Rick Mercer ending ‘Mercer Report’

Canadian comedian Rick Mercer decides to end ‘Mercer Report’ after 15 seasons

When the “Rick Mercer Report” returns to CBC Tuesday night, the opening headline will be “Final Season.”

The Canadian comedian has decided to end the show in March after 15 seasons and 277 episodes.

In an interview with The Canadian Press, Mercer said there was no “seismic event or epiphany that this should be the end. It’s still the best job in the world.”

It was simply the right time, he said.

Mercer, who turns 48 next month, posted his announcement Monday in a specially taped rant to his 1.3 million Twitter followers.

It will be one of 264 rants he will have performed since the series premiered on Jan. 12, 2004 — all captured in various graffiti-strewn Toronto alleyways by director of photography Don Spence.

“I’m incredibly proud of the show and everything we’ve done,” said Mercer.

To get ready for one last season, he flew thousands of kilometres this summer, taping segments “from sea to sea to sea.” One 12-day trip saw him snorkelling in the Arctic Ocean off Cambridge Bay where Canadian underwater archeologists are based.

“They’re way up there,” said Mercer. “It was fantastic.”

In P.E.I., he hung off the side of the Confederation Bridge with a maintenance crew.

“I had nightmares for days afterwards,” he said.

A stop on the B.C. coast saw him helping to release eagles into the wild. In rural Manitoba, he helped seniors paint a grain elevator.

“Three coasts and a grain elevator,” said Mercer. “You can’t get more Canadian than that.”

All that travel left him with “luggage in my house in various stages of packed and unpacked for 15 years.”

He praised members of his road crew, including field producer John Marshall, who have been with him from the beginning.

He’s proud of all the money raised for causes such as the malaria-prevention “Spread the Net” campaign.

“That’s engaged a whole bunch of young people in ways that just keeps on paying dividends,” said Mercer.

Just how lucky he’s been hit him a few years ago when he struck up a conversation with a passenger on a plane.

“He revealed to me, sadly, that he didn’t have long to live,” said Mercer. “This man had compiled a bucket list of, like, a hundred things that he was going to do.

“So he started explaining his bucket list to me, and I had to stop myself because everything he said, I was like, ‘Oh, you’ve got to do that! It’s great!”

Mercer realized that he’s been living a bucket list life.

“You don’t know how many people you might meet whose fondest dream is to fly in the back of a fighter jet,” he said. ”Well, I’ve done that three times.”

Related: Mercer Report season premiere to feature Vancouver Island animal rescue centre

So why walk away from the best job in television?

“I’ve done this before,” said Mercer, who was one of the founders of “This Hour Has 22 Minutes.” That series returns Tuesday night for its 25th season right after the “Mercer Report.”

Mercer was 23 when “22 Minutes” launched and left after eight seasons.

“A lot of people said, ‘You’re mad, why would you walk away from this?” said Mercer, “Sometimes you have to take a chance.”

What followed was a five-season run on the sitcom “Made in Canada.” He also scored huge ratings with his “Talking to Americans” comedy special. Factor in “Mercer Report” and he will have been a key part of the CBC schedule for 25 consecutive seasons.

Now that the series is ending, will politicians be clamouring for one last appearance? Mercer shot segments with everyone from former prime ministers Stephen Harper and Jean Chretien to NDP leadership hopeful Jagmeet Singh. He’s shied away from that lately, “but if Bob Rae wants to get naked again for one last skinny dip, he’s welcome.”

He swears he’s not leaving to write a book or accept a Senate appointment. He’s not angling for a raise or “looking to spend more time with my family.” And he promises he won’t grow a giant beard like David Letterman.

He doubts he’ll change his mind, either.

“There’s a lot of people who’ve worked on this show for a long time,” he said. “They’re like family in many ways. They deserve the heads-up.”

Mercer talked it over with his partner at home and work, executive producer Gerald Lunz. It was their call to go out on top.

“You leave to protect the legacy of the show,” he said. “That’s what you have to do.”

What will he do next?

“I honestly don’t know the answer,” said Mercer. “Right now, I just want this to be the best season ever.”

— Bill Brioux is a freelance TV columnist based in Brampton, Ont.

Bill Brioux, The Canadian Press

Just Posted

Cranbrook’s India Sherret nominated to Canadian Olympic ski cross team

Local skier set to compete at PyeongChang games in February, week after first World Cup medal

UPDATE: Tsunami warning cancelled for coastal British Columbia

Warning issued following 7.9 earthquake off Kodiak, AK

Fernie and RCMP go to court over city log books in fatal ammonia leak probe

Log books center stage in clashing of investigations between the city and RCMP

Peanut Butter Campaign supports local food banks

Both Save On Foods in Fernie and Overwaitea in Sparwood participated in… Continue reading

VIDEO: Explorers uncover Canada’s deepest cave in Fernie

The cave, named Bisaro Anima, was confirmed to have broken the record on New Year’s Day

Tsunami warnings 101: Canada

Here are some things to know about tsunami alerts in Canada and how they work

Vancouver Islanders ponder need for tsunami siren song

Alarm sounds in Port Alberni but not at the DND base in Esquimalt

Babcock, Goyette and Smyth honoured at Order of Hockey in Canada

Mike Babcock, from Saskatoon, guided the Detroit Red Wings to a Stanley Cup in 2008

Bell Canada alerts customers who may be affected by latest data breach

Federal Office of the Privacy Commissioner said it had been notified

‘The tsunami alarm failed my household’: North Coast residents concerned over sirens, alerts

People living in northern communities share how they learned about Tuesday’s tsunami warning

Snowboarder dies at Vancouver Island ski resort

Death at Mount Washington Alpine Resort

Man faces 48 charges in string of random Toronto shootings

The string of unprovoked shootings began Jan.9, say police

‘Shape of Water’ producer, Christopher Plummer among Canadian Oscar nominees

Guillermo del Toro film about merman romance earns 13 nominations

Most Read