Beloved Toronto television personality Brandon Gonez is launching his own YouTube show. The former CP24 reporter who became synonymous with the hashtag #DuttyStorm will host The Brandon Gonez Show, a weekly news and entertainment program dropping on Sundays beginning January 17.
“The timing just felt right,” Gonez tells NOW about his decision to move on from Bell Media, after working at CTV Barrie, CTV’s Your Morning and then CP24.
“2020 has been a year where it’s time to reanalyze where you are at in life. You look at everything that happened this year with the health pandemic and the racial epidemic. I asked myself, ‘What am I doing to contribute to a healthier conversation and to be even more authentic with people in the audience and the stories that I’m telling?’ I just felt like the only way for me to do that is to branch off and do my own thing.”
Full disclosure: I’ve worked alongside Gonez on CTV’s Your Morning, Bell Media’s national breakfast show. It’s there that we first enjoyed the Brampton-raised Jamaican-Canadian journalist’s infectious energy and unique witticisms. But Gonez became a local fixture when he made the move to CP24 and Toronto really paid attention to how he would drop household expressions into his reports.
Gonez went viral almost two years ago when he called a winter storm “dutty” on CP24. Almost a year before Canadian media went through a racial reckoning for how minority voices were absent or belittled, Jamaican audiences celebrated Gonez, pretty much screaming with joy at how their culture was being represented on Pizza Pizza screens across the Greater Toronto area.
“I didn’t change,” says Gonez, explaining that the audience response to his on-air personality amplified when he shifted from a national program to the hyper local station.
“People from all different walks of life watch that show. It was time for them to feel reflected in what they were watching. I just happened to be there at the right time with everything that’s been going on with the world.”
Gonez would keep representing for the culture, talking about purchasing 30 grams of “loud” (slang for cannabis) or telling a face-planted inflatable Santa to “fix up.” Drake is among the fans appreciating those homegrown touches on-air, which Gonez is now taking online.
“If Drake wants to come on the show he is more than welcome,” says Gonez.
He adds that The Brandon Gonez Show will bring need-to-know info to Canadians with his authentic spin.
“You can trust me to be real,” says Gonez. “If I make a mistake, I’ll admit that. When I’m on a roll, [the] ball is going to keep on rolling till somebody says stop. The good news is that nobody can stop it because it’s my show.”