Rick Mercer, Newfoundland’s hot-headed political satirist, is publishing a book of collected rants this November.
The release of Rick Mercer The Final Report follows the announcement that after fifteen years on the air, Mercer’s weekly show Rick Mercer Report will finish this fall. The book includes a selection of the ninety-second rants Mercer has opened his show with over the years, alongside new material.
The previously unpublished essays in the book give readers a peek into the behind-the-scenes world of the Rick Mercer Report. Mercer explained that fans often stop him in the street and ask him to share stories about life on the road and the making of the show.
“They love to hear about segments they saw on television, but they also like to hear about segments that went so incredibly wrong they never made it to television,” Mercer said. “I was happy to write those stories.”
The newer essays divulge why certain celebrity interviews were never aired and how the crew averted near disasters on set. However, they also include quieter reflections about Mercer’s creative process and how the tone of his rants evolved over the course of the show’s long run.
Mercer says that as a Newfoundlander, ranting comes naturally to him. He almost always begins his morning by listening to the call-in show, Open Line, and admiring the rants other Newfoundlanders share on the program.
“Newfoundlanders aren’t shy and they aren’t shy to share their opinions and I think the world would be a far better place if more people were like that,” Mercer said.
In his introduction, Mercer explains that later in his career, he became more comfortable experimenting with rants that were less angry and less funny. He found that some topics, like Gord Downie’s death, required a more sombre tone. Re-reading his compiled rants, Mercer was pleased to find that the anger in the older rants still felt genuine and justified, but that it was also satisfying to be able to reach people with pieces that were less acerbic.
Many of Mercer’s rants condensed an argument about current events in Canada to fit the segment’s ninety-second constraint. Mercer admits that when the show premiered in 2004, he was worried he might run out of subjects for his weekly rant. However he eventually “learned not to underestimate the absurdity of life in this confederation we call Canada.”
Mercer jokes that Rick Mercer The Final Report is almost like a Coles Notes on Canadian history because the older rants in the book provide an overview of what has happened in the country over the past fifteen years in quick, pithy bursts.
“I think anyone who enjoyed the show will enjoy the stories and I think any political junkie out there will want the book just because it’s a record of Canadian history and a great way to remember certain moments in time,” Mercer said.