Nardwuar & Jack Layton

Nardwuar: Who are you?

Jack Layton: Well, my name is Jack Layton. I'm the leader of the New Democratic Party and I'm a member of Parliament for Toronto-Danforth. Is that what you mean?

And you’re running for Prime Minister!


Jack Layton, politics is hard, but so is teaching school. You were a school teacher, weren't you? What sort of insults did the kids throw at you? 'Cause every teacher gets teased.

[laughs] They must've done it behind my back. And this was in the university and college system. So no, they were pretty kind to me, I have to say.

There weren't any comments about your hair? Come on, kids are pretty ruthless. There must've been something. What was one that really got to you?

Well, I had hair back then.

Ba-Boom! [laughs]

So they couldn't tease you about that. Was there anything else, Mr. Layton?

No, I can't really recall anything. No, I had a pretty good relationship with the students. Like I say, they might've had things to say behind my back, but they were always very gentle.

Students are quite cruel, but the same thing with the public, and people always notice things. You know like in rock 'n' roll there's this Satan-y sort of rock 'n' roll sign? [Nardwuar throws devil horns]


People have noticed that you have been doing this [Nardwuar puts his hands together in a pyramid], Jack Layton, the pyramid. What is the pyramid? Is there a message behind that?

I guess. That's interesting [laughs] , because we have these sort of involuntary movements. Bringing people together, maybe? I don't know, what do you think?

I was just wondering if you might want to patent it. You know, apparently Gene Simmons of KISS invented this [Nardwuar throws devil horns]. Did Jack Layton invent the pyramid?

[laughs] I don't know. I just want everybody to come into our party. It's an open door.

Go Go Trudeau

Jack Layton, in the 1950s and '60s, you grew up near Montreal. Did you experience any rock 'n' roll, say with any of the French Quebecois groups that I love? These [Nardwuar pulls out some vinyl records] are some of my favourite groups. Do you remember any of these, like Les Classels or Les Excentriques or Les Sinners and their song "Go Go Trudeau."

"Go Go Trudeau!" [laughs] Yeah, this one has a vague recollection. I don't think — I could probably not hum that one for you. I was more of a Lighthouse and Crowbar and The Rabble...

The Rabble

The Rabble, that's a garage punk band!

Well, it was a fabulous band of classical musicians who played mean rock 'n' roll back in about 1965-'66. And MG And The Escorts!

MG And The Escorts! And JB And The Playboys!

Well, MG And The Escorts, of course, Billy Bryans went on to become the drummer for The Parachute Club in Toronto. He was their lead guy.

This is incredible, Jack Layton! All this garage '60s punk knowledge! I never knew you had it in you!

[laughs] Well, we all have our little backgrounds...

Now Jack Layton, you mention the band Crowbar, the classic Canadian band Crowbar. Famous for the song "Oh What A Feeling!"

Les Excentriques

Hang on, hang on… you mean this one here? [Layton gets out a harmonica and starts playing] "Ooooh, what a feeling!" Join me on this... there's a long pause and then it's...

[Nardwuar and JL together] WHAT A RUSH!

Yes, Jack Layton! Now what I was wondering was, according to this book right here [Nardwuar pulls out a book], if you could open to page 234, it's called Before The Gold Rush by Nicholas Jennings. There's an interesting story in here and it says, "Crowbar gave Prime Minister Trudeau an envelope with five primo joints of homegrown, telling him 'Here's a little Canadian treat for you and Marg to enjoy.'"


Is that a fact. You know, I don't have this book in my collection and I didn't know that factoid.

So what would happen if Crowbar gave you some primo joints of Canadian homegrown, Jack Layton? What would you do?

You know something, the band is no longer functioning to the best of my knowledge, so I'll have to call it a hypothetical question.

Ba-Boom! A great answer!

Look, I'm just trying to respond—

But if there was a functioning band, which band would you like to get homegrown from?

Hey, well actually Nick Jennings was one of those students you were asking me about before. He was a student in my class at Ryerson. I guess I'd better get a copy of his book.

But Jack Layton, please! Back to the question. If there was a band functioning today that gave you some homegrown, what band would you like to get some homegrown from?

You see, every question that starts with an "if" is a question I'm not going to answer, because it's hypothetical.

But you must have a favourite band! You do love Crowbar...

Yes, and I've got hundreds of favourite bands.

Jack Layton, Paul Hellyer was the Canadian Minister of Defence at one time.

Yes he was.

Nardwuar Nardwuar & Jack Layton

What I was curious about — he loves UFOs. What's the official stance of the NDP on UFOs?

We're going to have to debate it at our next convention. It really hasn't come up.

Are the UFOs on board the NDP bandwagon? How are you going to win over the UFO vote?

I don't know if there is a UFO vote.

Jack Layton, how important is kissing?

Extremely important.

How come it isn't in any of your ads? I noticed there was quite a bit of kissing in Bloc Quebecois ads.

[laughs] That's a good thought. I'll have to go back to our ad team and see about kissing. Certainly Olivia and I get photographed kissing from time to time and we don't mind.

Jack Layton, do you keep your promises?


I ask you this because the last time you were in Vancouver — I don't know if you remember this — but I asked you if you would do the Hip Flip (weird 1960s twisterlike game) with me. [Nardwuar hands Layton instructions to the Hip Flip game]

Now I don't have a real good recollection of that question from last time, I have to tell you. I'm doubtful.

We do have it on tape and you said, "When I come back to Vancouver I'll do the Hip Flip with you."[Nardwuar Plays a tape of his June 2004 encounter with Jack Layton]

June 2004 Layton Interview: "I'll tell you what: Next time I come here I will have practiced and perhaps will be able to pull it off."

Hip Flip

So I was wondering if you would partake in the Hip Flip? Because Paul Martin did the Hip Flip when I asked him to in 2004. Stephen Harper wouldn't let me do the Hip Flip with him in 2004. And Gilles Duceppe, just last week, said "No way!" But will you now honour your promise by doing the Hip Flip with me? We have it right here for us to come together and do the actual Hip Flip here. [Nardwuar pulls the Hip Flip game out of his bag] Jack Layton, this is the Hip Flip right here.

Now hang on. [Layton looks at the Hip Flip instructions] Do you want us to be — I see here that there are the categories. There's the "swingers" and the "superswingers."

I would say "super-swingers." Whichever one would actually fit The Rabble or Crowbar!

They're going sideways, they're going— Face-to-face, I would say.

Is that what you would prefer?

Yeah, 'cause we've gotta be one-on-one here for this.

But it would be really great if you could honour this promise, this campaign promise!

It would be my pleasure. Wow!

The first campaign promise being honoured! Thank you.

Hang on here [Layton positions himself to do the Hip Flip]

[Nardwuar and JL execute the Hip Flip!]

Oh my God!

What happened to you?

You got it in the first bash! It took a whole bunch with Prime Minister Paul Martin! Well, thank you so much, Jack Layton, for doing the Hip Flip. We really appreciate that.

Well, it gives you a little bit of exercise on a daily basis. I'll have to try it with Olivia. It will be more fun with her than you, no offence.


I'm sorry about that.

But you totally killed it! That was awesome! [laughs] Jack Layton, why should people care about the NDP? Why should people care?

Well, because we get results for people. People riding transit got help from the NDP. People who needed affordable housing, people who want help with their school costs. We deliver.

And so far in Election 2006, the NDP are the only party to win the Hip Flip poll!

Well, there you go, thank you very much.

Thank you, Jack Layton. Thanks for speaking to me, Nardwuar The Human Serviette. Keep on rocking in the free world and—

[Both together] Doot doola doot doo—