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Eyebrow-Raising Facts About Eugene Levy, The Canuck Comedian

Andrea Papillon

Who is the man behind Hollywood’s most iconic eyebrows? Born into a loving, blue-collar family, Eugene Levy’s oddly creative ambitions just couldn’t be curbed. From his early days on SCTV to his collaborations with Christopher Guest, Levy has enjoyed a long, successful comedic career. Here are 40 Eyebrow-Raising Facts about Eugene Levy, the fatherly favorite from American Pie and Schitt’s Creek.


Eugene Levy Facts

1. The Family Creek

Eugene Levy had never worked with his family before starring in his son Dan’s hit show Schitt’s Creek. But when it happened, Levy couldn’t have been happier. He revealed that his heart palpitated with excitement when Dan approached him to collaborate on creating and executive producing the beloved show.

2. Inappropriate Dinner Convo

The show’s title, Schitt’s Creek, was Eugene Levy’s idea. At dinner one night, Levy started shooting the breeze about a show taking place in a hypothetical town of that name, complete with businesses like “Schitt Grocers” and “Schitt Hardware.” The idea further developed as the Levys imagined the Rose family buying the town as a joke because of its name.

3. The Divine Miss Deb

Levy married Deborah (Deb) Divine in 1977, and sources very close to the couple claim that Deb’s a riot. Daughter Sarah Levy even calls her the funniest person in their house. Over the years, Deb has contributed humorous, relatable columns to Huffpost—her byline being, “Commonly known as Eugene Levy’s wife of 35 years.”

4. Best in Show

Levy jokes that he’s never made a best-dressed list. Seriously, fashionistas?  This dapper dude and his savvy specs deserve a style blue ribbon. And don’t get me started on those phat eyebrows.

5. A Big Move

When Dan and Sarah Levy were born, Eugene and his wife decided to move away from Los Angeles. They went back to their hometown of Toronto to give their kids a normal lifestyle. They felt certain that would be difficult to maintain in Hollywood, and also wanted to give them a chance to do things that may not fall “under the showbiz umbrella.” Funnily enough, both kids went into showbiz.

6. It’s Like a Trashy Summer Romance

Imagine if Eugene Levy once picked up your discarded take-out? Hypothetically, it could have happened. Before becoming a successful comic actor, Levy spent one summer as a garbageman.

7. Membership Has Its Privileges

In 2011, Levy became a Member of the Order of Canada. When interviewed later, Levy told the Governor General of Canada that when the medal was being placed ceremoniously around his neck, he felt like the “court jester” in a roomful of nobility!

8. He Got Stoned

A painful (but somehow, comedic) incident happened to Levy at the formal banquet following the presentation to Order of Canada recipients. Levy was sitting at a table next to the Governor General’s wife when he felt himself passing a kidney stone. Levy confided his predicament to the Governor General’s wife, and Levy joked later that she and the Governor General started sprinting around their official residence looking for painkillers. Thankfully, Levy got carted off to the hospital before they became necessary.

9. I Think He Found It

Levy voiced a part in the animated film Finding Dory alongside Ellen DeGeneres, Ty Burrell, and Diane Keaton. Finding Dory grossed over US$1 billion at the box office.

10. No Guff

One of Levy’s scriptwriting partners is the renowned comedy writer/actor Christopher Guest (of This Is Spinal Tap fame). The duo has scripted and filmed numerous ‘mockumentary-style’ cult classics. It started when Guest watched SCTV and became a big fan of Levy. He called the comedian up and asked if he’d like to co-write and co-star in Waiting for Guffman. Levy had to be convinced it wasn’t a prank call.

11. The Dentist Was Brought to His Knees

While filming a scene for Waiting for Guffman, Levy was literally brought to his knees. As the cameras rolled, and Christopher Guest started dancing in character as ‘backward-jeans-wearing’ Corky, Levy knew he’d ruin the take by laughing. He dropped to his knees and crawled off the set.

12. Gonna Wait Till the 1:00 am Hour

Levy thinks the strange time slot for SCTV—it typically aired around 1:00 am in the morning—helped the Canadian sketch comedy show reach cult status in the US. It appealed to its young audience “like a message from Mars.” Levy added that people got addicted to the show like he’d gotten hooked on Monty Python in his own teen years.

