Matty Matheson drops F-bombs the way Jamie Oliver drops “Pukka tukka!,” the way Emeril Lagasse drops “Bam!” He averages roughly 150 expletives per episode on his new series, Dead Set on Life, the most of any show on the recently launched Viceland television network, which probably means the most of any show on any network, maybe ever. On each episode, Matheson visits a different community (bison ranchers in Alberta, French chefs in Hanoi, seal hunters in Nunavut), arriving bull-in-china-shop style to learn about their cultural and culinary traditions. It’s a cooking and travel show, but it’s really a vehicle for Matheson’s personality, which would be supersized even if he were the size of a chihuahua.
As it happens, he’s more of a St. Bernard—a massive dude of massive appetites. And he’s currently on the brink of massive success. Dead Set on Life started streaming online in Canada in February, but the wider television launch, in Canada and the U.S., happens this month. If all goes according to plan, he’ll be our country’s most successful culinary export since peameal bacon, our most adored jolly fat man since John Candy and our most charismatic charmer not named Trudeau.
In Toronto he’s already achieved a certain level of celebrity. Pretty much anytime he leaves his Parkdale house, he’ll hear “Hey, Matty!” and he’ll try to figure out whether the person is a friend or just someone who recognizes him. There is that type of famous person you see and you think, Where do I know that guy from, again? Matheson is the exact opposite of that guy—the size, the volume, the tattoo count that is excessive even by hipster chef standards.