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Jennifer Robertson: The Great Canadian Pottery Throw Down

You’ve dabbled in the reality genre before, but what was the process like of transitioning from being an actor to being a host?

I loved being a reality show host — especially on a show that’s super-positive. I don’t personally have a lot of interest in the reality shows that are just undercutting people. And this show, because it was so creative and there was such a community spirit — while it’s still very exciting, don’t get us wrong! It’s not all hugs and smiles — it was such a fun thing . . . [The contestants were] sharing ideas, or if someone was finished, helping someone out. It was very Canadian.

You do see all those other reality shows that try to engineer backstabbing among the cast. But in a lot of ways, the high stakes that you need are already baked into the format . . .

Yes, and there’s The Kiln, so you don’t need to manufacture any drama. The Kiln seemed to create it enough just on its own [as everyone waits to see if their creations held together in the fire] . . . I think once [the competitors] realized the level that everyone was working at, they rose their own personal levels because they were in such talented company.

The Great Canadian Pottery Throw Down on CBC. Pictured: Jennifer Robertson, Seth Rogen.

That said, as positive as the vibes may be, it’s still a competition Ñ and you’re the one who has to tell someone each week that they’re going home . . .

Obviously, I lean very heavily, when I say those words, on the expertise of [judges Brendan Tang and Natalie Waddell]. I would feel really terrible, honestly, even though I knew that was the deal. I kept telling myself, “It won’t be a competition show if somebody doesn’t go home.” But I would feel very down for a little bit after sending someone home.

Given the communal vibe, eliminations seemed to cast a pall over everyone on the show, even the other competitors . . .

Sometimes, the other potters cried more than the actual potter going home, because they had all connected so much. And I’m sure they’re all talking to each other constantly, still.

You, of course, got to work with a big-time movie star on this show: Seth Rogen — both behind the scenes in his capacity as executive producer, and in his role as a guest judge in episode one. How was that?

Yeah . . . Seth’s signature laugh was throughout the whole episode: “Huh, huh, huh, huh, huh” . . . [The judges] bonded with Seth over ceramics and pottery. I was obviously in full panic mode the whole time going, “Oh my gosh, it’s Seth Rogen!” He was very cool. He loves pottery.

He even puts his money where his mouth is in the premiere, showing off his own pottery skills in front of the contestants and the judges. He’s good!

We were shooting in the former Emily Carr [art school in B.C.], so each of us had a classroom as our personal space, and he had a wheel in his room and a blowtorch — because if you want to dry something faster, you use a blowtorch. And you just know he’s working because you hear [makes scorching noise]. You’re like, “Ohhh, he’s working on something in there!” . . . We assumed it wasn’t lighting anything else [laughs].

The Great Canadian Pottery Throw Down airs Thursday, March 7 8 p.m., CBC


This B.C. actress paid her dues on Canadian TV, guesting on Degrassi, Little Mosque on the Prairie and Mr. D, in addition to hosting Canada’s Handyman Challenge. Then came the life-changing role of Jocelyn, endearingly quirky wife of Mayor Roland Schitt on little CBC sitcom turned Emmy-sweeping international smash Schitt’s Creek.


Robertson paddled out of Schitt’s Creek right into another sensation, playing world’s best neighbour Ellen on Netflix’s Ginny & Georgia. But we’re here to talk about her gig as host of CBC’s new pottery battle opposite judges Brendan Tang and Natalie Waddell, as well as producer/guest judge Seth Rogen, who, beyond marijuana, counts ceramics as his go-to pastime!

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