There was a lot of excitement in Happy Valley-Goose Bay last week with the arrival of comedian Rick Mercer during the Labrador Winter Games. He paid a visit towards the end of the games when the main events, the Labrathon and the Northern Games were taking place.
The popular host of the Mercer Report often travels to towns and cities across the country, where he participates in local events. His show has taken him to almost every region and province, but Labrador had eluded the show for many years.
“This is the first time filming in Labrador and it’s weighed heavily on me for a number of years because, as the Mercer report has gone on season after season, I’ve covered the entire country and the north above the tree line and all the provinces and territories, but I never shot in Labrador,” he told The Labradorian.
While he was at the Labrador Winter Games, he tried the entire Labrathon and did the seal crawl at the Northern Games (although he kind of cheated halfway through), all of which was taped for The Mercer Report.
When Mercer travels to different events, he often chooses to do athletic events. In the past he has practiced with the Winnipeg jets, tried skating in Red Bull Crashed Ice, and went diving with Alexandre Despatie.
Mercer admits that him trying out different sporting events makes for good comedy because he doesn’t have much talent. On his show it looks like he’s struggling to figure out what to do with himself, but Mercer claims he always tries his hardest.
“There’s no dignity in show business and I have very few skills,” says Mercer. “Occasionally I stumble upon beginners luck…(but) I think people like to see me as a regular guy trying these things.
“A great segment for me is a beautiful part of the country and I get to show it off to the rest of the world; obviously Labrador has that in spades…there’s just interesting people in a beautiful part of the world.” - Rick Mercer
“I don’t ever head into a situation like this (the Labrathon) which takes incredible skill and stamina and experience, and expect to do well.”
Labrathon coordinator Max Winters was selected to do the Labrathon with Rick Mercer for the show. Winters was thrilled to have Mercer filming the Games.
“It’s good news for us and for Labrador,” says Winters. “This is really, really great...it’s great promotion (for Labrador).”
It didn’t take long for Mercer to win over Labradorians during his visit. Even when he and his crew weren’t filming for the show, the constantly smiling Mercer was watching the events and cheering on the athletes. He even handed out the medals to the Special Olympians at the Northern Games.
Mercer says he genuinely enjoyed talking to people and filming at the Winter Games. According to the comedian, unique Labradorians make for good television.
“Even this morning we went to the darts and met some of the funniest people I interviewed in years just talking about darts,” says Mercer. “A great segment for me is a beautiful part of the country and I get to show it off to the rest of the world; obviously Labrador has that in spades…there’s just interesting people in a beautiful part of the world.”