Rick Mercer: Rants, Recollections and Retirement?

While his book may be titled, Final Report, NL’s proudest rantaholic declares it ain’t over yet; at least as long as the cheques keep clearing


Rick Mercer starts the conversation off like any good Newfoundlander would; by talking about the weather. “It’s up, it’s down, it’s windy, it’s not, it’s hot, it’s cold,” he says working himself into an almost rant-like state before finally sighing and accepting that which he cannot change by declaring, “The world’s gone mad weather wise.” 

We take a moment to talk, what else? Gardening. “Greg (Malone) turned into quite the gardener. He and his wife are like old hippies; growing flowers and plants for 30 years. Greg’s wife has great knowledge about everything from rhubarb to echinacea to the various rose bushes.” 

Comedy to Carpentry

So, is that what he plans to do now that The Rick Mercer Report has been, after a glorious 15-year run, put to bed? He’ll garden? “That and build boats with my father,” he jokes – which he has, by the way – actually done.  “I’ll work – as long as the cheque clears,” he laughs.  

Mercer is quick to note that he isn’t actually retiring. He’s been down this road before when he left This Hour Has 22 Minutes after eight years on the show.  

“One of the great things about a career as a performer is you never have to retire. Look at Gordon Pinsent. Long past the time you can bend over and pick up a shovel, you can still shuffle across a screen and deliver a line.”

The decision to end The Rick Mercer Report was more about timing and legacy than it was about the need for more down time or schedule clearing. The book, Rick Mercer Final Report pays tribute, in a way, to the show and its many fans.

 “It’s about wrapping up this show,” he says, explaining that the book holds his favourite rants over the past 15 years, plus some surprises.

“There’s many that have never been published before in there but also I look back at some of the stories behind the scenes and some of the things that people ask me about a lot.”

What were some of the reasons he held rants back? Sometimes timing, sometimes a word he no longer liked. 

“Language is changing all the time and we all deal with that in our lives. We look back and say, wow did I really say that? The rants are always opinion and they’ve always only been my opinion, my commentary, and it was always an honest opinion.”

If there’s anything he prides himself on more than anything else, it’s his honesty over the years. 

“I’m proud of the fact that I can look back over the 15 years and say there’s no manufactured outrage. It was all sincere, so I stand by 99 per cent of them.”

For our complete one-on-one with Rick Mercer pick up the Dec.16-22 digital issue here

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