© Submitted photo
Corner Brook native Trent McLellan poses with a copy of Lisa Moore’s book, “February,” which the comedian will defend as part of the Canada Reads program airing on CBC radio and television in February.
CORNER BROOK — Trent McLellan likes to look at the world around him, soak up the circumstances of his life and then try to squeeze out whatever he finds funny.
Recently married and the owner of a new puppy, the comedian who hails from Corner Brook certainly has a good place to start looking for new material.
For instance, he and his wife have found training their rambunctious Staffordshire Bull Terrier is far different from dog-sitting a four-year-old, well-trained pooch for some friends.
“We may have patted ourselves on the back for being such good dog people a little too early,” joked McLellan during an interview from his current home in Calgary.
He’ll be bringing some of his new jokes and observations back home with him when he returns to Corner Brook as part of his “Sit, Listen and Laugh Tour” on March 2. So far, Corner Brook is the lone confirmed date, but there are more to be announced soon.
“It’s kind of nice when you can just take your life and start plugging it into your job,” he said. “That’s the kind of attitude I want to take on.”
Unlike his previous hometown appearances in mostly nightclub settings — excluding a brief opening performance for headliner Gerry Dee last spring — McLellan will be opting for the soft seats of the Arts and Culture Centre this time around.
“All those bars were great and it always worked out great, but it was just time to take it to a bigger venue,” said McLellan. “I opened for Gerry Dee at different theatre shows and people seem to see it as more of a night out. They just seem to have a different attitude towards a show in a venue like the Arts and Culture Centre.”
Before he comes to Corner Brook, McLellan will be exposed to another new venue. He has been selected as one of the five panelists for this year’s Canada Reads program on CBC Radio.
Canada Reads involves the chosen panelists reading a selection of books by Canadian authors representing different regions of the country. Their job is to defend the book from their region during a series of live debates that will air and stream online Feb. 11-14.
The shows will also be televised on CBC-TV from Feb. 12-15.
McLellan will defend the Atlantic region’s contender, which is “February” by Lisa Moore of Newfoundland and Labrador. The book is a fictional work that is based on the all-too-true events surrounding the Ocean Ranger offshore oil rig disaster that killed all of its 84-man crew in a vicious Valentine’s Day storm in the North Atlantic in 1982.
McLellan was a young kid at the time, but remembers his grandfather telling him the news and explaining to him what the Ocean Ranger was.
“I think that book has a good shot of going all the way,” he said.
The comedian figures it was his past appearances on The Debaters — another CBC radio program — and an introduction to Canada Reads host Jian Gomeshi last year that helped the producers consider him as a panelist.
He got the call and was flown to Toronto for a media launch, not knowing who any of the other panelists were.
“So, I’m there at the CBC studios in Toronto and I’m the first one there,” recalled McLellan. “I turn around and there’s Ron McLean (of Hockey Night in Canada fame). Ron walks up to me and says ‘You’re Trent, right?’
“Then it hit me that (MacLean) is one of the other panelists. Later on, he quoted one of my jokes while we were talking about hockey. Then, I was like, OK, here we go — this is on!”
McLellan hopes the Canada Reads experience and his upcoming tour will lead to another of his career goals.
“I want to record a live show towards the end of the year for a DVD or an online download,” he said.
Tickets for the show in Corner Brook went on sale Wednesday.