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A greasy caveman visits the Rockies

Spencer Rice of Kenny vs. Spenny and Sam Tarasco of Trailer Park Boys flank Jasperite Dave Kaufmann at the Whistle Stop Pub April 10. C. Gilbert photo

Imagine there’s a phone at work and it’s usually your regular phone but sometimes when it rings, it’s because you’ve been included in the latest season of Trailer Park Boys (TPB).

Other times, it’s a tour manager with a chance to perform in the Rocky Mountains and knock Jasper off your bucket list.

That’s the life of the real guy behind the irresistibly repulsive and apparently impossible to kill “Greasy Caveman” of Sunnyvale Trailer Park, Sam Losco.

Sam Tarasco, as he’s known at his regular job as a production supervisor and talent manager for Substance Entertainment Group, took the stage at Jasper’s Whistle Stop Pub on April 10 as part of the Western Canada Comedy Tour featuring Spencer Rice of Kenny vs. Spenny fame.

Riding a new lease on life thanks to Netflix, the show that made Tarasco an all-Canadian cult star just debuted its eleventh full season.

The core series ended things the first time around at season seven. After a hiatus, Mike Smith, Robb Wells and John Paul Tremblay, who write the scripts and portray lead characters Bubbles, Ricky and Julian, parted ways with founding director Mike Clattenburg and took it upon themselves to keep the show going in one form or another. They’re now credited as producers on the show based on those characters they’ve been developing since the 1990s.

Tarasco tends to downplay his importance as a recurring character in the scheme of things but he appears in every season but three and five, all but driving the core plot of season two as he tried to conquer the park as its duly elected trailer park supervisor.

That season, which Tarasco calls his favourite, represents the first time the boys aligned with their perpetual nemesis, Jim Lahey, to avoid an even worse fate in Supervisor Losco.

“I’m not a big enough character to have any input on what’s done,” Tarasco said after his Jasper set. “I’m basically told what my role is each and every year and I thank them every time they call me and don’t badmouth them when they don’t. It’s as simple as that.”

Another notable recurring character: West Coast rap legend Snoop Dogg, weaves his effortless cool into seasons 10 and 11.

Coincidentally, that’s the antitheses of the spirit that drives TPB in the first place: haste makes waste, and haste when you’re wasted makes great comedy.

Tarasco, a Toronto native who transplanted to Nova Scotia where TPB is filmed, credits the show’s resurgence to the “great” directors it has employed of late, people like Warren Sonada and Ron Murphy, who are able to channel the vision because they’re dialed in to the characters.

“Ron Murphy is a brilliant director,” Tarasco said. “He was something else. He brought out shit … I was surprised how well I did because I wasn’t comfortable talking with those great people (on the show). It was really hard.”

Tarasco spends most of his days booking rap shows for Substance, with some time on the road with other performers.

“Meeting people everywhere is the best, and this was one of my wish list places, I’d never been here,” Tarasco said of Jasper. “My brother comes skiing here all the time but this was my chance to come here and the crowd was amazing.”

The rest of the time, Tarasco stays humble and keeps it light.

“I call and I give them suggestions but they don’t necessarily use them,” he laughed. “I just hope for the call and I try and do my best. I try to make it as real as possible and that’s what the fun is.”

Craig Gilbert | publisher@fitzhugh.ca

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