Comedy and the CBC have gone hand in hand on canadian television for years. Getting his start on the long running show This Hour Has 22 Minutes, Rick Mercer has become a staple on the CBC. Like myself, and thousands of canadian viewers, I have enjoyed watching the CBC’s comedy lineup. It has come full circle for Mercer, since he too was and is a fan of canadian comedies on the CBC.
I asked Rick how he felt about the new position he is in “You are in a position now, where you are inspiring new broadcasters and comedians coming up.” Rick interrupted “Good lord. Really? That is very kind of you” I asked who it was that Rick grew up watching on TV that he was maybe influenced by. “I was a news junkie growing up, and always have been. I could say Knowlton Nash. I couldn’t decide whether I wanted to be Knowlton Nash or Neil Young as a kid. There was a TV show that was on the CBC called Wonderful Grand Band. It had Tommy sexton and Greg Malone. It was written, produced and shot in the CBC Newfoundland. It was the biggest show on Television. It got an audience of 250,000 viewers a week from a province (Newfoundland) with 350,000. So, when I was a kid, the biggest TV stars in the universe, lived down the street. What that taught me by osmosis, was that it wasn’t a ridiculous notion to want to work on television. That was a huge influence in hindsight.”
Heading into its 10th season on CBC, The Rick Mercer Report has brought its host into some interesting locales. “The fun thing about the show is that I’m just as likely to be talking to a lobster or oyster fisherman, or some people in Rossland BC who run a winter carnival, or a rock star, or a politician. These days, that is where I get my thrills.” In addition to those interviews and interactions, Rick has also found himself in some dangerous situations as well. “I am NOT and have never been an adrenaline junkie. I went bungee jumping with Rick Hansen, that was the first time I had ever bungee jumped. Bungee jumping has been around for a loong time. I would never do that. If my buddies called me up and said ‘Hey! This weekend, we have a free pass at a bungee jump place’ I would go ‘No, it’s ok. I’m good right here.’
Having such a wide variety of interviews in the past, I had to ask Rick if there was any guests he had coming up that he was particularly excited about “I can’t tell you. Not because it’s a secret. It’s just cause we don’t know. Because we shoot in such real time, the schedule is always screwed up, there is weather issues to deal with because we shoot in the winter.”
Since he couldn’t share any booked guests with me, I thought I could get him to divulge some interviews he wants to do. “I mentioned earlier that I wanted to be Neil Young as a kid, but I’ve never interviewed Neil Young. I shook his hand one time. I don’t know if it would make for good television. You know, I can’t imagine that he’d agree to go bungee jumping with me.”