80s and 90s kids were raised on some thoughtful, original, and sometimes weird Canadian broadcasting—the best of which could be seen on YTV. In between episodes of Hey Arnold! and Sailor Moon, some of the greatest hosts to hit Canadian televisions graced our screens. Known as the YTV PJ's (which stood for Program Jockey), as well as other hosts within specific YTV shows, they spanned eras (the ones we grew up with may not be the same ones you learned to love). For the most part they transcended ages as we all remember the lot of them. Take a trip down memory lane with us while we remind you of some of the greatest hosts, then let’s fast forward to today to see what they’re currently up to.
1. Snit (R.I.P.)
Snit was the Robot every one wished they had. A Frankenstein'd creation straight from the mind of a former suburban kid after doing acid for the first time. Snit regularly made you ask yourself , "Is this real life?" A concoction of monitors and scrap metal constructed in no particular order, you couldn't tear your gaze away from Snit's gnawing teeth. Rumor has it that Snit was a Top Secret CIA weapon designed to fight the Russians during the Cold War, that went horribly wrong. Scheduled for termination, Snit escaped and applied for refugee status in Canada. Snit's current location is unknown. His body was ejected into space in one of the most memorable Zone episodes to this date (though impossible to now find). Forever banished to orbit the earth, his body has most likely burned upon re-entry into the Earth's atmosphere.
Photo cred - The Zone's Wikipedia
2. Phil Guerrero a.k.a. PJ Phil a.k.a. Phresh Phil (@Phil Guerrero)
Inarguably the greatest PJ to have stepped inside YTV's headquarters, he kicked off The Zone as the original host in 1991. Entertaining us during after school hours, Phil was funny with just the right amount of quirk. He’s worked the afternoon shift solo (if we’re merely counting humans…Snit was a gem however) and with co-host PJ Paul. During and after his PJ career, Phil made cameos on kids and adult shows such as The Adventures of Shirley Holmes and the Tia Carrera classic The Relic Hunter. His next gig? The Calgary Comic Con. If you’re in town make sure to say hello and grab an autograph.
Photo via youtube
3. Paul McGuire a.k.a PJ Paul (@thepaulmcguire)
Originally hosting the station’s Breakfast Zone or later known as B-Zone, Paul went on to act as PJ Phil’s co-host on The Zone. The two had great chemistry, riffing off one another’s personalities and more than likely ad-libbing quite a bit of their conversations. Paul is now a host on CMT interviewing everyone from the likes of Reba McEntire to Taylor Swift. He’s also part of the Lea & Paul Show on The New Country 95.3 radio station making him the easiest former PJ to currently watch or listen to.
4. Katie Racicot a.k.a. PJ Katie (NFA)[embed]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ayedFamZPGI[/embed]
Sing it with us: PJ Katie’s Farm, PJ Katie’s Farm, PJ Katie’s Farm *FRANTIC HEAD MOVEMENTS* This was the intro to every episode of PJ Katie’s most famous contribution to YTV, the aptly named PJ Katie’s Farm. She would voice numerous plasticine characters who lived on a fictional farm. Her hands were almost as much characters of the show as Blue the horse or Delilah the cow. The episodes aired on The Treehouse segment and were aimed at YTV’s youngest demographic. She was also good pals with most of the fuzzpaws, the station’s resident puppet creatures, sharing hosting duties with them. We'll be honest—there isn’t much on the whereabouts of Katie Racicot now. We know this is a “where are they now” post and while we're as emotionally invested in what some of the best PJs are doing with their lives now, we also really wanted an excuse to share the following video with you. We think it’ll make you laugh harder now than it did when you were a kid. Here’s hoping PJ Katie has remained just as weird and creative as she was back then…PJ Katie’s Farm will always be a small part of Canadiana while having earned a large role in our hearts.
5. Tarzan Dan (@Tarzan Dan Freeman)
While he was never a PJ, he did host YTV’s music show, The Hit List. It was their answer to MuchMusic at the time, though not necessarily bringing more kid-friendly hits to the masses. Alanis Morisette, and Weird Al were just some of the famous hitmakers the host interviewed. The show underwent many makeovers and multiple other hosts took over such as Aashna (a real YTV PJ), Leslie and Exan and finally Rob and Danielle (but we don’t talk about those final years). He has remained a radio DJ, with posts in Vancouver and Toronto. He’s currently hosting the morning show on 101.5 Kool fm in Calgary, bringing you the latest hits from Lady Gaga and Bruno Mars. We bet he misses his YTV days.
