The Crave TV and Hulu show Letterkenny has solidified itself as one of my all-time favorite shows, and so much of that is due to the unique writing. The pacing is quick, the dialogue is often strange and the show is packed with numerous catchphrases that, to be fair, often help fans identify each other in the wild. Something I have often wondered is how much of the script is read verbatim versus how much improvisation happens during shooting. I recently spoke with the cast and the director about Letterkenny’s tenth season and the upcoming Shoresy spinoff, and took the opportunity to learn how much freedom they have to stray from the script. Director, writer and actor Jacob Tierney, who plays Glen, stated that the show doesn’t go down exactly as fans might expect, revealing:
You know, there’s so much dialogue in this show. There’s nowhere near as much improv as people think. It’s largely scripted dialogue and also the scripts are so rhythmic and the pace is so specific that improv, it’ll happen, of course it’s a comedy, it happens, but it doesn’t happen very often. K. Trevor Wilson, who plays Squirrely Dan, a character who has a unique dialogue that’s all his own, seemed to echo Jacob’s statement, adding: It’s all there on the page. We’re given the freedom to make it our own, you know, whether that’s like, “Hey, I think my character would say it more like this”, or, you know, every once in a while you just come up with a cheeky line and you throw it in there. But the nice thing is we have the freedom to collaborate. It’s all there on the page. But if we come up with an idea, Jared and Jacob are always open to listen. And sometimes this seems organically changed through that collaboration, but it’s all there on the page to begin with.
I figured that there must be some elements on the show that weren’t planned or at least happen more organically. As Jacob Tierney mentioned, it is a comedy, after all. These assumptions were confirmed once I was able to speak with the Skids. Evan Stern, who plays Roald, discussed where improv does come into play, noting:I mean, it’s heavily scripted. The fact that Tyler and I get together the night before and run it 400 times, I think can tell you how tight it is. But then the improv comes at either the beginning or the end of a scene for a bit like, uh, Jacob won’t cut a scene until he’s seen you suffer enough. So he’ll just let it run and then you’ll be forced to improvise at the end. That’s generally what happens. And none of the physicality is scripted. So if I come in on his back, that’s not in the script.
Melanie Scrofano, who plays the gin and tonic-drinkin’ Mrs McMurray, echoed the sentiment about the physicality of the show, while even citing a specific, uh, erotic, example: That’s the thing I would’ve said is that it’s like, the script is the Bible to me, but then, I get very awkward and uncomfortable. And so my improv comes physically. I’ll force feed a banana to someone. If the above scene description got your attention (Season 8, Episode 4, start at 10 minutes in, you’re welcome), then hop on over and check out our lists of the best Letterkenny episodes and the show’s best characters, or get a glimpse of Shoresy’s face as we wait for the spinoff to drop on Hulu (opens in new tab). You’re also welcome to check out some of the other Hulu shows that we recommend.