‘A Nation Worth Ranting About’

Tara Bradbury
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Rick Mercer launches 10th season of his show and a new book

CBC’s resident satirist Rick Mercer will return for the 10th season of “Rick Mercer Report” tonight at 8 p.m.
— File photo by The Canadian Press

If you don’t know what a Flyboard is, you’re going to want to take a second and Google it.

Essentially a water-powered jetpack that enables a person to fly in the air, Rick Mercer says it’s the most exciting thing he’s ever done in his life — and this is from a man who jumps out of airplanes, rappels down the CN Tower and goes ziplining for a living.

“You fly over a lake. Like Ironman. And then you can dive underwater and swim like a dolphin,” Mercer explains, still excited about his recent Flyboarding adventure in Sylvan Lake, Alta.

The Flyboarding episode will kick off Mercer’s 10th season on the air with CBC-TV’s “Rick Mercer Report” tonight at 8 p.m.

While Mercer launches into the air, Doubleday Canada and Random House will launch his newest book, “A Nation Worth Ranting About,” across the country and in the U.S.

Picking up where his previous bestseller, “Rick Mercer Report: The Book” left off, this one is also a collection of his infamous, patented rants.

Politics, of course, is the inspiration for many of them, but he also muses about the swine flu, royal visits, escalators, credit cards, and people who don’t use snow tires.

Mercer has also included some of his most famous rants, including his passionate piece on school bullying, which went viral when he originally filmed it, and explored those topics deeper.

“There are a number of rants that kind of took on lives of their own or contain subject matter that I wanted to expand on, so I’ve written some essays about that,” Mercer explains. “I’ve (also) done some essays just about being behind the scenes, about meeting some people like Rick Hansen and convincing him that it would be ok for me to throw him off a bridge.”

A bungee jumping adventure with Hansen is among Mercer’s favourite pieces, since he’s long been one of his personal heroes, and he describes their first meeting in the book.

“Turns out the Man in Motion has some sort of bionic exoskeleton braces that he wears under his pants when driving around town. These braces let him get out of his truck, stand and move to the back so he can fish out his wheelchair,” Mercer writes. “I learned this later. It’s a tad embarrassing to admit that the first thing I said to him was, ‘Holy shit. You can walk?’ Awkward.”

“A Nation Worth Ranting About” includes dozens of photos from “Rick Mercer Report:” Mercer with the women of the Montreal Roller Derby League, Mercer at the Vancouver Circus School, Mercer guest-starring on The Weather Network.

“Of course, it’s the perfect Christmas gift,” Mercer says, laughing.

He’s fortunate, he says; in television, the holy grail is to create a show that the whole family can watch, and it seems he’s done that with “Rick Mercer Report.”

He could fill an auditorium at a university or a nursing home, and the bulk of his fan mail comes from 10- and 12-year-olds who say he has the best job in the world.

If it wasn’t for television, what would he be doing for a career?

“Real estate agent in St. John’s,” Mercer says. “And I’m thinking of maybe getting out of this business and becoming a Flyboard instructor all day.”



Twitter: @tara_bradbury

Organizations: Google, CBC, Doubleday Canada and Random House Montreal Roller Derby League Vancouver Circus School

Geographic location: Nation Worth Ranting About, Sylvan Lake

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