'Being Canadian' filmmaker Rob Cohen passes AP's Canuck test

Staff Writer
Columbus Monthly

LOS ANGELES (AP) — In "Being Canadian," Los Angeles-based comedy writer and director Rob Cohen seeks to dispel, or at least poke fun at, some of the canards about being a Canuck. A native of Calgary, Cohen takes a cross-country road trip, tackles the assumption that all Canadians are "nice," examines their perennial inferiority complex toward the U.S., and unravels why for much of its history, the Canadian Football League had only eight names for its nine teams.

Cohen interviews such famous Canadians as Dan Aykroyd, Mike Meyers, Seth Rogen and Alex Trebek in the documentary, which debuts in the U.S. on Friday in a few theaters and online outlets.

Since this reporter is also a Canadian based in Los Angeles, we probed the depths of Cohen's Canadian-ness with our own list of questions. The interview has been edited for brevity.


Q: What's your favorite beer: Kokanee, Molson Canadian, Labatt's Blue, Budweiser, Tecate, Big Rock's Grasshopper, Moosehead, or Sleeman's Cream Ale?

A: My favorite beer is not in that pile: Lethbridge Pilsner. But out of that pile, I take Sleeman's. I like Kokanee too, but I think Sleeman's tastes better.

Q: Is pilsner a style of beer or a brand of beer?

A: Pilsner is a style and they made that in Lethbridge. I just thought Labatt's and stuff was OK, but for some reason, I mean, when you're a kid, you'll drink anything. There are some very blurry time periods in Grade 9 that I attribute to that.

Q: What's your favorite memory from the 1988 Calgary Olympics?

A: It was watching Alberto Tomba win the men's giant downhill right in front of me. I climbed the hill, got to the finish line and thought it was a crappy spot. And then Alberto Tomba won, and swished to a finish right there.

Q: I think I saw one of the big ski jump things. Who was that guy, Eddie the Eagle?

A: Yeah, I think he did OK, but he was more of a character. Everybody loved him. He looked like Bubbles from the Trailer Park Boys. Crazy Coke bottle glasses. I remember seeing him in a mall in Calgary and it was very exciting. Just having the Olympics in Calgary was crazy and seeing the Calgary Tower lit up like a torch was really cool.

Q: Where were you when Wayne Gretzky was traded to the LA Kings?

A: I was sadly here in LA. As a Calgarian, I was thrilled. As a Canadian, I couldn't believe it. It was like our Princess Di accident. I literally made a bet with my friend that it would never happen and I felt so cocky. And then he got traded.

Q: When did you stop paying taxes to Canada?

A: When I shot something there, which was in 2010.

Q: There is some kind of tax-sharing agreement where even if you make income here and you're a Canadian citizen, you're supposed to kick some money back, but nobody does it.

A: That's so weird.

Q: If you did, you would get 500 points for being super Canadian.

A: I'll apologize for not doing it. That'll shore up some of my Canadian-ness.

Q: Have you ever been in a hockey pool?

A: Yes. Fantasy hockey? Oh yeah.

Q: Have you ever won your hockey pool?

A: No. It's impossible. There are too many teams, there's too many games, there's too many players, there's too many injuries. The season's really long, so you can't do it. But football, limited positions, short season. Usually your quarterback makes it all year and points are easier to come by than in hockey.

Q: Who is Connor McDavid?

A: Is he a Canadian tennis player? I don't know, I guess a Canadian hockey player.

Q: I had to look it up. He's the top draft pick, now with the Oilers, 18 years old.

A: If he's an Edmonton guy, then I think I'm provincially prohibited from being interested.

Q: Have you ever been at a sporting event between American and Canadian teams and found yourself singing the "Star Spangled Banner?"

A: Never. Even though I know it, I have never sung it. I challenge any American to sing "O Canada" top to bottom because every Canadian can sing "Star Spangled Banner" top to bottom.

Q: How's your French?

A: Terrible. My French stopped in Grade 8. I know "un petit peu." I know enough to sort of apologize my way through Quebec.

Q: I'll have to go back to the panel of judges and see what your score is.

A: A sweeping failure.

Q: No, sounds legit. I think you're Canadian. That's my initial diagnosis.




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