Rick Mercer

Rick Mercer

Infobox actor
name = Rick Mercer

caption =
birthname = Richard Vincent Mercer
birthdate = Birth date and age|1969|10|17|mf=y
birthplace = St. John's, Newfoundland and Labrador
othername =
website = http://www.rickmercer.com/

Richard Vincent "Rick" Mercer (born October 17, 1969 in St. John's, Newfoundland and Labrador), is a Canadian comedian, television personality, political satirist, and a blogger.

Mercer first came to national attention in 1990, when he premiered his one-man show "Show Me the Button, I'll Push It, or Charles Lynch Must Die" at the Great Canadian Theatre Company in Ottawa. A pointed, satirical political commentary on Canadian life after Meech Lake, "Show Me the Button" made Mercer a national star as he toured the show across Canada.

He dropped out of high school before completing his diploma requirements and was given an honorary one. [http://www.mun.ca/marcomm/gazette/issues/vol37no15/convocation4.php]

Television shows

"This Hour Has 22 Minutes"

In 1992, he created and performed his second show, "I've Killed Before, I'll Kill Again", which was also a popular touring show. Also in that year, he began to work with former "CODCO" members Cathy Jones, Mary Walsh, and with fellow Newfoundlander Greg Thomey, to create a new television series for CBC Television which became "This Hour Has 22 Minutes".

In the first eight seasons of "22 Minutes", Mercer provided some of the show's signature moments, including having lunch at a Harvey's fast food restaurant with former Canadian Prime Minister Jean Chrétien, and an Internet petition (on the " 22 Minutes" website) to force Canadian Alliance leader Stockwell Day to change his first name to Doris.

Mercer's cleverly scripted two-minute "rants," in which he would speak directly to the camera about a current political issue, quickly became the show's signature segment. In 1998, he published a book, "Streeters", which compiled many of his most famous "22 Minutes" rants. It quickly became a national bestseller. In 2007 he published his second book, "Rick Mercer Report: The Book".

"Talking to Americans"

One of Mercer's trademark comedy routines on "22 Minutes" was "Talking to Americans", in which he would travel to a major American city or institution and conduct on-the-street interviews with average Americans regarding Canadian politics, the weather, etc., often with hilarious results as the subject's ignorance about Canada was illustrated. One famous example saw Mercer asking Americans' opinion on whether Canada should change its "20 Hour Clock" to the 24 hour one used by the United States. He received approval from citizens and from the Governor of Iowa, Tom Vilsack. On another occasion he got the support of Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee in calling on Canadians to save the "National Igloo."

Mercer made international headlines in 2000 when he pulled a "Talking to Americans" stunt on then-presidential candidate George W. Bush. He successfully got Bush to answer questions about non-existent Canadian Prime Minister "Jean Poutine" (a play on the real politician's name, Jean Chrétien and the popular Canadian—especially Québécois—dish poutine). Bush was not amused at the time, and has since then refused to accept any interviews from the CBC. However, he did make a joking reference to this incident during his visit to Canada in 2004. In the same US election campaign, Mercer asked Democratic candidate Al Gore to promise to visit the Canadian capital city of Toronto after his election (Canada's capital is Ottawa). Gore did not question Mercer's incorrect identification of the capital of Canada.

In 2001, Mercer co-produced a CBC special based on "Talking to Americans", which attracted 2.7 million Canadian viewers—the highest-rated comedy special in the history of CBC. Later, the respected ABC News program "Nightline" would devote a show to it. This was his last major project related to "22 Minutes"—at the end of the 2000–2001 season, he announced his departure from that show. It was rumoured that part of the reason he had decided to leave was due to a long-standing feud with his co-star Mary Walsh.

"The Rick Mercer Report"

In 2003, "Made in Canada" ended its run as well, and Mercer began to work on a new CBC series, "Rick Mercer's Monday Report". Similar in format to "The Daily Show", the show debuted in January 2004. Also in 2003, Mercer went to Afghanistan to visit the Canadian troops stationed there (See: Operation Athena), resulting in the television special "Christmas in Kabul".

Despite reports of a long-standing feud Mercer invited Walsh to appear on "Monday Report" as a special guest to promote her own series "Hatching, Matching and Dispatching".

