After five seasons of small town adjustments, endless Jazzagal performances, and a failed Bosnian crow-pocalype blockbuster the Rose family has become one of the biggest cult phenomenons on television. Taking the opportunity to meet with the legions of the show’s enthusiastic fans Dan Levy and the cast of Schitt’s Creek have embarked on a small tour across America, Schitt’s Creek: Up Close & Personal. Over two nights fans of the Pop TV comedy packed the historic Wiltern Theatre to watch as co-creator and star Dan Levy led a conversation with his onscreen family Eugene Levy, Catherine O’Hara, Annie Murphy, Emily Hampshire, and Noah Reid.
Covering Emmy season has given me the privilege to meet a lot of enthusiastic TV fanatics but I have never experienced anything like the excitement there was for the Rose family. One by one as they came to the stage fans cheered as if the biggest stars in the world had walked on stage which is even more astonishing given that most of the cast was relatively unknown just a couple years ago. As the evening went on the audience erupted in applause and laughter at the mention of any moment from the show big or small from David and Stevie’s accidental throuple to Moira singing “Oh Danny Boy” at the funeral of a stranger to the cheers for the heartwarming memories of Moira’s barn birthday party.
Dan Levy and the cast of Schitt’s Creek had no idea just how popular their show would become and how dedicated the fans would become. As they reacted to the success of the show they revealed to the audience the journey to being cast in these career defining performances. Annie Murphy revealed that in the weeks leading up Dan asking her to play his sister her apartment burned to the ground with all her worldly possessions destroyed, she hadn’t booked a job in over two years, and had just bombed an audition for the television remake of Constantine.
Emily Hampshire on the other hand told a similar story of being down on her luck prior to walking in for her first audition as Stevie. Dan Levy specifically remembered her nailing the audition and then as soon as it was over sitting down in front of the producers, panicking, muttering “what did I do?” and pulling her shirt over her face. At that exact moment Levy knew he found the perfect actor for the role.
“Moira and I like to believe that her elongated syllable work. Her extensive vocabulary and her precise articulation are oral mementos of her world travels.”
Some of the most special moments of the night came when the cast reminisced and recreated some of their most popular lines, moments, and character affects. Moira Rose has become one of the most iconic comedic characters in recent years in large part because of O’Hara’s brilliant voice work. Prompted by a question from Dan Levy, O’Hara cheekily revealed the inspiration behind Moira’s voice. “Moira and I like to believe that her elongated syllable work. Her extensive vocabulary and her precise articulation are oral mementos of her world travels.”
Prompted by a question from the audience Catherine O’Hara celebrated Moira’s extensive and elaborate wig collection proclaiming that she could no sooner choose between her wigs than she could between her “bébés” – a pronunciation that every fan has now adopted into their own lives.
The Alexis catchphrase “Ew David” became a topic of conversation among the cast. Dan Levy revealed that a day doesn’t go by without someone stopping him in the store or pulling over on the side of the road to do their best “Ew David” impression. T-shirts, keychains, and doormats have been made and there was even a man in the audience with the phrase used as his license plate adorning his PT Cruiser.
In fact Annie Murphy’s performance as Alexis was a major topic of conversation throughout the night and deservingly so. Murphy’s tabloids-inspired performance as Alexis has gone from one of the most underappreciated performances of the show to one that has gone the most viral with her endlessly meme-able “Ew David” to Alexis’s hit single “A Little Bit Alexis.”
Murphy thanked all of her mid-00s inspirations from the Kardashians to Lindsay Lohan to Paris Hilton and even the Olsen Twins. She revealed that the idea for Alexis’s limp wrist mannerisms came from the way Hollywood starlets lazily carry their designer bags – a character decision that fans have come to love but prompted one fan to worryingly DM Murphy concerned she had a health condition. Helped with enthusiastic pleas from the audience Levy was able to convince Murphy to give a brief performance of “A Little Bit Alexis” – the song fans of the show recognize as the theme song to her short-lived reality show.
One of the most heartfelt scenes in the first five seasons of Schitt’s Creek came when Patrick (played by Noah Reid) surprised his boyfriend, David, at an open mic night with an acoustic cover of Tina Turner’s “The Best.” Reid told the audience about first finding out about the moment at the table read with Levy jokingly telling him that “the song means a lot to him so he better not f*** it up.” Levy remembers the moment he first heard Reid’s interpretation of the classic song and bawling in his living room.
The beloved scene from the fourth season is also celebrated for being an emotional moment of unapologetic sincerity between David and his mother Moira, the most sardonic mother-son duo on TV. Moira’s brief but tender embrace of her son was celebrated especially among the show’s loyal queer fan base and fans were surprised to find out that the moment was entirely improvised by O’Hara.
The evening ended with a game of Family Feud pitting the audience against the Rose family with the promise of an acoustic performance from Reid if the audience pulled out a win. After the audience pulled out a win Reid brought out his guitar and recreated his iconic performance capping off a perfect evening for fans of the show.
The cast of Schitt’s Creek is currently in the middle of filming its sixth and final season and the mere mention of the cult phenomenon ending elicited an aggressive reaction from the audience. Levy, possibly simply trying to console a room full of fans, hinted that he would always keep the opportunity open to revisit the Rose family sometime in the future. Until then Levy has promised that the sixth and final season is something that the fans will cherish and O’Hara teased that Moira’s final wigs won’t disappoint.
“Schitt’s Creek: Up Close & Personal” is currently touring across the country with upcoming dates in Portland, Seattle, Milwaukee, and Detroit.