The Globe and Mail (Ottawa/Quebec Edition) - - NEWS - SI­MON HOUPT

In his 1992 one-man stage show, I’ve Killed Be­fore, I’ll Kill Again, co­me­dian Rick Mercer played a New­found­land hang­man who sum­mar­ily ex­e­cuted Cana­dian icons such as Burton Cum­mings and Far­ley Mowat. But by the time he be­came host of Rick Mercer’s Mon­day Re­port, his pose was demon­stra­bly more benev­o­lent to­ward fa­mous main­lan­ders: The show’s de­but episode fea­tured none other than Shirley Dou­glas in­struct­ing Cana­di­ans on the eti­quette of win­ter jump­starts. The re­cur­ring celebrity ad­vice seg­ment would be­come one of the most pop­u­lar of the show (later re­named Rick Mercer Re­port), with such in­stant clas­sics as a bow-tied Pierre Ber­ton scold­ing a young­ster on the proper way to roll a mar­i­juana cig­a­rette. Over 15 sea­sons, Mercer of­fered up gen­tle satire, ranted de­pend­ably to a herky­jerky cam­era­man, and–trav­el­ling to more than 500 places, from coast to coast to coast–cel­e­brated Canada’ s com­mon folk and its stars( skinny-dip ping Bob Rae, bungee-jump­ing Rick Hansen, ex­u­ber­ant Jann Ar­den) in equal mea­sure. And by the time he bid adieu – in an episode fea­tur­ing an earnest rant ad­vo­cat­ing for his fel­low cit­i­zens to fol­low in his foot­steps and ex­plore their great coun­try for them­selves – Mercer had be­come that thing he’d once be­held: a gen­uine Cana­dian icon.


Mar­garet At­wood makes a guest ap­pear­ance on Rick Mercer’s Mon­day Re­port in Jan­uary, 2005, to demon­strate to Mercer how to stop a puck.

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