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Rick Mercer examines what it means to be Canadian

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To quote fellow comedic road warriors the Arrogant Worms “Canada is really big” as fellow comedic road warrior Rick Mercer will attest.
 Mercer will convey his perspective on what it means to be Canadian at the Enmax Centre, April 29.

Rick Mercer talks about what it means to be Canadian at the Enmax Centre this week. Photo by Jon Sturge, Mercer Report
It isn’t a stand -up comedy show, but is rather a celebration of Canada which is appropriate for Canada’s 150th birthday.

“It isn’t a stand up comedy show, though I do that. I talk about what it means to be Canadian,” said Mercer, who has visited every nook and cranny of Canada talking to everybody from politicians, all the living prime ministers to farmers and oyster fishermen during 15 seasons of his CBC television series “The Rick Mercer Report” and another eight seasons of “This Hour Has 22 Minutes.”

“I have a map of Canada in my office with red pins showing all the places I’ve been over the past 15 years. And I can barely see the map anymore. I’m very proud of that map,” Mercer observed, noting there are still a lot of places he still wants to visit.
“Very few people get the opportunity to do what I’ve done, but there’s still plenty of places to go,” he said.

“This is what I’ve been doing for the past 15 years, so a show like this is totally within my scope,” he said.

He noted he won’t be filming anything for the show on this tour.

“I’ve had the same crew for the past 15 years, three at first, now four. But they aren’t coming with me. It will just be me,” he said.
Rick Mercer’s rants are a highlight of the Rick Mercer Report. He never has any difficulty coming up with them.
“I usually have six or seven  things I want to talk about every week though they don’t necessarily have to be funny,” he said.
“I write all of them myself on Thursday night and they air on Friday in front of the studio audience, though we don’t do them live,” he said.

“I tried that once and it didn’t work,” he said.

He didn’t want to share what he has learned in his travels.

“I don’t want to spoil it in the first paragraph of the story,” he chuckled.

“But Canada is so big and the people are so different, they all have different perspectives on what it means to be Canadian, but there are some common themes. I’d rather talk about our similarities than our differences,” he continued.
“The show is also about looking back because that is what birthdays are about— looking back. There is 150 years of history,” he continued.

“I’ve talked to all kinds of politicians and every living prime minister, I’ve talked to the Tragically Hip, Pierre Burton and Randy Bachman but I’d rather talk to a farmer or oyster fisherman rather than to any talking head, politician or even entertainer about what it means to be Canadian,” he continued.
“It’s very hard to get bored,” he said.

“I love talking to people who have never been on television before and giving them the opportunity to talk,” he said.
“I’d be hard pressed to pick an absolute favourite,” he said.

He noted in some ways, this touring show is the culmination of his life’s work, but he has officially been developing the show for the past year, in between working his “day job.”
“I have a day job so I couldn’t do this and that at the same time, but the television show is on hiatus until the Fall,” he added.

“I love doing it. I’ll never know where I’ll be. I’ll be here on a Friday and somewhere else on Saturday. We usually film during the winter, and the weather changes. I’m the producer of the show,  so we always have a plan A, B and C. It‘s always different. I could be in the Yukon or I could be in Victoria , B.C,” he said, noting they start production on the show at the end of August to take advantage of some of summer.
Rick Mercer’s show begins at 7:30 p.m., April 29.
 Tickets are $69 and $79.

A version of this story appears in the April 26,2017 edition of the Lethbridge Sun Times/ Shopper
— By Richard Amery, L.a. Beat Editor
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