He’s known for playing Constable Crabtree on the long-running historical hit Murdoch Mysteries, and now Jonny Harris is leaping ahead in time to host Still Standing (premieres June 23, CBC).
The new series chronicles his visits to small towns across Canada, where the Newfoundland-born actor immerses himself in their unique culture and traditions before treating townspeople to a stand-up comedy show.
Jonny tells Hello! he’s happy to share his sense of humour with Murdoch fans. “They’ll see something different and new [from me], but I think they’ll like it. The whole thing is done in an affectionate and warm-hearted way,” says the ready-for-anything host. “I think Canadians have an affinity for their small towns. I think small town people and city folk alike will really enjoy it.”
Here, Jonny gives us five more reasons to join him on his hilarious cross-Canada adventure.
HAVE A LAUGH
Travelling with work is always a bonus and, with this show, we go to places you’d never end up in. I’ve also become the world’s most efficient tourist. I get there and over five days I speak to all of the main characters in the town and get to sample a lot of the cool things that there are to do there. Then we put the people I’ve met in the front row for a comedy show. So you’ll see me talking to the goat farmer, and then we cut to me on stage telling a joke about her and hopefully she’s laughing, not wagging a finger at me.
It’s wrong to think that people from small towns wouldn’t cut it in the city. There are a lot of brilliant, self-reliant people out there. There are a lot of people who have come up with all kinds of ingenious ways to create projects, industries and work so that they can stay in the towns that they love.
EMBRACE THE ADVENTURE
I’ve found that in the communities we visited people make their own fun. It’s crazy and brilliant. I’m not an adrenaline junkie, but I’ve been white water rafting and demolition derby racing out in a field. One guy had endless acreage and these old trucks that we were tearing around in. It was the most fun I’ve ever had.
I grew up in a small town so I’m always rooting for them. I’m not ashamed to say it. I think that a lot of my stand-up comedy has been based on my upbringing. We lived in a small fishing town but my dad was a British philosophy professor at Memorial University of Newfoundland in St. John’s. Then I got transferred to school in St. John’s and suddenly I was a kid from the bay surrounded by preppy townies. I went from that to being a Newfoundlander in Toronto. So I’ve always been a bit of a fish out of water but I think that works for the show.
A NEW SIDE OF THE TV STAR
When I first saw the first episode of Murdoch Mysteries, I was sure that I would be replaced immediately. I couldn’t believe I was seeing myself on TV. I’m more comfortable in my skin now. If I had to have one of the cast join me on a road trip, I’d say Georgina Reilly [who plays Dr. Emily Grace]. But we’re all good buddies on the show. We enjoy each other’s company.