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MY TOWN | Hometown Humour
J.R. Digs Deep

According to Brad Pitt, Hamilton funnyman J.R. Digs is a "pioneer." The Gemini-nominated talk show host recently launched a new season of J.R. Digs: Man With a Van and in between luring A-list celebs into his studio on wheels, he sat down with Marc Skulnick to discuss his favourite topic: his hometown.

Who is the Hamiltonian you'd most like to have in your van?
"Anybody and everybody that I meet on Barton Street, and some parts of King Street, will always be among my favourite Hamiltonians to have in the van with me…there's no better personalities and characters anywhere in the world that I've ever met than in Hamilton."

Besides yourself, who's the funniest person in the city?
"First off, there's no way in the world I'd even crack the top 100 of the funniest people in, or from, this city, but when the regulars from the bar next door to Tony's Corner (215 King St. E.) start spilling over to grab a gyro, Tony gets to laughing and yelling and it cracks me up every time."

Locke Street South or Ottawa Street North?
"It's easy to get around the city. Ottawa Street, James North, East end of Barton, but at two o'clock in the morning you always end up in your own neighbourhood, so when it's time for last call, some Chuck's or NaRoma Pizza, I'll say Locke Street. The fabric stores are closed by 2am, right?"

What's your favourite thing about your 'hood?
"The kids and the young families that I'm seeing everywhere now in this neighbourhood, in the parks and the streets; they're proud to be from Hamilton, to call this city their home…for a long time, people weren't necessarily proud to say they were from this city…I love how proud and outspoken people have become about being from here and living here."

Hamilton needs more…
"Scooters!"

Hamilton needs less…
"Concern about what Toronto thinks…really, as Hamiltonians, who cares? The more we do in this city, the more concerts and events there are, the more restaurants and bars and places to hang out there are…the less we need to think about having to go into Toronto ever again." What's one local event you look forward to every year? "The Art Gallery of Hamilton's World Film Festival and not just because I got to host the end-of-festival gala…but because they hand out awards and cash bursaries to local fi lmmakers to support and nurture the creative people in this city."

If you had to pick one word to describe Hamilton, What would it be?
"Pickled! It's not something that everyone is going to appreciate. It's defi nitely an acquired taste and that's Hamilton, for sure. I like that not everyone gets Hamilton and that's why Oakville is so popular, I guess."

What's your favourite thing to do in the city?
"My tailgating for the Labour Day Classic started at 9:30 in the morning and it ended at 11:30 at night…I won't admit to you, or your magazine, anything I did in those hours, but hands-down, Labour Day fun in the Hammer is my favourite thing to do in the city."



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