13. Giggle Generator

Eugene Levy is a comedy legend, but there’s one person who makes him lose his cool. Apparently, Levy just can’t control his laughter when he shoots scenes with Chris Elliot, who plays the mayor Roland Schitt. In fact, Murphy said Eugene “giggles like a schoolboy” in his scenes with Elliot, especially one where Roland tries to teach Johnny how to golf.

14. Straight-A Parents

Levy’s son Dan told The Advocate that, when he came out at 18 years old, his mom and dad were “incredibly loving and supportive.”

15. Staying Above the Belt

Dan Levy has said his father always writes and acts with integrity, and it’s inspired Dan to remain positive in his work too.

16. He Was Almost a Dropout

Another generation of fans got to know Levy when he played the goofball dad Noah Levenstein in the American Pie movies. But did you know that in the first script, Levy thought Noah had too much “edge” (translation: a creep factor)? Levy thought about dropping out of the project, unless he could improvise “real” and “corny” dad-type lines. Good call.

17. Noah’s Character Arc

American Pie directors, Paul and Chris Weitz, didn’t want Levy to drop out of the film. When Levy approached them with his concerns, the directors sat down with him and collaborated instead of letting him walk away. The directors, Levy, and Jason Biggs read through their scenes, and Levy improvised all of Noah Levenstein’s lines in one sitting.

18. Wish He Was My Dad

Bloggers and posters still adore Levy’s character Noah Levenstein from American Pie. There are websites devoted to the character, and fans saying they wish ‘Jim’s Dad’ was their dad too.

19. The Eyebrows in the Room

No elephant required—we’ve got Levy’s brows up in here. Levy has used his brows to great advantage throughout his career, and his facial caterpillars are finally getting their due. His eyebrows have been massaged live on the Today show, and there are message boards online dedicated to how Levy manscapes those beauts.

20. It’s Been a Good Fall Season

Levy and his son Dan always planned on ending their show, Schitt’s Creek, after its sixth season. Levy said it’s been a joy to experience the show’s success, in the “autumn” of his career. On the last day of the show’s shoot, Eugene gave Dan a heartbreaking photograph. It showed father and son together and was signed, “Daniel, it was an honor being your partner, son. Dad xo.” I’m not crying, you’re crying.

21. Heart of Steeltown

Levy was born in Hamilton, Ontario—nicknamed “steel town”—in 1946. Levy’s blue-collar dad worked in an auto factory, but his family never discouraged his creative pursuits. He attended the city’s local school, McMaster University, where he befriended future collaborators like Martin Short, Dave Thomas, and Ivan Reitman.

22. Confessions of a Wannabe Popstar

Levy jokes he could have been a pop star, but…is he really joking? When he was a teen, Levy was part of a folk trio called the Tri–tones. Try those brows on for size, Bieber and Mendes.

23. Leave it to Walter Ostanek

Levy played the accordion once, but admitted that he dropped it because it never made him a chick magnet. Shocker.

24. The Whole Pie

According to Levy, the awkward, albeit hilarious, scene in the first American Pie—featuring Jason Biggs and the whole pie, need we say more?—was actually “anti-climatic.” When Noah Levenstein walks into the kitchen, Levy had to react to a piece of tape, marking the spot where his on-screen son would have been, well, you know…with the pie.

25. Future Greats

One of Levy’s first professional theatre gigs saw him act in a Toronto production of Godspell in 1972. Little did he know, his fellow cast included Andrea Martin, Dave Thomas, and Martin Short. They would all become famous on the iconic late-night sketch comedy show, SCTV.

26. Being Marlon Brando

Levy tackled Alex Trebek impressions handily, decades before Will Ferrell’s take on Saturday Night Live. Levy spoofed Trebek on SCTV with a gameshow-host character named “Alex Trebel.” Another SCTV character Levy mastered is the fictional comedian and lounge singer, Bobby Bittman. One hilarious SCTV sketch featured Bittman, playing (badly!) the Marlon Brando part in a televised remake of the movie, On The Waterfront.

27. Eight Slices of Pie Later

Who knew? There were eight films (including theatrical releases, and straight-to-DVD releases) in the American Pie franchise. Levy is the only actor to appear in every movie.

28. No Knocking Required

Throughout the American Pie films, a familiar comic bit saw Levy’s character, Noah Levenstein, enter rooms to find people in very compromising positions. He probably should have knocked first, but as Levy has said, where’s the laughs in that?

