In the current television landscape, it’s becoming increasingly rare for a show to get a second season, let alone the 11, critically acclaimed seasons that Letterkenny has delivered to its fans.
The award-winning Canadian sitcom about the residents of a fictional town in rural Ontario chronicles the interactions between the town’s various cliques — informally known as hicks, skids, hockey players, natives, and degens — amid a steady stream of brisk dialogue, ham-fisted brawls, Canadian colloquialisms, and even the occasional dance break.
While series creator Jared Keeso’s character, Wayne, ostensibly leads the show’s ensemble cast, two of the breakout stars of Letterkenny are a pair of drug-dealing goths whose adventures in crime have taken them to the big city and back over the course of the show’s run. “Skids” ringleaders Stewart and Roald, played by Tyler Johnston and Evan Stern, respectively, have become fan-favorite characters (and popular fan-fiction subjects) as their relationship has morphed with each passing season.
With season 11 of Letterkenny now available to stream on Hulu, Digital Trends spoke to Johnston and Stern about the duo’s evolving partnership, getting recognized by fans, streaming on Twitch, and the Letterkenny Live experience.
Digital Trends: Stewart and Roald’s relationship has evolved quite a bit since the early seasons. How would you describe your dynamic these days?
Evan Stern: Best friends, for sure. And maybe … lovers?
Tyler Johnston: Are we still talking about Roald and Stewart?
Stern: I would say we went from a more controller-and-subservient dynamic to something a little bit more, well … Tyler has actually noticed it in the last couple of seasons. He’s been like, “I don’t like how much independence Roald has now!” There’s definitely been a bit of an arc where Roald gets a little bit more, well … let’s call it power?
Johnston: Yeah, it’s changed. And I think in Stewart’s case, he’s realized that close … friends … like Roald don’t come by every day.
Stern: Almost never, for sure.
Johnston: I think Stewart has come to appreciate his … friend … Roald more and more.
Stern: You keep saying “friend,” but I think you’re looking for another word here.
I appreciate the very clear quotation marks around “friend” every time you two say it.
Stern: Yeah, it’s always like, “we’re … friends?”
Some of my favorite moments in the series are when everyone gets together around some common cause. What are those moments like on your side?
Johnston: They don’t want us in the room anymore. They put up tape!
Stern: It’s amazing to work with all the people in the cast. When you get to walk in and see 10 of your best friends in a room, and they’re like, “All right, everybody, let’s start work,” you’re like, “OK, sure!” It just feels nice.
Johnston: It’s really, really fun. It’s kind of like a Royal Rumble sometimes. You put all the characters into a room and let them go at it. We’re all professionals, but some of us try to make each other laugh. Those are usually really, really great days, but Jacob [Tierney, series co-writer and director] and our assistant director usually need to calm us down, pretty much all the time.
Stern: Yeah, that’s fair … We have been barked at a couple times.
Letterkenny has such a wonderful fandom. What was the point when you realized this was something special — that you were part of a show people were going to be quoting at you everywhere you went?
Stern: I was walking home one night after some drinks and these two dudes from Ireland picked me up and started carrying me like I was in a chair, and they were like, “We love Letterkenny!” I was like, “This is wild.” I didn’t know who these dudes were, but it was like, “Oh, wow, we touched Ireland.” That was a moment for me, for sure.
That could have gone a different way. I’m glad it worked out!
Johnston: Like, “I was drinking and these guys grabbed me and carried me away …”
Stern: They picked me up so easily! I mean, I know I’m small, but, wow!
Johnston: There were a couple of moments in this Letterkenny journey for me. One was during the first couple of seasons, when Dylan [Playfair] and Andrew [Herr] were on Canadian TV commercials all the time between hockey and football games. You could not get away from seeing Andrew and Dylan, [who play] Reilly and Jonesy, everywhere.
Another moment was when I went to the airport here in Vancouver and there was a big billboard at the airport running a Letterkenny commercial. That was really cool, and then, of course, when the Hulu sale happened, it took the whole thing to the next level.
