If you missed the first season of The Face of Furry Creek on OUTtv, then you don’t smoke weed or laugh enough.
Created by comedy writer, producer and actor Mark Kenneth Woods, the show follows the lives of the residents of a mountain-resort community whose tourists are leaving in droves. After deciding that what the town needs to attract visitors is a tourism ambassador, the local news program starts a reality-show contest to discover “the face of Furry Creek.” And that face is “homely and disgusting,” as Woods describes Deb, one of his many alter egos on the hit show and the first season’s unwitting winner.
“I was always a big fan of Kids in the Hall,” Woods says. “The [actors] played all the characters, so they all played women, and they weren’t exactly pretty. They weren’t trying to be a blonde bombshell; they were playing a housewife in rural Ontario. Since then I haven’t really seen anyone do that kind of drag. It’s all about RuPaul and being fabulous and fierce and looking really good,” he says. “We’re doing the exact opposite, looking as homely and disgusting as we possibly can — which is, of course, much more funny than looking pretty.”
In the second season of the mockumentary train wreck, the search is on for a new face of Furry Creek, with some previous contestants battling it out against Woods’s latest creations.
Apart from Woods, the show’s cast includes Michael Venus, Ryan Steele and Amy Goodmurphy, who all play multiple characters. This season, Woods has taken on a total of nine roles, ranging from a Khloe Kardashian parody to one feisty little person to whom you do not want to owe a drug debt.
But Woods’s favourite character to play is Deb, lover of two-percent milk and hair scrunchies and the best friend of alcoholic and alleged prostitute Sisi, played by Michael Venus. The characters first debuted in Deb and Sisi — Woods’s feature film that premiered at the Vancouver Queer Film Festival in 2008 — and have been resurrected for The Face of Furry Creek. “It’s always fun to play, except I have to shave and put on makeup,” Woods says. “I have a really thick beard, so even when I shave there’s still a little darkness. The makeup person has to really cake on the makeup, so it’s a bit uncomfortable.”
It’s almost as uncomfortable as bleaching his facial hair to play Australian Nate, one of the many new characters popping up this season.
“I added some new characters to keep it fresh,” Woods notes. “I had more time to write this season, so I was able to focus more on the jokes. We upped our game in every aspect. Ryan and Amy are featured much more. They’re at the forefront with me and Michael.”
The series is shot in Whistler because, as Woods says, “there really is no set more beautiful than the outdoors of British Columbia, and I don’t have to pay for it.” The backdrop serves as the inspiration for two of Woods’s characters, the French snowboarder Guy and his “bra” Chad, played by Michael Venus, who is so convincing as a dumb jock that I’m totally attracted to him.
“People don’t look at them as drag characters because it’s guys playing guys, but it’s still characterization and it arguably takes just as much effort,” Woods says.
Season 2 sees Chad become mayor of Furry Creek in a hilarious parody of Toronto Mayor Rob Ford, one of Woods’s many pop-culture inspirations. This season also features the Duck Dynasty “freedom of speech” fiasco and a Glee-full musical episode.
“I wrote the songs and then had to record them in multiple voices,” Woods says. “My neighbours thought I was a complete nutcase!”
And who can blame them? Deb singing?!
You may just need to invest in a bigger bong for Season 2 of The Face of Furry Creek, which premieres Sept 8 on OUTtv.