The Hilarious Jessi Cruickshank on Her Big, New Daytime TV Gig

"It takes 2.5 hours in hair, makeup and wardrobe just to make people not change the channel when I appear on screen"

Jessi Cruickshank The Goods

(Photograph: Courtesy CBC)

Stepping into The Goods studio in late September feels like the first day of school. There’s an anticipatory buzz in the air and everything, from the white leather couch to the birch tree-print backdrop looks brand new. Yet, when the four co-hosts take the stage, it feels like they’ve known each other forever.

CBC’s new daytime show, which started on October 3 and airs weekdays at 2 p.m. EST, is helmed by four big personalities: former Steven and Chris host Steven Sabados, lifestyle expert and relationships author Andrea Bain, uber-charming chef Shahir Massoud and the always hilarious host of Canada’s Smartest Person, Jessi Cruickshank.

“The mix that we have is four people who are so different and yet we all share the same ridiculous sense of humour,” says Cruickshank. “We’re really genuinely laughing and having a good time, every single day.”

We caught up with Cruickshank immediately after a taping to get the scoop on her big, new daytime gig.

So, how many episodes have you shot so far? More than a dozen. That may sound like a lot, until you think about the fact that we have to shoot 130 episodes in the next six months.

How involved were you in the creation of the show? I was very much a part of the initial conversation, gosh, probably about a year ago at least. So it feels like it’s finally happening, it’s real, and it’s becoming what I really wanted it to be. I didn’t want to make a tired old daytime show because if you know anything about me, I’m the opposite of that. I come from comedy, I’m very unfiltered, I have a tendency to say things I’m not supposed to say in any context—especially on the CBC at 2 p.m.—but they have allowed me to take it to a place I’m really excited about.

How is this show different for you than your previous hosting gigs? So many things. The first is that I have three amazing co-hosts. The last few shows I’ve done, I’ve been on my own. My co-hosts all have different areas of expertise—Steven is home, Shahir is cooking, Andrea is relationships and wellness. I’m a fish out of water in all of those realms. For instance, I literally don’t know how to cook anything that doesn’t come out of the microwave, so I’m learning a lot from Shahir.

You guys have killer chemistry—was that hard to find? Many people don’t have a say in who they get to work with, but I was very hands-on in terms of who we brought onto the show, as was Steven. We had like 1,001 amazing people come in and do chemistry tests with us to find our right mix. The tests were probably five to seven minutes each, but when the four of us were together, we couldn’t stop.

Jessi Cruickshank daytime television

The Goods group, from left: Andrea Bain, Cruickshank, Steven Sabados and Shahir Massoud (Photograph: courtesy CBC)

You shoot in front of a studio audience—how do you get in the zone before going on set? We all have our secrets. Steven brings these really aggressive ginger shots to all of us before the show—they are vile, but they really do give you energy! When our theme song plays, I like to do a little dance backstage, but I don’t want to mess up my hair so my dance is just a lower body dance. I look like a really sad stripper who’s given up on top but is still working on the bottom.

Run me through what a typical day looks like for you. Yes! People need to know how long it takes me to get ready. I get up at 6 a.m., I’m at work at 6:45 a.m. spraying on my tan, in the makeup chair at 7 a.m., in hair at 8 a.m., in wardrobe at 9 a.m., and on set by 9:30 a.m. It takes that long just to make me physically presentable to make people not change the channel when I appear on their screen. I did not #wokeuplikethis.

So after going through hair and makeup, you shoot two shows back-to-back? Right, from about 10:30 a.m. to about 7 p.m.

You host the fashion and style segments How much of that do you personally put together? I work really hard to create my own segments and write my own stuff and keep it very much me. I’m not the type of person to walk out and do whatever I’m told. I brought two of my favourite, most creative and amazing producers, who I’ve worked with since way back at MTV, over to CBC so our segments have a sort of young, pop culture-y, funny spin on everything. You will never see me just do a straight-up fashion segment; they will always have a twist.

In the show I just watched you tape, you did a segment called “Help Me Pull This Off,” where you take classic style don’ts and show the audience how to make it #werk. However, today’s crowd was NOT on board with the socks and sandals look.

How often does a host get booed by the audience on her own show? But I want to have conversations about socks and sandals because I genuinely believe there’s a viable way to wear them.

Speaking of style, how do you select your outfits for the show? I’m trying to keep it 100 on this show; I am wearing shit that has no business being on daytime television. I’ve worn Prada, Valentino, custom Sid Neigum and Tanya Taylor. As you can tell, I’m probably a nightmare to work with—and I say that as a joke, but I’m very involved with everything. I work with Lisa Williams who is one of the best stylists in the country and together we make fashion miracles. Our goal is to never wear something off the rack, which is a lofty goal when you’re making 130 episodes.

OK, I’ve got to ask, because I’ve always wondered: what the heck is in those mugs that all the hosts are constantly sipping from? It’s water, and the water stays in there for weeks so there’s like tanner and hair floating in mine. You actually can’t drink from them or you’ll be hospitalized. But it’s funny, on our first episode, I somehow assumed we wouldn’t be allowed to drink real alcohol on air—I don’t know, it’s daytime, we’re filming at like 11 a.m.—and we go to take a sip from our wine glasses and it was real red wine! Out loud, I was like “What! This is real!” And then last week, we made cocktails and I ended crawling onto the piano and serenading the audience in a velvet jumpsuit.

It sounds like shooting this show is a ton of fun. What’s your favourite moment so far? We’re doing a segment called “Man vs. Makeup” where I challenge my male co-hosts to do a makeup look on themselves. So early this season, you’ll see our first ever Man vs. Makeup segment where Steven and Shahir learn how to do a cat eye. One of them looks like drunk Amy Winehouse, the other like a polished Taylor Swift. You’ll learn something but you’ll also laugh until you want to pee.

What daytime host do you admire and why? I was raised by my mom, my dad and Ricki Lake. I would come from school every day, make myself a pizza pocket, and watch The Ricki Lake Show and learn about sex. But now I think Ellen is just the be all and end all of daytime.

How do you unwind at the end of the day? Netflix and chill but minus the sex. I go home and I watch mindless, fun television—like the Bachelor or Chelsea—and I eat like seven meals. Then I have to prep for the next show.

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