6. Shaun Majumder a.k.a. Ed Brainbin (@ShaunMajumder)
You probably saw Shaun all over your screen. He started off as the announcer of the YTV show Clips and soon graduated to a host for the Brain Wash morning show were he became known as Ed Brainbin. You may have also seen him put his hosting duties to work on Uh Oh's "Slime Tour" segments (that part where you had to bet on which out-of-studio team would win). A comedian at heart, in 2003 he joined This Hour has 22 Minutes. He's also had guest spots on large U.S. shows such as 24 and the CBC's The Republic of Doyle. Currently, you may see his W Network show Majmunder Manor or any one of his fifteen Just For Laughs stand-up specials while flipping channels.
Photo cred- Reddit
7. Scott Yaphe a.k.a. Wink Yahoo (@scottyaphe)
A Canadian staple that truly spans generations, Scott Yaphe first joined the YTV crew with its It's Alive! A sketch comedy series that lasted 4 years, Scott played multiple characters on the show, but was most known for his wacky character, Wink Yahoo, the Quizmaster of the program's game show. After It's Alive was cancelled, Scott resumed his role as Wink Yahoo when Uh Oh! was formed. Uh Oh ! was the children's game show where the Punisher would slime you when you got the answer wrong. It has been one of YTV's longest running shows, annoying parents 'til 2003. Scott has since done a lot of voice-over work on children's cartoons as well as having appeared in commercials. We're still waiting on the comeback of Uh Oh!
Bonus: Read his Reddit AMA here
Photo cred- Youtube
8. Nicholas Schimmelpenninck a.k.a. Nicholas Picholas (@NICKinBuffalo)
Video and Arcade Top Ten was a weird premise for a show (but by now we've realized that weird was the norm for YTV). The show's host was the interestingly named Nicholas Picholas and underneath that name the aptly placed question, "Is that his real name?" In the day of dial-up internet and no Wikipedia, we just couldn't know. Were his parents hippies and thought it would be funny to name him that? Was he a deranged convict and had to change his name to escape the RCMP? Or you know, was it just a screen name that he used? Our childish minds didn't want to go to the latter. Nicholas has been the host of Buffalo radio station Kiss 98.5 for a while now and also works with various sports teams including the Buffalo Bills.
Photo cred- IGN
9. Stephanie Beard a.k.a. Suga BayBee
Suga BayBee grew up in Scarborough, in and around the hip hop community where she was christened with her nickname. She got her start on air with Mad Dog and Billie on Kiss 92.5. However most 90s kids’ first memory of her distinct voice comes from watching Sailor Moon. She voiced the character of Rini in the dubbed version screened that all over North America. Starting her “The Zone” co-host duties in 2001 with Pat McGuire, she went solo for about 6 months until Carlos arrived (who’s still there today, bless his soul), and they shared co-hosting duties for 5 years. Since YTV, Suga has appeared in some big Hollywood films such as the Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Seth Rogen dramedy 50/50 and For a Good Time Call…She’s continuing on the Hollywood path and you’ll likely see her soon in quite a few things she has in the works.
Suga shows off her hip hop roots
Photo cred- Youtube
10. Fezz The Fuzzpaw
The most beloved of the Fuzzpaws, Fezz was...a parrot? We're not sure, but we do know that he loved cookies, his favourite music was hip hop and he wanted to become a truck driver when he was older (this all according to his Wiki). We caught up with Fezz and found out that he's achieved his goals. He owns a transport truck company that specializes in transporting magical fruit from his home of "Pawville". When he asked him where this was he was a bit shifty and changed the subject, but he seemed happy. He reminisced of the days when he co-hosted Treehouse with PJ Katie but he didn't know where she is now either unfortunately. Married to Fazz, with two kids and another on the way Fezz seems content if a bit overworked. He definitely brightened up when we told him he was our favourite Fuzzpaw now and always.