How lucky is Fred Ewanuick? Every night during the Winter Games, the actor (Dan for Mayor, Corner Gas) hosts the victory ceremony concerts in Whistler. Best of all, he gets to introduce acts like Feist, Stars, and Our Lady Peace to 5,000 screaming fans while someone else is stuck with correctly pronouncing the athletes’ names.
When VANOC asked his agent if he would be interested, it didn’t take Ewanuick long to say yes, especially considering his half-hour-long daily gig comes with a two-bedroom condo complete with killer mountain views. The only thing missing was a uniform, so he improvises with a red maple leaf toque.
Unlike Canada’s Olympians, the 38-year-old Ewanuick is on a roll. His new CTV comedy, Dan for Mayor, has been heavily-promoted throughout the Olympics ahead of its March 1 premiere, so much so that Ewanuick worries “people are going to get sick of me before the show airs.” The series, Ewanuick explains, focuses on “an aging slacker who snaps into reality when his ex-girlfriend announces she’s getting married.” Stunned by the news, Dan, a bartender, announces big plans of his own: he’s running for mayor. Dan recruits his best friend to manage his “campaign”—Ewanuick describes it as “the blind leading the blind”—and sells his beloved Pac-Man arcade game to pay the electoral deposit.
Does Dan ever think he could be a good mayor? “I don’t think he really thinks he can win, but he’s convinced he can do better than people think he can,” Ewanuick says. “They are brushing him off as a joke candidate.” Soon, he’s challenging the incumbent for the keys to city hall in Wessex, Ont., a made-up town that’s “big enough to have its own bus system but small enough that a guy like Dan could actually conceivably run and maybe win.”
Though Ewanuick hit the big time as the lovable but dumb Hank in Corner Gas, this is his first leading role, one he was offered while finishing off the last season of the hit show. Still, he shrugs off the pressure of carrying a new series. “I don’t think this show will fly or flop because of me,” Ewanuick says. “I know my character’s name is in the title, but it isn’t necessarily my show. I do what I’m told, that’s my job. People write stuff for me and I speak it. At the end of the day, I’m kinda just a moving prop. I’m putting all the pressure on the creators, unless it does really well, then it’s all me.”