Preview: Rick Mercer returns to CBC with Comedy Night

Rick Mercer is back on the CBC, and all is right in the world.

I’ve felt a Mercer-sized hole in the network’s primetime schedule since 2018, when The Mercer Report made its final, well, report. Since then, there has been a global pandemic, dozens of political gaffes and untold silly situations that could have used Mercer’s wry take on.

Let’s get things out of the way first. His first series back on the CBC, Comedy Night with Rick Mercer is not The Mercer Report. The veteran funnyman isn’t behind a desk, by himself, reporting on the world while starring in short skits. And that’s totally OK.

Debuting Tuesday at 9 p.m. on CBC, the eight-episode Comedy Night with Rick Mercer is a great comedy showcase, with Mercer stalking the stage of theatres across Canada, performing standup.

“I’ve done two tours of Comedy Night in Canada, and they are big tours, going from St. John’s to Victoria, 28 rooms, 1,000 to 2,000 seats,” Mercer says.

These tours and this show, of course, offer him the chance to talk about what’s been going on with his life since COVID-19 emerged and observations about the world at large. And, it’s a showcase for Canadian comedians, who perform sets in front of the live audience before sitting down with Mercer for one-on-ones. The project is something Mercer has been doing for years, albeit the first with cameras rolling for TV.

“We’re not reinventing the wheel here,” Mercer says. “There have always been comedy showcases. The difference is, there hasn’t been a comedy showcase in primetime in a very long time.”

Comedy Night with Rick Mercer airs Tuesdays at 9 p.m. on CBC.

Images courtesy of JFL.

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