Lunch Lesson: Humor helps cut through the charades of politics, and you might be surprised what you can do with a camera crew, a limited budget, and an audacious host.
It’s not that he’s so short, it’s more that I’m 8 ft tall!
In Canada, Rick Mercer is our own home-town version of Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert. He’s a comedian, political commentator, TV show host, and of course, proud Canuck. He had a tongue-in-cheek show, Talking to Americans, which was probably only funny to Canadians, and which may have contributed to the reprehensible habit Canadians have of mocking our neighbors to the south.
On a lighter note, Rick has his own one-man show right now called the Rick Mercer Report, on which he has had an impressive lineup of Canadian icons as guests, inlcuding Jack Layton, Sarah McLachlan, David Suzuki, the prodigious Conrad Black, and Prime Ministers Jean Chretien, Paul Martin, and Stephen Harper. I love watching the show because it features both Rick and his guests doing things that are shameless. He’s had the Barenaked Ladies pose nude. He’s had his entire arm inside of a cow. He went skinny dipping with Bob Rae. Haven’t we all wanted to do each of these things someday?
Beyond television and political satire, Rick Mercer also does public speaking engagements, and I was fortunate to get to see his Adventures in Canadian Television presentation at an association event. Twice.
During his presentations, Rick explains how he got started in television (he says he didn’t have any other skills or interests), where he’s gotten some of his show ideas from (a strong desire to not get fired, mostly), and behind-the-scenes information on some of his most famous clips. Like this one, in which he surprised even himself by being granted an interview with then Governor of Arkansas, Mike Huckabee. (The picture in this clip is poor, but the audio is fine. Bonus; it includes a fine Dubya moment as well.)
I don’t have any direct quotes from this presentation like I normally do. That is because I was too busy laughing at his jokes and marveling at how much he swears in person. He was making Sara Silverman look tame! I’d totally see him speak again. Twice.
Ps. If Rick Mercer or any of his people are reading this post: I’d like to interview him for my book, so please email me at email@example.com. Shameless, right?