I always enjoy catching up with Steve Smith, the scratchy voice and scrambled brain behind Red Green. Smith brought me up to date on the phone last week, told me all about his Red Green “Wit & Wisdom” tour. The 90-minute, one man shows are scheduled at theatres right across Canada with a stop at Casino Rama booked for Oct. 27. No big cities mind you–Smith knows Red plays best to his Possum Lodge peeps in cities under 100,000. You can find the full tour schedule here.
Being Canadian, Smith took a MacGyver approach to making television, cranking out episodes with bits of string, chewing gum and duct tape. Over 15 seasons he delivered 300 episodes of The New Red Green Show. They aired across several stations and networks, so Smith got to deal with a lot of pinheaded programmers. He singles out former CBC boss Slawko Klymkiw as one Canadian network executive who got it. “He stands alone in my whole memory of television,” says Smith.
True to his working class Hamilton, Ont., roots, Smith has always been a realist when it comes to the business of making television. “I really miss the apathy that used to give Canadian talent a chance,” he says, suggesting the problem with network executives today is “now they think they know something.”
Smith is quite content to retail himself on tour rather than “wholesaling myself to TV stations,” explaining, “my whole career, I wholesaled my talents to TV stations and then they marked me up to advertisers.”
Now that’s “Wit & Wisdom.” For more on Smith and Red, check out this article I wrote this week for The Canadian Press.

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