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Canadian Unions, Eric Peterson, and Quitting Plays

A graphic of Tony Nappo edited to appear as multiple people sitting in a circle as a spoof of Alcoholics Anonymous. At the top and bottom of the image is text that reads
/By / Oct 5, 2016

Nappoholics Anonymous is a weekly column featuring twelve random thoughts by actor Tony Nappo. Some are funny, some are poignant, some bother him, and some make him weep from sadness while others make him weep for joy. Here are his thoughts: unfiltered, uncensored, and only occasionally unsafe for work.

1. I don’t see what the big fucking deal is. Back in the 90s, I used to have two or three “nuit blanches” a week.

2. Don’t really have a joke but I just want to use the punchline “Kim Jong-il’s Convenience” before This Hour Has 22 Minutes uses it in a skit. Should have put me on a retainer, motherfuckers!!!

3. I’m not saying you shouldn’t let Hugh Dillon babysit your kid BUT the one time I did, I noticed a shift in Ella’s attitude.

Me- Hey, Ella. Did you do your homework?

Ella- What are you, a fuckin cop?

Me- Pardon.

Ella- You just worry about your own to-do list there, Tubby, and I’ll worry about mine. Now make with the dinner before I fuckin hammer ya.


4. I did a film once with an American actor named Frank Grillo, who is an excellent actor and gone on to much success. He really enjoyed breaking my balls about being Canadian and about our entire industry. One day he asked me, “So how does it work here, do you guys even HAVE a union?” I said, “No, Frank, if anything bad ever happens, we all just call each other on the phone.”

5. A man’s reach should exceed his crotch.

6. On-set still from the Scarborough Christmas special I wrote and am starring in: It’s a Wonderful Knife.


7. CBC has programmed two excellent, extremely diverse shows into their fall lineup: Shoot The Messenger and Kim’s Convenience. If you are one of the motherfuckers who has been making a lot of noise about diversity (rightfully so), make sure you watch these shows and give them strong numbers. I believe they premiere October 10th and 11th respectively (Kim’s shifted from the 4th due to the Blue Jays schedule). Because you just know there is some asshole somewhere in an office waiting for them to fail and say “I told you so” with a final draft of Misunderstood Hero: The Rob Ford Story and a pilot for Real Housewives of Rosedale on his desk ready and waiting to be greenlit.

8. I stop by to see my dad on the way to the first read through of season 3 for Fugget About It.

Dad- Don’t forget to shave.

Me- What for?

Dad- You don’t have a beard on that show, dumbass.


9. They got Al Capone on HIS tax returns. Whatever the fuck it takes, I say.

10. I was running lines for an audition once with my daughter, Ella, and the character I was playing was named Dick. She kept giggling at that, as a kid might. The next day she wanted to stay up later than she was supposed to and I stood my ground, which I rarely do. After much failed negotiation and frustration, she stormed off to her room saying, “You are SUCH a GUY FROM THE SCRIPT!”

11. This beautiful bastard turned 70 this week. One of the all-time great Canadian stage and film actors and one of the most generous men you could ever hope to meet. I love you, Brother. Happy Every Day, Eric!


12. I had to quit a play recently. It’s an awful thing to have to do and it’s an awful thing to do to the people you are going to work with. You spend years trying to reach a point where you get to work with people you admire, and they entrust you with a part of their project. They count on you. They fold you into their vision and you become a part of that vision. And when you back out, the entire vision has to be re-examined and recalibrated. Of course, any actor is replaceable. No show is ruined by an actor dropping out, but it makes everyone else’s job harder for a short period and, then, ultimately, it goes on as if you were never part of it at all.

That’s the selfish loss of it—that you no longer get to be part of it and all that you have invested in the project doesn’t come back to you. Because what you get out of doing theatre certainly isn’t financial gain. It pays you in many other ways, but none you can trade for rent or child support or overdue taxes or lawyer’s fees. This is the reason I had to drop out. Too much theatre this year has put me in a position where I just can’t go into another project and pay my bills anymore, even while painting bathrooms.

My point is that your yes should be a yes if you want to be taken seriously by anyone in theatre. Your yes shouldn’t be a “maybe, unless I get a better offer.” As a result, I am going to be saying yes a lot less often until I am in a position to be certain that I can afford to pass on any and every film and television offer that may conflict with any potential theatre projects.

This is the part of being a grown-up actor that sucks the most.

Tony Nappo

Tony Nappo

Tony is Italian, he’s from Scarborough, he’s an actor, he’s a father, he’s a really good house painter, and he doesn’t believe that most things matter, ultimately, at all.



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