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           10 Years of Talking with Canadians: Meets with Rick Mercer

We love his rants. We love the way he says what he's really thinking.  We love the wonderful way that he makes everyday ordinary people across Canada brag about their towns. And we love that he has access to the Prime Minister's swimming pool.

The sharp and charming star of the Rick Mercer Report has been one of Canadians' favourite CBC personalities for a decade, and we recently had the opportunity to speak with Rick Mercer in person as his 10th Anniversary season gets underway.

HL: Congratulations on your 10th season.

RM:  Why thank you. That seems a little surreal. It seems like something that happens to old people...but i'll take it!

HL: What was your most memorable moment from last season?

RM: We opened with taking Jann Arden to the top of the CN Tower. We generally avoid shooting in Toronto because we're a national show, and having grown up in Newfoundland I was always aware of things being too Toronto-centric. But the temptation of taking Jann (who's a dear friend of mine) and terrifying her to the point where she could collapse at the top of the Tower was just too great too pass up. That was a really big highlight for me.

HL: So then obviously, to celebrate your 10th season, you'll be coming to Nanaimo this spring with Jann to do the Naked Bungy Jump.

RM: I have had many emails about that.

HL: You don't say.

RM: And I've watched the YouTube videos, but you know I've bungy jumped only once in my life and that was with Rick Hansen. That was a highlight,  maybe the highlight, of my entire career.  It was incredibly scary and I don't know that I'd want to do it naked. It is completely naked, right?

HL: Yep it sure is.

RM: Naked. Completely. Blowing in the wind.

HL: You can pay more and jump clothed.

RM: Well there are cutbacks. I might not have a choice.

HL: Speaking of cutbacks, how have recent events impacted your show? Can we expect to see any changes?

RM: Well I'll be traveling around the country on a bicycle instead of in a rental van.   Other than that, things are going to stay pretty much the same for me.  I've been lucky that way. But really we run a pretty lean mean machine anyway. I do my own hair. You talk to anyone else on TV and see if they do their own hair.

HL: You seem to be online quite a bit these days.  Are you still going to be blogging?

RM: Well I used to do a lot of that. But now I have The Twitter. I'm definitely a Twitterer.

HL: We're always talking about engaging our audiences, but that's what you've always been about.

RM: Yes. That's the beauty of the show and the format being one with no format. I love that we work without a net.  I have no idea what I'll be doing from week to week and it's what I love most...and what scares me the most, too. The only set thing is that I'll be traveling from place to place wearing a suit.

HL: This very suit?

RM: Well yes, actually. And everything else is wide open. One week I might chat with the Prime Minister, and the next a lobster fisherman on the east coast...and the next I'll be on Vancouver Island.  And I have just as much fun talking with everyday folks about themselves and their towns as I do talking with the Prime Minister.

HL: I'm sure.

HL: What we're all about at is trying to get people out experiencing their communities and encouraging them to try things that they haven't done before. What about you?

RM: It's interesting that you say that because I can't tell you how many times I go into communities to talk about them and I'll always get people saying things like:  "Hey, I didn't know that about my town" or "I had no idea I could do that here at home." And I don't know why that is but it's often the case and I think it's a great thing for us both to be able to accomplish. I've recently enjoyed a week-long staycation myself and it was fantastic.

HL: How do people get information about their towns to you?

RM: Mostly by email. People who watch the show regularly know that we like active things, quirky things...things that are signature to the place.

HL: Like swimming with the salmon! How was that?

RM: Oh my god! Incredible. That is a perfect example of someone sending me an email saying you HAVE to do this. And we did.

HL: Do you have any other favourite Vancouver Island moment that you'd like to share with our audience?

RM: Like soaking in the hot tub with the Surf Sisters? Does that count?

HL: Definitely.

RM: That was memorable for me because I've always wanted to surf, and they actually got me up on a board. Those women were so wonderful, and I just found that part of the country beautiful. So beautiful. in fact I just filled out a questionnaire for a magazine and they asked me where my favourite beach was. I said Tofino. You have to understand, coming from Newfoundland that's like a treasonous thing to do. Coming from one coast and picking a beach on the other isn't done.
But there. I said it anyway.



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