Brent Butt shares his top Vancouver cultural spots

ROBERT DE LINT, COURTESY OF CORNER GAS ANIMATED/THE COMEDY NETWORK
Brent Butt voices Brent Leroy in 'Corner Gas Animated' ROBERT DE LINT, COURTESY OF CORNER GAS ANIMATED/THE COMEDY NETWORK

Brent Butt is really animated lately — literally. His animated revival of the classic Canadian sitcom Corner Gas is a big hit on The Comedy Network (Mondays at 8 p.m. ET/PT).

As the creator, co-executive producer and star of Corner Gas Animated, the comedian says he finds the new format creatively freeing.

"There were more freedoms and not really any limitations," he tells . "For example, we couldn’t have done the pop-up fantasy scene between a Sasquatch and a unicorn. I mean, we could with CGI I suppose, but in the live-action show, we were limited by budget, time and the laws of society and physics."

While Corner Gas Animated is set in the sleepy, fictional town of Dog River, Saskatchewan, Butt actually lives in Vancouver with his wife and co-star Nancy Robertson.

As part of our #MyArtsculture series, we checked in to ask Butt about his favourite local cultural spots.

Brent can you tell us about your favourite restaurant in Vancouver?

Brent ButtIt changes from time to time, but my wife and I love going to L’Ufficio. We call it the office. Whenever we want to pop-up for something, we say, “Let’s go down to the office!”

Where do you go to spot some homegrown comedy talent right now?

Brent ButtI love going down to The Comedy MIX on Burrard and watch the young comics there killing it. I’ve been out of the club scene for a while and it’s great to see comics there for the first time, even though they’ve been in the trenches for five or six years doing great work, while I’ve been coasting like a fat cat. People like Katie Allen Humphries and Chris James, for example.

Is Vancouver a place for comedians and creatives to grow and thrive?

Brent ButtHistorically, it’s not a place where live shows do well. Like a Winnipeg or Edmonton where live performers rave about the audience support from everything to bar bands, dinky plays or bigger shows. I think people in Vancouver are doing other stuff: they’re out in the woods, skiing or on a boat and not as responsive to shows. It’s not so easy for the performer to fill a venue, as 11 people might show up. However, one of the by-products of that is that people do stuff just for the sake of doing it. Your career isn’t hanging on every show, so you get creative people experimenting more freely.

Have you bought any local art lately? Can you tell us about it?

Brent ButtWe bought a Fred Herzog print taken on the Kingsway from the 1950s. He’s a legendary Vancouver photographer and each image of his tells a fantastic story. Recently, a bunch of photographs and negatives of his were found and printed in a book — we have the book, too. Thank God the world got to know him; he has such an amazing eye and captures incredible moments.

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About Robert J. Ballantyne

Robert Ballantyne is Artsculture's Creative Director. Previously, he was a journalist at the CBC on a number of news programs including the fifth estate, Marketplace and The National. He also worked as a staff writer at the Toronto Star and other media outlets.

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