As Peter Mansbridge says on the current episode of brioux.tv the podcast, its been a great fall for Canadian authors. His book, “Off the Record,” has been near the top of the Canadian nonfiction bestsellers list since it was released by Simon & Schuster in September. Other books by Mark Messier, Jean Chretien, Judy Wilson-Raybould, Mark Critch (another recent podcast guest) and Ron James are also bumping big names such as Bob Woodward and Stanley Tucci down the charts.
Joining that list this week is Rick Mercer, who incidentally happens to be this coming Monday’s guest on the next episode of the podcast. His new memoir is “Talking to Canadians” (Penguin Random House). In it he covers his early years growing up in and around St. John’s in Newfoundland. It’s a well-written book, with laugh out loud moments and colourful characters on nearly every page.
Mercer told me that he was worried at first that his memoir might be ruined by his happy childhood. It’s not a concern you hear all that often from comedians.
When he used to tell the one about stealing a neighbour’s christmas tree, or other tales of highjinks from his early years, his comedy colleague and future CBC co-star Mary Walsh would exclaim, “My God, where did you grow up — Green Acres?”
A great deal of good fortune is part of Mercer’s story, so much so that he titled one chapter, “Luck.” Still, for a generally disinterested student, he seized the day as a young performer. His wild and rapid ride up the ranks in a province filled with comedy all-stars builds to his eventual berth as one of the four original members of This Hour Has 22 Minutes.
The 52-year-old wrote the book in early morning stretches last year during the pandemic after he found himself with more time on his hands — especially after a coast-to-coast Just for Laughs comedy tour was cancelled due to COVID.
I wrote an article on Mercer for the October/November issue of Zoomer magazine, with a version of that same story also appearing on-line via this link to Zoomer Everywhere. Both stories go into more detail on the memoir.