Calum Worthy goes to the dark side in new television comedy
Busy with several projects, former sitcom star makes time for PACE opening
As luck would have it, the opening weekend for this year’s PACE Musical Theatre revue coincides with Earth Day. So Calum Worthy can be forgiven for missing Thursday’s dress rehearsal for the 32nd edition of Sooke School District’s musical-comedy show his mother, Sandra Webster-Worthy, has staged over three decades. The Victoria-born actor was busy hanging out at the Avalon Hollywood nightclub Thursday night with Robert Kennedy Jr. and his wife, actor Cheryl Hines, for a live comedy fundraiser for the Waterkeeper Alliance.
“I’m a huge advocate for the environment, so I was excited to be able to lend my voice to the cause,” said the former
Austin & Ally star, whose comedy routine poked fun at his Disney experiences.
Considering how busy Worthy, 26, has been since his hit Disney Channel sitcom went off the air, he says it’s a miracle he was able to come home again this year to inspire a new generation of performers.
“I just really believe in this program. It had such a huge impact on me, giving me a lot of the confidence I have, even using it to go onstage with Robert Kennedy,” he said.
The PACE alumnus has recently been putting his homegrown skills to use on a multitude of projects — so many, you have to wonder how he finds time to sleep or see his girlfriend of two years, actor Celesta Deastis.
Although he says he would have loved to bring his sweetheart home this year, she’s busy working on an episode of TruTV’s series Adam Ruins Everything.
He can currently be seen delivering a surprisingly edgy performance as Owen, a flawed character who live-streams himself having sex with a hook-up in the millennial-targeted Fullscreen series Cassandra French’s Finishing School. His character is kidnapped by Jessica Renee Russell’s title character and locked in a basement, “where I’m tortured into becoming a better man.”
The dark comedy series about the perils of modern dating can be seen globally on fullscreen.com, home to the commercial-free online subscription service.
He’ll also soon be seen in a new Netflix 10-part series he says he can’t discuss yet, except to say it involves CBS and the
Funny Or Die team. “They’re spoofing one of their own shows, and it’s unlike anything I’ve ever done before,” says Worthy, who has also landed a pilot deal for a show he created for a major network.
Worthy spent time in Montreal last year shooting Lost Generation, a new TV series about free-spirited clubgoers.
On his down time, he learned how to “battle-rap” via Skype for his role in music video director Joseph Kahn’s battle rappers movie Bodied.
“I was so nervous, working with all these battle rappers who work with Eminem,” he said. “I had to go up against them. But they’re great guys and so much fun.”
Although he says he’s a fan of rap and the Eminem film 8 Mile, he had no idea how to rap before shooting began.
“Now half the contacts on my phone are from the underground battle rap community,” he said with a laugh, rattling off names including Dizaster and Kid Twist.
As always, Worthy will sign autographs, greet hometown fans and appear onstage during the opening-weekend performances of It’s a Musical! at Isabelle Reader Theatre.
He said he’s particularly excited about this year’s show, since it features music from more contemporary musicals,
including La La Land, Hamilton, Something Rotten, Matilda and Seussical.
If the show had taken place next weekend, Worthy says he wouldn’t have been able to make it, since he’ll be reuniting with Al Gore to lead the People’s Climate March in Washington, D.C.
It will be the first time he’s seen the former U.S. vice-president since December, when the two reunited in New Jersey for the second annual broadcast of Climate Realty Project’s 24-hour climatechange telethon.
“I really hope Trump is there next weekend,” said Worthy, a critic of the U.S. administration’s apparent climate-change denial and unwillingness to address big environmental issues.
“All I wish is that we’d talk more about the incredible achievements we’re now seeing locally, since the head of the Environmental Protection Agency really isn’t doing anything to help the environment,” he said.
“A lot of people in the States have realized that we can’t rely on people in government to fix this, so it’s on us. A lot of this change will happen in the private sector now.”
Meanwhile, Worthy has thrown his support behind his former Claremont Secondary School teacher Mark Neufeld, the B.C. Greens party candidate for Saanich South.
“It’s because of him that as a student, I was motivated to make a difference. He really helped shape the way I see the world,” said Worthy, who co-founded a Teens Against Climate Change club in Grade 11.
Calum Worthy in the dark comedy Cassandra French’s Finishing School. He plays a character who is kidnapped and locked in a basement, and “tortured into becoming a better man.”
Calum Worthy with girlfriend Celesta Deastis.