Q&A WITH DAN LEVY

The Great Cana­dian Bak­ing Show host Dan Levy on oven drama, queer char­ac­ters and work­ing with his dad

Reader's Digest (Canada) - - Front Page - BY COURT­NEY SHEA IL­LUS­TRA­TION BY AIMÉE VAN DRIMMELEN

You’re al­ready the star and showrun­ner of the hit com­edy Schitt’s Creek. What made you de­cide to also get in­volved with a bak­ing se­ries?

I was binge-watch­ing The Great British Bak­ing Show and tweeted that if it ever came to Canada, I’d love to host it. I went to sleep and woke up to a mil­lion re­sponses say­ing it is com­ing here and I should do it.

Then I got the call from CBC ask­ing, “Are you se­ri­ous?”

Why do you think food re­al­ity shows are so pop­u­lar?

Peo­ple like the pos­i­tiv­ity. It’s a show about try­ing to im­prove your­self—the

com­pe­ti­tion is be­tween the baker and their oven. And it’s sus­pense­ful! You might think, How much sus­pense can you have in a show about bak­ing? But there is high anx­i­ety in find­ing out if the bot­tom of your pie has baked all the way through.

How would you rate your kitchen skills to­day ver­sus be­fore you started the show?

I had no skills go­ing into this, and I con­tinue to have no skills. I have no de­sire to ac­tu­ally bake. I’m in this to eat the food.

Your first role on TV was as co-host of The Hills: The Af­ter Show, where you re­capped the an­tics of a clique of L.A. rich girls. What did you gain from that ex­pe­ri­ence?

I def­i­nitely learned to be com­fort­able be­ing my­self in front of a cam­era, which is more chal­leng­ing than you might guess. I’d like to think the ma­chine is well oiled at this point.

Who are big­ger drama queens: Amer­i­can party girls or Cana­dian home cooks?

I would say equal drama, but I pre­fer this drama. It’s a lot safer.

Schitt’s Creek will air its fifth sea­son in the new year. Why do you think it con­tin­ues to pick up steam?

Get­ting on Net­flix a few years ago was a big win. Also, there’s this dark po­lit­i­cal cloud hang­ing over us right now, and Schitt’s Creek is 21 min­utes of joy. The re­sponse we got when it first aired was, “It’s re­ally funny. We like it.” But with Trump, it’s,

“We need it.”

Your char­ac­ter David is pan­sex­ual. Why was that im­por­tant to you?

Even in 2018 I don’t get to see a lot of sto­ries on TV about queer peo­ple, and what I do see is like an af­ter­school spe­cial. To have a queer char­ac­ter on our show who’s just liv­ing his life, em­braced by fam­ily and friends and com­mu­nity, and it’s not a big thing or a big les­son—I think that’s more pow­er­ful.

Schitt’s Creek also stars your dad, Eu­gene Levy. What have you learned from him about com­edy?

So many things. Do­ing the show with my dad and Catherine O’Hara has been a master class. The les­son that re­ally sticks is the idea that great com­edy comes from some­thing truth­ful. Char­ac­ters can be out­ra­geous, but they also have to be rooted in real hu­man emo­tion. That’s the con­nec­tive tis­sue. Peo­ple love to laugh, and a lot of what they’re laugh­ing at is see­ing them­selves re­flected back at them.

The sec­ond sea­son of The Great Cana­dian Bak­ing Show pre­mieres Septem­ber 19.

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