"I probably would have been voted Most Likely to Be in the Back of a Police Car. So it is a bit of an irony."
– Tara Spencer-Nairn
Guy MacPherson: My good friend Tara.
Tara Spencer-Nairn: My good friend Guy.
GM: I'm gonna use that.
GM: You're from Vancouver, aren't you?
TSN: I am originally from Vancouver. I'm a bit of a transplant. I used to live in California, but now I do Vancouver and Toronto and Regina. I cheer for the Canucks. I have an apartment in Toronto, but I'm not very good in cold weather.
GM: Where did you grow up?
TSN: I grew up in Vancouver.
TSN: That's all you wanted. I was giving you the roundabout. I'm a west coast kid.
GM: I'm from Vancouver.
TSN: There you go. Now we're really good friends.
GM: You are the person who said the funniest line in season one, in my opinion.
TSN: The surveillance bush?
TSN: My best friend Jennifer?
GM: Nope. It was kind of a quiet line, but I love it. And I have all the shows on tape, by the way.
TSN: Me, too! What's the funniest line?
GM: "Wow! Sparrows can do 40!"
TSN: (laughs) Do you think they can?
GM: I don't think so.
TSN: Yeah, me neither. That's so funny. It's the lines where you really have to pay attention, make sure you're not laughing too loud or you'll miss them. Those little lines.
GM: And it's interesting: with no laugh track or audience, people will either see the show and love it, get it; other people will go, 'ah, it's boring. Change it. Canadian.'
TSN: I looked on this chat line and there were these two kids who didn't like it, but other than that most people are really gravitating to it.
GM: The reputation of Canadian comedy, right...
TSN: Canadian television.
GM: But when you signed up, or auditioned – I assumed you auditioned.
TSN: Oh no. Things just get offered to me.
GM: You must have thought, 'Okay, Canadian sitcom.'
TSN: I was so scared.
GM: Either it's gonna last three weeks and no one's going to watch it, or conversely in Canada, it's going to last 15 years ... and no one's going to watch it.
GM: But this is incredible.
TSN: Honestly, I was really scared. Because five years ago I had an idea of where my career was going to go and how things were going to be and this and this. But things don't always turn out the way you think they do. I mean, eventually they will. I was really scared when I booked this. I mean, I was excited. I knew I liked the writing. I mean, I loved the writing because when I went into my audition it was so easy to learn the dialogue. It just happened like that, which to me is a sign of good writing. I liked the people that were involved. I'd met Brent. Really liked him. But at the same time, I was still scared, going, 'This is Canada: Even if it's good, no one watches it. And if it's bad no one watches. This could be it.' I knew it was good as soon as we all got to Regina and sat down and did the first table read. And I knew it was going to be a great show. Because they hired every single character. Do you know what I mean?
TSN: They hired the right person. They didn't cop out and try to hire a Canadian name, whoever that is. They hired the right person for the job.
GM: Great acting chops, and great attention to detail.
TSN: That's Brent.
GM: It's the Gilligan's Island of the new generation.
TSN: (stiffly) Um, okay, it was very nice meeting you... No, everything came together perfectly. It's amazing how it's just right.
GM: You're playing a cop, which is against type, I would imagine.
TSN: Total irony.
GM: Why? Have you been arrested?
TSN: No. Well, I did get a ticket once for drinking in the park. But if you go back to my friends in high school...
GM: Where did you go?
TSN: I went to a couple. I got kicked out of a few (laughs). I graduated from Shawnigan Lake, but I got kicked out of Crofton House.
GM: For drinking?
TSN: No, I got kicked out of Crofton for many reasons. I had a bit of an attitude problem.
GM: But that's all changed.
TSN: Oh yeah! I've learned how to conform.
GM: But you were saying about your friends from high school.
TSN: Yeah, I probably would have been voted Most Likely to Be in the Back of a Police Car. So it is a bit of an irony.
GM: It's good that you get this chance to--
TSN: I love the character. I love the character.