29. Skip the Dessert

Levy’s son was 15 years old when the first American Pie was released. Levy invited his son Dan to the premiere, but Dan backed out the day before. Afterwards, Dan admitted that a friend warned him the premiere would be very awkward. After seeing the film, Levy had to agree.

30. The Apple of His Eye

Levy keeps in touch with Jason Biggs, his on-screen son in American Pie. Biggs has posted pics online of Levy’s visits to the Biggs family. In some of the pics, Biggs’ son is eating an apple—purely coincidental, according to Biggs’ wife!

31. A Rose by Any Other Name

Levy’s character on Schitt’s Creek, Johnny Rose, has a few nicknames. Moira (Catherine O’Hara) calls him John-John. David (Dan Levy) calls him Ebenezer Scrooge. Roland (Chris Elliott) calls him Johnny boy, L. Tightwad. And, apparently, an “old Rabbi” in Johnny’s past called him Popeye.

32. Bad Investment Hilarity

The concept for Schitt’s Creek was based on actual wealthy, or famous, people who had purchased small towns in real life. Actress Kim Basinger was one such person. In 1989, she bought the small Georgia town of Braselton, for $20 million. Basinger intended to revitalize Braselton’s image. But three years later, the only signs of life in town were a furniture store, and a dentist. Within five years, Basinger sold Braselton for a measly $1 million.

33. Cry Me a Creek

Levy has admitted that the last weeks of shooting Schitt’s Creek final season were very emotional. Levy refers to the show as, “the little engine that could.”

34. Feeling the Love

The Twitter-verse is universal in its love for Schitt’s Creek. Online campaigns sprang up everywhere, pushing to recognize the show during awards season. Bloggers felt the buzz really paid off, as the show was nominated in four Emmy categories in 2019—including our guy Eugene for Outstanding Comedy Actor.

35. No Empty Nest Here

Levy was surprised that both his son, and his daughter, went into show business—and they all worked together on Schitt’s Creek. Levy says it’s weird, but also amazing to blur personal and professional lines. He admires son Dan’s creative growth in writing, acting, and producing, and he was proud to watch daughter Sarah, holding her own in scenes with Catherine O’Hara.

36. Where’s Johnny

Levy and Catherine O’Hara have known each other for over forty years, and they’ve worked together often throughout their film, and TV careers. O’Hara says that people often approach her at parties and seem completely convinced that she’s married to Levy. If he’s not there with her, they’ll wonder where her husband is and ask why he couldn’t make it.

37. A Little Healthy Competition

In 2015, Schitt’s Creek scored a notable first in awards show categories. The Canadian Screen Awards nominated both Levy, and his son Dan, for best comedy actor. It was the first time that a father and son were nominated in the same category, and in the same year. Eugene won, but with typical self-deprecation, he joked that he must have done something wrong—winning best comedy actor when he was supposed to be the show’s straight man.

38. She’s No Rose

Levy’s daughter Sarah, who plays waitress Twyla Sands on Schitt’s Creek, said everyone assumed she’d be playing Levy’s daughter and Dan’s sister, on the show. She prefers playing Twyla to playing Alexis, but she does cherish the episode where Johnny jumps in to help Twyla at the restaurant.

37. He Won a Grammy

Levy co-wrote a song that was featured in A Mighty Wind, another mockumentary film he scripted and starred in with Christopher Guest. The song received a Grammy nomination in 2003 and actually won Best Song Written For A Motion Picture, Television Or Other Visual Media.

38. Go West, SCTV

After its second season, SCTV struggled to obtain funding, and a network that would air the show. CBC Studios in Edmonton, Alberta offered to fund twenty-six episodes, but the show had to be filmed on-site. As an Ontario boy through and through, Levy was not thrilled about this. Fortunately for hm, the show resumed filming in Toronto the following year.

39. Best in Sketch

SCTV remains legendary, and beloved in the comedy world. Jimmy Kimmel has called it the best comedy sketch show ever. Conan O’Brien wrote the liner notes for the DVD release of the show. Possibly the coolest celeb SCTV superfan: Martin Scorsese, who directed Levy, and the rest of the cast in an SCTV reunion episode, airing on Netflix.

40. Short and Sweet

Martin Short became friends with Levy at McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario. Short thought he’d never make it in show business, but Levy felt Short had genuine talent. Levy kept nagging Short to give performing a try. On a sweet note, in 1972, Short and Levy got their first big breaks together, in the Toronto production of Godspell.

Sources: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30, 31, 32, 33, 34, 35


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