“It’s not exactly ‘Angela’s Ashes,’” Rick Mercer says of his childhood. He writes about it in his engaging new memoir, “Talking to Canadians” (Penguin Harper Collins).
When he first sat down to write the book, something of a pandemic project, he worried that he lacked the harrowing childhood needed to pen a comedian’s memoir.
Brace yourself then, reader. Mercer’s tome is filled with mischief but also happy memories of growing up with his family in Middle Cove, Newfoundland, 25-minutes outside of St. John’s. Crowding around dinner tables were his mother, Patricia, father, Kenneth, an older sister and brother and eventually a younger sister adopted into the family. He writes generously about all of them.
I’ve been interviewing Mercer for over 25 years since meeting him way back when This Hour Has 22 Minutes first launched in the mid-‘90s. Like most, I know the story of his 25 years on CBC, right through the 15-season run of The Mercer Report.
It was fun, therefore, to read and talk about those first 25 years, leading up to a challenge a special teacher gave Mercer -- never exactly a fully engaged student.
“My life changed forever on that day,” says the 52-year-old, who stepped up to comedy at that point, “and that’s all I’ve done ever since except for a few stints washing dishes.”