GM: The writers seem to give all the characters equal time.
TSN: Which is great. Which is probably why we don't have a lot of guest stars, either. But it keeps it an interesting story, because there are eight lead characters to focus on with such different lives. And because it's such a small town, their lives are intertwined. So I think it keeps it fresh; it keeps it interesting.
GM: You live in Regina for part of the year.
GM: For how many months?
TSN: Four months. You know, I don't mind it. At first, I was like, 'Ugh, how am I going to do it?' But there are a lot of things I'm really learning to appreciate. Living in two different big cities, you learn how to run away a lot. Like, 'Oh, things aren't going well. I'll just hop on a plane and go to the next.' It's easy to distract yourself. Here, it's sort of, I'm here, I'm working, I can't really take off so I just enjoy the peace, the quiet and the nice pace.
GM: In the show, you usually have your hair back.
TSN: I never get recognized. When I was just in Vancouver over hiatus, I was at a friend's baby shower. And there was this girl there that I'd never met. She's like, 'Oh, so-and-so was saying that you're part of that show Corner Gas. What do you do on it? Are you a writer?' I was like, 'No, I play the cop.' She was like, 'Really?' I like it, though.
GM: That's good. You get the best of both worlds.
TSN: You know what? It's a good thing. At first you're like, 'I wanna be recognized!' But then afterwards, like when I see Brent trying to go for dinner in the city, I'm like, 'You know what? I'm pretty happy.'
GM: And then you can also get people's real opinions: "Hey, you ever watch that show Corner Gas?" "Yeah, it sucks!"
TSN: "Yeah, I know nothing about that show. Never seen it; just heard about it."
GM: Do you have a favourite scene or moment from last season?
TSN: My favourite episode was the episode with Karen and Hank going fishing. I mean, we just had such a great time. It was such a blast. It was actually a brutal shooting day because we were down by the water and it was about 35 degrees and there were little aphids everywhere. Literally you were eating them. Just dripping in sweat and eating them. But we just had such a great time.
GM: When you read the original scripts... I imagine you've read scripts before and have been hired on. You think the script is pretty good then it turns out to be awful.
TSN: It's pretty hard, because you can read a script... I mean, I'm a pretty bad judge. I can read a script and go, 'That wasn't that bad.' But it's so hard to tell because there are so many different elements that come together when you shoot it. And that's why I think Corner Gas is so successful, because the chain is so strong. There's not one weak link as far as writing, acting, directing, wardrobe. We have one of the greatest crews. I mean, hair and make-up. Everything came together.
GM: But if there were one weak link, who would that be?
TSN: (pouty) Me.
GM: Which cast member is expendable?
TSN: It might be Brent, actually. I think Brent. Yeah, definitely. (laughs) Or, you know, you don't really need two cops in a small town. I could easily get the old boot.
GM: How long can this thing last?
TSN: I don't know.
GM: And would you want to be a part of it?
TSN: Of course.
GM: You said you had ideas about where your career and life would be.
TSN: I'm having a great time. It's a lot of fun. You know what the nicest thing I've heard about the show is? Someone in Regina was telling me, someone my age, said he actually tapes the show and then on the weekends goes and watches it with his parents because they love the show. They watch it together. That's pretty cool.
GM: It appeals to all.
TSN: And it's nice that families can watch it together. What a wonderful thing to come out of that.
GM: Like Brent's standup – I don't know if you've ever seen it.
TSN: I have seen it. It's all right. I don't know what everyone's so big on Brent for.
GM: It appeals to everyone. He doesn't alienate anyone.
TSN: He's not dirty, he doesn't swear, he doesn't do dirty jokes. He's very clean but he's very funny and very creative. And I think that's a bigger challenge.
GM: The biggest shock is seeing a Canadian series not set in the 1800s.
TSN: We were thinking of doing maybe a musical episode, like the Simpsons. But you're not going to catch me singing anywhere. I lip synch the national anthem.