At the end of its second season, "Monday Report" was the highest rated arts and entertainment show on the CBC. Mercer has had a who's who from the world of Canadian entertainment and politics appear as guests on his show. Ex-Prime Minister Paul Martin gave him a private tour of 24 Sussex Drive and former New Democratic Party leader Ed Broadbent made snow angels with Mercer on Parliament Hill. Other prominent guests were NDP leader Jack Layton, Conservative Party leader Stephen Harper (now Prime Minister), then-Conservative MP Belinda Stronach, and Conservative MP Peter MacKay, Newfoundland and Labrador Premier Danny Williams, Olympic gold medallist Kyle Shewfelt, author Pierre Berton, and recording artists Jann Arden, Bif Naked, Rush bassist Geddy Lee on how to properly toboggan down a hill, and Sarah McLachlan. When Mercer hosted a relief benefit concert for the victims of the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami at the Pengrowth Saddledome in Calgary, musical guests Barenaked Ladies appeared in a segment Mercer shot backstage completely naked.

Since Mercer launched his own show, he became a regular target of his old show "22 Minutes". Criticism of Mercer focused mostly on his ongoing support of the Canadian Forces and his personal wealth.

In 2005, the CBC moved "Monday Report" to Tuesday nights, which caused the show's name to be changed to "The Rick Mercer Report". On his blog, Mercer wrote of the time slot shift that "we ended the season as the highest rated comedy show on the network. Clearly some drastic changes were needed."

A book by Mercer, "Rick Mercer Report: The Book", based on his television program, was published on September 25, 2007, by Doubleday Canada. This was Mercer's first book since his bestselling "Streeters" of 1998, and contained a collection of the best of Mercer's "rants" from the first four seasons of "Rick Mercer Report", together with choice moments from interviews for the program and other writings by Mercer. On CBC Radio's "Sounds Like Canada" on September 21, Shelagh Rogers said of the book that “it’s the most fun I’ve had in bed in a long time." The book entered the "Globe and Mail" books chart on October 6 at number three. A continuing commercial success, it was number one in the "Globe" bestseller list in the week before Christmas, 07, and has been reprinted eight times.

A new season of "Rick Mercer Report" began on October 2, 2007. The season premiere featured an appearance by Conrad Black, offering his 'celebrity tip' on waxing maple leaves. Guests on subsequent editions of the show have included Newfoundland premier Danny Williams and former PM Jean Chrétien.

An expanded and updated paperpack version of "Rick Mercer Report: The Book", called "Rick Mercer Report: The Paperback Book", was published by Anchor Canada on Sept 16, 2008 and immediately entered the top ten of the "Globe and Mail" bestseller list. A new, sixth series of the show began on September 29.

Film appearances

Mercer has also appeared in a few films, including "Secret Nation", "Understanding Bliss" and "Bon Cop, Bad Cop".


Mercer has received more than 20 Gemini Awards for his television work. He has also been a winner of the prestigious Sir Peter Ustinov Comedy Award, presented to him at the 2003 Banff Television Festival. In 1993, Newfoundland premier Clyde Wells honoured Mercer with the Newfoundland and Labrador Arts Council's Artist of the Year award. In 2004, Mercer was presented with the Governor General's Performing Arts Award. Mercer donated his $15,000 cash prize to the LSPU hall, the theatre in Newfoundland where Mercer performed his early work.

Mercer holds honorary degrees from Laurentian University in Sudbury and Memorial University of Newfoundland in St. John's. Also, Rick Mercer received an honorary high school diploma for his outstanding efforts and determination from Landmark East School in Wolfville, Nova Scotia1999. The two graduates that accompanied him were Jarvis Lepper and Alanna Zaharko.

Mercer was awarded the 30th Annual Bob Edwards Award in Calgary. [ [http://gauntlet.ucalgary.ca/story/4492 University of Calgary Gauntlet article] ]

In 2007, he was named honorary colonel of the 423 Maritime Helicopter Squadron, based in Shearwater, Nova Scotia; the squadron flies an aging fleet of Sea King helicopters. [http://www.cbc.ca/arts/story/2007/01/24/mercer-colonel.html] [http://www.cbc.ca/mrl3/8752/vsu/wmv-hi/gordon-mercer070125.wmv]

pokesperson and endorsements

Rick Mercer is also co-chair, along with Belinda Stronach, in the Spread the Net campaign, partnered through UNICEF, which kicked off at Brock University on September 10th, 2008. Spread the Net provides bed nets for $10 each to prevent the spread of malaria among children in Africa.

