Canada Still Needs Rick Mercer’s News Commentary

The retirement of the beloved Canadian performer is sad news for satire fans

Rick Mercer. (Wikimedia commons)

Canadians were dismayed to learn last month that we will be losing a long-standing favourite news commentary show: The Rick Mercer Report. The program has been on the air for 15 seasons and Rick Mercer himself announced that the one currently airing will be his last.

Mercer has spent years entertaining the Canadian population with his comedic takes on current news events. Alongside This Hour Has 22 Minutes, The Rick Mercer Report has been a staple in the country’s satirical television since 2004. Many will be sad to see him leave our screens.

As a performer, Mercer has a knack for making even what some would consider the most boring topics seem interesting and funny. He talks about a variety of political and other news stories, drawing attention from a diverse group of viewers. He has even had sitting Prime Ministers and other world leaders on his show.

Many bits that have aired on his show over the years are widely adored. One of his classic monologues, “Canada Explained,” has gone viral with over 300,000 views on YouTube. I even remember that particular part of the show being shown in one of my high school classes. And one of the show’s most popular ongoing segments has been “Talking to Americans,” which puts American knowledge of Canadian history and culture to the test.

Mercer’s on-location segments—during which he would travel to a Canadian location, usually somewhere recently in the news, and involve those passing by or participate in something that was happening there—were unique and will be particularly missed. Of course, there are other popular show hosts that have taken a similar approach to entertainment, such as Jimmy Kimmel’s “Pedestrian Question” segment that notoriously engages the public. The key aspect that sets Mercer apart is his Canadian identity.

Having a figure like him in our media has been important to the reputation and success of our entertainment industry. Over the years, Mercer’s show has resembled a Canadian version of The Colbert Report or Last Week Tonight with John Oliver. These are both prominent figures in satirical news media, and it’s rare for Canadian entertainers to receive such acclaim and attention for their work. For example, American news stations such as CTV or ABC News always seems to seep into our networks. The opposite rarely happens.

Canadians enjoy The Rick Mercer Report because it is a representation of ourselves. He talks about Canadian news and Canadian events while the rest of the world is revolving around the United States. It’s a breath of fresh air to hear someone talk about our country and our news, and it’s sad to see that come to an end.

Whether or not Mercer will be taking on any new projects or heading straight for retirement is still unknown. Whatever the case may be, many Canadians will miss his show.

The final episode of The Rick Mercer Report is set to air on April 10, 2018.

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