Title: Talking to Canadians: A Memoir
Author: Rick Mercer
Genre: Nonfiction, Memoir
Publisher: Doubleday Canada
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
Release Date: November 2, 2021
Canada’s beloved comic genius tells his own story for the first time.
What is Rick Mercer going to do now? That was the question on everyone’s lips when the beloved comedian retired his hugely successful TV show after 15 seasons—and at the peak of its popularity. The answer came not long after, when he roared back in a new role as stand-up-comedian, playing to sold-out houses wherever he appeared.
And then Covid-19 struck. And his legions of fans began asking again: What is Rick Mercer going to do now? Well, for one thing, he’s been writing a comic masterpiece. For the first time, this most private of public figures has turned the spotlight on himself, in a memoir that’s as revealing as it is hilarious. In riveting anecdotal style, Rick charts his rise from highly unpromising schoolboy (in his reports “the word ‘disappointment’ appeared a fair bit”) to the heights of TV fame. Along the way came an amazing break when, not long out of his teens, his one-man show Show Me the Button, I’ll Push It. Or, Charles Lynch Must Die, became an overnight sensation—thanks in part to a bizarre ambush by its target, Charles Lynch himself. That’s one story you won’t soon forget, and this book is full of them.
There’s a tale of how little Rick helped himself to a tree from the neighbours’ garden that’s set to become a new Christmas classic. There’s Rick the aspiring actor, braving “the scariest thing I have ever done in my life” by performing with the Newfoundland Shakespeare Company; unforgettable scenes with politicians of every variety, from Jean Chretien to George W. Bush to Stockwell Day; and a wealth of behind-the-scenes revelations about the origins and making of This Hour Has 22 Minutes, Made in Canada, and Talking to Americans. All leading of course to the greenlighting of that mega-hit, Rick Mercer Report . . .
It’s a life so packed with incident (did we mention Bosnia and Kabul?) and laughter we can only hope that a future answer to “What is Rick Mercer going to do now?” is: “Write volume two.”
Rick Mercer is one of my favourite comedians. He has hosted satirical news shows, such as The Rick Mercer Report and This Hour Has 22 Minutes, as well as many Canadian awards shows. In this memoir, he talks about his early life and how he got into show business. He’s had a fascinating career that has led him to becoming one of the funniest Canadian entertainers.
My top 3 favourite comedians are from Newfoundland: Jonny Harris, Mark Critch, and Rick Mercer. The beginning of this memoir was set in Newfoundland during Rick’s childhood. I traveled to Newfoundland a couple of years ago and I have family who lives in Newfoundland (in Bishop’s Falls which also got a little cameo appearance in this memoir). Canada, and particularly Newfoundland, are such small places that even one of my English university professors was mentioned in this book. All of the Canadian references really made me feel connected to this book.
I’ve watched both of Rick’s shows since I was a child. I’ve been a fan of his for as long as I can remember. Many of his best jokes were in this memoir, including his segment called Talking to Americans. He would interview Americans and tell them made up things about Canada that they believed. I remember watching one episode where he told people in an American city that Canada was going to start using the 24 hour clock. They congratulated the country on adopting this way of counting time. This was some of his classic comedy, that made me laugh out loud many times while reading this book.
Talking to Canadians is a hilarious Canadian memoir!
Thank you Penguin Random House Canada for providing a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
What to read next:
Rick Mercer Final Report by Rick Mercer
Son of a Critch by Mark Critch
Have you read Talking to Canadians? What did you think of it?