really have to see it to believe it. I was blown away!

TJ: Thank you very much. It’s my Blue Steel.

TTVJ: Finally, I just wanted to know how you thought Stewart and Roald would be handling quarantine?

ES: I think they’d be 400km north in some bunker by now. They’d be off the grid.

TJ: Remember when lockdown started happening and Jared Leto came out of a retreat? I think maybe the Skids are in some basement and they just come out not even knowing it happened. They’re off in a bunker somewhere or still locked in a basement. Either way they are without people so others are safe.