Stern: We went international, baby!
Johnston: Similar to Evan, I was actually in Edinburgh [Scotland] with Andrew, and a bartender at this bar we were at didn’t recognize me, but recognized Andrew. He goes, “Are you the guy from Letterkenny?” Andrew was like, “You know about the show?” He said, “Yeah, my roommates here introduced me to the show and we all love it.” Andrew and I still had to pay for the drinks, but …
Stern: … so it was a terrible experience overall.
Johnston: Yeah, totally. But no, really, it was a pretty cool experience in the end.
I guess without the wig and such, you probably don’t get recognized as often, Tyler?
Johnston: Not as much as some of our some of the other actors, no.
Stern: Yeah, you fly under the radar. I was surprised that you wanted to cut your hair in that one episode where you got to reveal your actual face shape!
Where are you hoping to see Roald and Stewart go in future seasons? What are some scenarios you’d like to see the skids explore?
Stern: I would love to see Roald and Stewart do something on their own in the city at some point and go into that city plot just a little more, just to see why the city was so dangerous and why the city is so bad for them. I feel like there’s a lot of opportunity to explore that. We got a bit of it a couple of seasons back, with the drug dealer and how dangerous it can get with [party drug] GHB and all that stuff, but I think we can get a little bit more …
Johnston: He wants more danger!
Stern: I want more danger. I want a little more danger!
Johnston: Me, I’m thinking they should become accountants and try to settle down and crunch numbers. You’ll start to think like, “Oh my God, the skids have really settled in and they’re relaxed. They’ve got a straight-edge job!”
Stern: And then … tax evasion!
Johnston: Money laundering!
Stern: Organized crime!
This feels very Breaking Bad …
Stern: Well, better, obviously …
Evan, you’ve been streaming on Twitch a lot lately. I saw you were gaming during the Letterkenny Live tour and streaming. What’s the Twitch experience like for you and what are you playing these days?
Stern: Here’s the thing: Tyler really is my biggest fan. Every time I do a Twitch stream, I see the little “tylerjbjohnston” tag pop into the chat. It’s always like, “Hey, buddy! How’s it going, buddy?”
Johnston: I’m like, “I love you! I support you!”
Stern: And that’s when I silence my phone. … But I love Twitch. I love the opportunity to connect with fans on a one-on-one basis, because they get in there and we have conversations. We get to play games together! We play a lot of Valorant right now. It’s a first-person shooter, and it’s beautiful. And yeah, Tyler is so supportive of it and it just warms my heart to see my co-worker coming in to say hello occasionally …
Johnston: Co-worker? Or … friend?
Stern: Exactly. I’ve been trying to convince him to join Twitch and to play games with me. And I think I think he’s close. I think we almost got him.
Johnston: What games are you playing, Rick?
I’m still catching up with a lot of games. I just got a PlayStation 5.
Stern: Oh, congratulations!
Johnston: Lucky! Finally got your hands on one!
Circling back to the Letterkenny Live tour, I was able to catch one of the shows, and it was such a fun experience. What was it like for you two doing a live version of the series?
Stern: Which Letterkenny Live show did you go to?
The one in Albany, New York. You weren’t actually at that one, Evan. I think you were under the weather.
Johnston: It was probably a banger, that one.
Stern: I heard that one sucked.
It was great, but you were missed, Evan. So how was the live tour?
Johnston: I’d give it a 25 out of 10, Rick. There’s so much energy when you step onstage. I don’t do stand-up comedy, but I imagine being able to step on a stage and knowing people are going to laugh at anything you say, no matter what you say, is a pretty safe feeling. And getting to share in the energy of this amazing show with our fans in person like that was pretty special.
Stern: Yeah, it was awesome. One thing we got to share with each other, too, was traveling around on a bus. I thought for sure I would get so sick of these people. I had prepared to be like, “Well, I’m not going to talk to Tyler for a year after this.” But we were closer than ever after the tour. It really was a very lovely experience.
All 11 seasons of Letterkenny are available now on the Hulu streaming service.