Created by Greg Lawrence
“Do you think I’d look good in a hat?”
How’d I miss this one?
A 30-minute Canadian TV comedy lampooning the whole Shamus Game? That lasted three seasons? And I had no clue it even existed?
Turns out Butch Patterson, Private Dick ran from 1999-2001 on The Comedy Network, a Canadian channel we never subscribed to.
That’s my excuse, and I’m sticking to it.
But from a few screenings on YouTube, it’s clear why it never really set the world on fire. Still, somebody must have been watching this low-budget gobbler because it did hold on for three seasons and all three were released on DVD.
The premise was easy enough to figure out. It followed the adventures and misadventures of BUTCH PATTERSON, a private dick.
And a dick he certainly was. As written, directed and portrayed by Canadian writer/director/actor Greg Lawrence with gleeful seediness, proudly crude and rude, Butch was a piece of work. He was a horny, alcoholic kleptomaniac and a trigger-happy pervert. And I mean trigger-happy in that, by his own frequent admission, he was a premature ejaculator.
Oh, the hilarity! Thanks for sharing.
But the charm doesn’t stop there. A blackout drunk, Butch often wakes up (with or without pants) in strange places (he’sbanned from the local petting zoo… something about a llama). He also has a closet full of phobias—including bartenders and tailors, and enjoys cheap cigars, hookers and hard core porn. Oh, and he sometimes pees himself.
Monk’s a piece of cake, compared to ol’ Butch.
Filling out the cast was interpid, hard-working newspaper gal Blanche DuMaurier, one of Butch’s few friends. She was also a soft touch when Butch needed a handout. Or the use of her car. Or bail.
And then there was Tommy Rubella and Debbie Hitler. Tommy was the local crime lord (we’re never told the name of the city, although the show was filmed in Ottawa), and Debbie was his violent, volatile wife, a kinky whack job obsessed with backyard decks and getting into Butch’s pants. If he was wearing them.
Rounding out the cast was Tommy’s enforcer who was known only as “The Swede.” He had a side gig as an informant for Blanche, who was forever working on a big story about Tommy. Oh, and despite the monicker “The Swede” was actually supposed to be French-Canadian–and so he was played by an Asian.
The show’s partly redeemed by the occasional clever wisecrack, jaw-dropping non-sequitur or completely over-the-top simile, but they’re too often stomped to death under Butch’s almost stream-of-consciousness voiceover narration; a non-stop talking jag that rarely lets up—even when it should.
By most accounts, the first season is the one to catch, dominated by Butch and filmed with a murky colour palette that gives it an almost-noir vibe. Subsequent seasons expanded the show’s focus to allow some depth to other characters (but not too much), and were shot in bolder, brighter colour.
The show claims a small but loyal cult following (seemingly almost totally male) and a clear relative of other (and much funnier) CanCrude fare such as Letterkenny and Trailer Park Boys.
- BUTCH PATTERSON, PRIVATE DICK
(1999-2001, The Comedy Network)
Created by Greg Lawrence
Writers: Greg Lawrence
Directors: Greg Lawrence
Starring Greg Lawrence as BUTCH PATTERSON
With Vivian Burns as Blanche DuMaurier
David L. McCallum as Tommy Rubella
Susan Brooks as Debbie Hitler
David Younger as Frank
John Ng as The Swede
Sarah Van Diepen as Jasmine Griffen
and David Elver as Vance Van Vandervan
- SEASON ONE
- “The Jewel Heist (1)” (February 27, 1999)
- “The Jewel Heist (2)” (March 6, 1999)
- “The Hit” (March 13 1999)
- “Call Him Ishmail” (March 20, 1999)
- “Losing It” (March 27, 1999)
- “The Dinner Party” (April 3, 1999)
- “The Affair” (April 10, 1999)
- “Strike One” (April 17, 1999)
- “Mom” (April 24, 1999)
- “The Dance Contest” (May 1, 1999)
- “The Chase” (May 8, 1999)
- “The Reading Drive” (May 15, 1999)
- “The Wrath of Vance” (May 22, 1999)
- SEASON TWO
- “The Return of Vance” (February 12, 2000)
- “Head Wound” (February 19, 2000)
- “Debbie Gets a Trout” (February 26, 2000)
- “Altar, He Go” (March 4, 2000)
- “The Stake-Out” (March 11, 2000)
- “The Ties That Bind” (March 18, 2000)
- “Old Lady Digthorpe” (March 25, 2000)
- “The Big Meeting” (April 1, 2000)
- “Birds, Booze and Gas” (April 8, 2000)
- “The Approximate Size of a Human Head” (April 15, 2000)
- “The Beginning of the End” (April 22, 2000)
- “The Plan Underway” (April 29, 2000)
- ” The Plan Revealed” (May 6, 2000)
- SEASON THREE
- “An Affair to Forget” (November 8, 2000)
- “Fresh Tarts” (November 15, 2000)
- “Ante Up” (November 22, 2000)
- “Shrinking Heads” (November 29, 2000)
- “Alley Oops” (December 6, 2000)
- “Snapsy Come Home” (December 13, 2000)
- “Those Who Can’t, Teach” (December 20, 2000)
- ” Oh Yea (1)” (December 27, 2000)
- “Oh Yea (2)” (January 3, 2001)
- “Hepcat on the Catwalk” (January 10, 2001)
- “I, Thadius” (January 17, 2001)
- “How to Make Love” (January 24, 2001)
- “The End of It All” (January 31, 2001)
THE DICK OF THE DAY
- April 6, 2023
THE BOTTOM LINE: The P.I. hero of this Canadian TV comedy (1999-2001) was a real dick. Also an alcoholic, a kleptomaniac, a bed-wetter and a premature ejaculator. Oh, thr hilarity.
- April 6, 2023
Respectfully submitted by Kevin Burton Smith. Thanks to Chris Gumprich for the lead.