Profession: Actor and comedian
Hometown: Tisdale, Saskatchewan
– Creator, head writer, executive producer and star of Corner Gas
– In 2008 was presented with the Comedy Network's Sir Peter Ustinov Award, an honour he shares with Bob Newhart, John Cleese and John Candy
– Married to his co-star on Corner Gas and Hiccups, Nancy Robertson
The second-season finale of Hiccups is scheduled for Sunday, Aug. 28
He’s the man behind one of Canada’s most successful sitcoms, Corner Gas.
Brent Butt is best known for his role as the meek gas station owner Brent Leroy, but he wore several hats on the set. He was the creator, head writer and executive producer of the award-winning sitcom. Nowadays, he has his hands full with another comedy series, Hiccups. And to get to work, he still drives the same car he bought during the first season of Corner Gas. It’s a 2004 Volkswagen Jetta sedan.
Why did you buy a Jetta?
I really liked the look of it. I still like the look of it.
It’ll catch me a certain way and I just go, that’s a good-looking car.
The Jetta of that era had a distinct shape – there were so few cars that did. So many cars had the same ubiquitous, soft rounded style you couldn’t tell one from the other. To me, the Jetta had a distinct look – you could tell it was a Jetta from two blocks away. I didn’t care when they changed the style a couple of years later to a more rounded style.
I’m a practical individual when it comes to cars. It feels like it’s a much bigger car. The trunk and the interior space is huge.
I’m a goalie and when I play hockey I have a goalie bag bigger than most goalie bags and people see me wheeling that thing to the Jetta – it’s almost as big as the Jetta – and you can tell they’re laughing. What’s the moron think he’s going to do with that bag? I open the trunk, throw the bag in and close it – it’s like a magic trick.
What does a VW Jetta say about you?
Studly. Hot to trot. Quite a catch. Okay, practical.
You hit it big with Corner Gas – why didn't you trade up to a luxury car?
You know I'm in Canadian show business, right?
Also, it was the end of Season One – we didn't know it was going to go for six seasons. We all expected Season One to be the end. Historically Canadian sitcoms don't have a glorious track record of longevity.
There are times when I try and talk myself into upgrading every now and then, but it comes down to the fact I really like this vehicle, it's bought and paid for and it's running like a dream.
I was raised by Depression-era Prairies people. I was the youngest of seven and there wasn't a lot of dough to go around. Having a vehicle that's bought and paid for is fantastic.
What was your first car?
My very first vehicle was a 1969 Toyota Corolla. It was $550 bucks. I got a loan from my father and paid him bi-weekly instalments.
It was a little four-speed with the craziest shifter I had ever seen in my life. It seemed like it was four feet long; it was a tall, skinny thing that came straight out of the floor board – it didn’t seem to have a base to it all.
I ended up selling it for a couple of bucks more than I paid for it.
What came afterwards?
That was replaced by a 1975 Dodge Dart Sport 225.
A three-quarter vinyl roof and a little metallic body. It was very gorgeous. I really liked it.
That was replaced briefly by a ’76 Nova with a 350 in it. It was a real lemon. It fell apart. It had wiring issues, mechanical issues; you couldn’t fire it up.
I got rid of that for a little pickup truck, a GMC S15 with a long box. That was a terrific vehicle. It had almost 200,000 kilometres when I bought it and I put another 200,000 km on it. It was running like a dream. I ended up giving that to the police.
That was around the time I got into stand-up. I was living in Saskatoon and I had it parked on the street and unbeknownst to me a parade was coming down the street and all the vehicles had to be off. So it got towed and I didn’t have the money to get it out. They were saying, “You owe $1,800!” It’s not worth it; how about you just keep it? That was my last vehicle until I bought my Jetta in 2004.
Do you like to drive fast – have you had any speeding tickets?
I’ve had lots of speeding tickets. I’ve never gotten off.
I got out of having my car towed. I was parked at a buddy’s place in Vancouver and I had a mental lapse. I parked where I knew between 3-6 p.m. you’d get towed.
We were out on his balcony and I looked down and the tow truck came and I said. “That’s my car – do you know where you’re towing it?” I learned long ago you don’t start by saying, hey what the hell are you doing?! You start by being on their side. He told me and then said, “Are you from Corner Gas?” I got the ticket, but he didn’t tow it.”
You seem to have a track record of having your car towed?
I’ve had it happen a few times.
I had a buddy’s car towed one time and that was the worst. I talked him into letting me use his vehicle to do a gig. He was in love with his vehicle – he treated it like gold. He was kind enough to let me borrow it and I had it towed. Everything I made from the gig that night paid to get it back.
If I could bring you the keys to any vehicle what would it be?
I’m pretty in love with the Audi A7 right now.
One time we had 12 Lamborghinis on an episode of Corner Gas – there’s something sexy about it, but at the same time, what would I ever do with it? You can’t drive on gravel with it. You can’t bring a book with you – you got to mail it to where you’re going because there’s no room for anything.
So, the A7 is sexy and powerful looking, but at the same time I could see myself going to the grocery store with it.
The interview has been edited and condensed.