A Seth Rogen-Produced, Granville Island-Filmed Pottery Reality Show Premieres This Week

The Great Canadian Pottery Throw Down is hosted by Schitt's Creek star (and Vancouver local) Jennifer Robertson.

You’ll probably recognize Jennifer Robertson from her role as Jocelyn Schitt on Schitt’s Creek (I know I do, and was fangirling a bit through the phone—professionally, of course). Or as Ellen Baker on Ginny and Georgia. Or, you might recognize her from simply growing up in Burnaby. In her latest project, The Great Canadian Pottery Throw Down, the local actor worked closely with another beloved hometown hero: Seth Rogen.

Robertson hosts the Rogen-produced, ceramics-based reality competition. The show is based on the UK original, was filmed on Granville Island last summer and premieres on February 8 CBC.

Throw Down seems to continue a trend towards charming, calming and sometimes downright therapeutic reality shows. “It’s the total opposite of Selling Sunset,” Robertson agrees. Instead of alcohol-fueled arguments or hardass judges, the show instead embraces artistry, camraderie and the inherent drama that the kiln brings.

“You don’t need a Simon Cowell on this show because you have the kiln—and that will do terrible things,” the host hints. She asserts that that while pottery can be mesmerizing, it’s not sleepy… because, yeah, sometimes stuff blows up. When compared to other art forms, it’s downright theatrical. “When you paint something and don’t put paint in the right spot in one corner, it doesn’t just burst into flames,” she points out.

Jennifer Robertson. Courtesy of CBC.

Does this leave The Great Canadian Pottery Throw Down contestants (including Vancouver-based Jackie Talmey-Lennon and Surrey-based Susan Johnston) jaded and angry? Absolutely not, says Robertson. “The ceramics community is very close-knit—they all generously share their information and knowledge,” she says.

The show was shot over eight weeks last summer at Granville Island, giving the cast and crew opportunities to experience our short and glorious sunny season. Robertson herself often stopped by the market on her way home, and got the opportunity to reminisce around some old stomping grounds—as a kid, she took classes at the Arts Umbrella and Carousel Theatre for Young People (the children’s theatre that just earned a spot on our 2024 Power 50 list).

Host Jennifer Robertson, producer Seth Rogen and judges Natalie Waddell and Brendan Tang. Courtesy of CBC.

And, of course, there was Rogen, who is both a guest judge and executive producer of the show. On top of that classic infectious laugh and being generally lovely, Robertson says that the actor is an excellent potter… this isn’t just some celebrity “making art.”  When not slinging clay or firing up the kiln, Robertson says that the contestants and Rogen could be found huddling around a phone… watching, you guessed it, a pottery video. “He’s a huge pottery nerd,” says Robertson with a laugh.

Seth Rogen. Courtesy of CBC.

And while she’s a big fan of the art, the host says that she hasn’t got much experience with clay-based creation. “I did make a small pot with the help of [judge] Natalie, and it definitely looks like the very first thing that somebody made,” she says. “It takes practice to just get the mechanics of it, I forgot which hand was my right or left, I had no clue. It was a total Jesus-take-the-wheel moment.”

Pun (and respect) intended.

The Great Canadian Pottery Throw Down premieres on Thursday, February 8 on CBC. You can also stream it anytime on CBC Gem.