In December 2004 Mercer appeared on the commercials advertising the One-Tonne Challenge for the Government of Canada. Mercer also appeared as a model in a national ad for men's clothing store, Harry Rosen, wearing a Canali suit. All of Mercer's fees for the campaign went to Casey House, a hospice in Toronto for people living with AIDS. Casey House was founded by June Callwood, who appeared as a celebrity guest on "Monday Report".

In September 2005, Mercer became the national spokesperson for the 2005 Walk For Life, a series of 132 fund-raising walks across Canada that raise money for people living with HIV and AIDS. The Walk for Life is a project of the Canadian AIDS Society.

Mercer has also narrated an animated science video on climate change for Science North in Sudbury.

Mercer has been named the honorary colonel of 12 Wing Shearwater's 423 Squadron, a three-year posting designed to raise the morale of, and draw attention to, the unit based outside Halifax, Nova Scotia.

Personal life

Mercer's long-time partner is television producer Gerald Lunz. Although the romantic relationship came first, Lunz is also Mercer's long-time partner in business, who discovered him, fostered his career, and is currently the executive producer of "The Rick Mercer Report". Mercer neither hides nor seeks to publicise his sexuality. He regards his personal life as private, and says little about it publicly. Rick Mercer was also a part of the Royal Canadian Air Cadets when he was in his teen years. [http://www.macleans.ca/culture/entertainment/article.jsp?content=20040216_75361_75361] [http://www.fabmagazine.com/features/329/mercer.html] [http://www.xtra.ca/public/viewstory.aspx?AFF_TYPE=3&STORY_ID=3632&PUB_TEMPLATE_ID=2]


External links

* [http://www.rickmercer.com Official website]
* [http://www.cbc.ca/mercerreport "Rick Mercer Report" Official Website]
* [http://www.randomhouse.ca/catalog/display.pperl?isbn=9780385665186 "RMR: The Book" announcement]
* [http://www.thestar.com/article/260914 Toronto Star interview]
* [http://www.torontosun.com/Entertainment/Television/2007/09/25/4523986-sun.html Toronto Sun interview]
* [http://www.cbc.ca/soundslikecanada/interviews Sounds Like Canada interview]
* [http://blogcritics.org/archives/2007/09/25/044009.php Blogcritics article]
* [http://thechronicleherald.ca/Entertainment/898705.html Chronicle Herald interview]
* [http://www.canada.com/nationalpost/news/working/story.html?id=654bfa47-0e00-4512-a6fd-f1b40d5c8f4a Financial Post (National Post section) interview]
*imdb name|id=0580300|name=Rick Mercer
* [http://www.thelavinagency.com/canada/rickmercer.html Rick Mercer—Speaker Profile at The Lavin Agency]
* [http://www.cbc.ca/disclosure/archives/040210_pop/mercer.html Rick Mercer's Disclosure interview]
* [http://quote.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rick_Mercer Rick Mercer quotes on Wikiquote]
* [http://www.dewit.ca/archs/poutine/index.html Archived news report about the "Jean Poutine" incident]
* [http://www.popjournalism.ca/pop/features/2003-2004/00099rickmercer.shtml "Popjournalism" interview including discussion of the second season of "Rick Mercer Report"]
*Mercer on "The Hour" with George Stroumboulopoulos:
** [http://www.cbc.ca/thehour/video.php?id=1681 Interview] , September 24, 2007
** [http://www.cbc.ca/thehour/video.php?id=1504 Mercer's "Best Story Ever"] , August 13, 2007
* [http://entertainment.aol.ca/article/uncensored-rick-mercer-qa/154616/ Uncensored: Rick Mercer Q&A, AOL Entertainment]

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Look at other dictionaries:

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  • Rick Mercer — (2007) Richard Vincent Rick Mercer (* 17. Oktober 1969 in St. John s, Neufundland und Labrador), ist eine kanadische Persönlichkeit aus dem Fernsehen, Satiriker und Blogger. Mercer wurde 1990 in Kanada bekannt, als er seine Einmannshow Show Me… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

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