Robbie Delano (right) with Assholes: A Theory director John Walker (left) at Hot Docs.
Robbie Delano (right) with Assholes: A Theory director John Walker (left) at Hot Docs.

“In certain ways, everyone has a little bit of assholery in them,” says Halifax-based actor Robbie Delano. And he should know.

Not because he is an asshole himself, although Delano admits he may have on occasion engaged in his own “assholery,” but he is now somewhat of an expert having appeared in Canadian filmmaker John Walker’s documentary Assholes: A Theory.

Inspired by Aaron James’s New York Times best-selling book of the same name, Walker’s 2019 film is a philosophical investigation into the rise of asshole behaviour across the world and in which he asks what does it mean to be an asshole, and more importantly, how do we stop their proliferation?

Weighing in on the discussion alongside Delano in the film are other observers, including Monty Python legend and Oscar nominee John Cleese and former police officer Sherry Lee Benson-Podolchuk who shatters the clichéd image of the courteous Mountie.

For Delano, it was all about asshole culture in our national winter sport. “I gave my Canadian perspective on how to be an asshole and talked a lot about hockey and how certain people use being an asshole to their advantage in the sport,” he says.

And while Delano doesn’t want to spoil it for those who have not seen the film, he does say you can probably guess which hockey player he uses as an example.

It is perhaps unsurprising to hear Delano used hockey as the basis for his appearance in the documentary.

Born and raised in the Halifax area, like countless Canadian youth, he once had his own dreams of pursuing a career on the ice. “It was one of my main goals, but when it didn’t work out, I started working at my parents’ restaurant right after high school,” he says.

In perhaps a foreshadowing of what would be his career when hockey wasn’t in the cards, Delano even appeared in a commercial for Sports Nova Scotia at the age of six. “Other than that, I didn’t really do anything else with acting until I stopped playing hockey after high school,” he says.

Ironically one of his first jobs as an actor was is another commercial where he played a hockey player. And since then the now 28-year old actor hasn’t looked back. “I got an agent and starting getting auditions and I realized how much I loved acting,” he says. “And that’s basically all I want to do now.”

Besides appearing as himself in Assholes: A Theory, Delano has also appeared in the CBC drama Diggstown and the television adaptation of Stephen King’s The Mist.

But back to the real reason Delano is on the phone from his home in Halifax, he says the documentary is a fun, educating, hilarious and philosophical take on the world of assholes.

“There are a lot of powerful people in the world who are assholes and there are just as many who don’t understand the philosophical, manipulative side to it,” he says. “Like Donald Trump.”

Enough said.

Assholes: A Theory will screen at Carbon Arc Cinema (1747 Summer St, Halifax) on November 29 with two showings at 7:00 pm and 9:15 pm.  A Q&A with director John Walker will follow the 7:00 pm screening. Visit carbonarc.ca for tickets and information or assholesatheory.com for more details about the film.

Editor’s Note (30 November): The headline for this article was revised.