Ed Socks it to Canada Day!
Photos courtesy of the back of Ed's closet
It’s 15-Oh Canada, eh! Sure we could have gone to J.T. himself, we could have lined up a new rendition of “Tears Are Not Enough” with Northern Lights 2017 and we could have even hosted a séance with the ghost of ol’ John A. himself but Ottawa Life wanted iconic! We wanted bigger than Sudbury’s nickel and that Colborne apple combined! Louder than a Neil Young guitar solo. Hotter than a topless Beiber Instagram pic.
We needed the Great One! Errrr…the OTHER Great One. We needed Ed The Sock!
While did get him to spill on his fabled career, his top moments in Canadian history and how he’d have planned the big 150 (poutine wrestling, anybody?) it took awhile. We found Ed in a mood fouler than usual surrounded by beer and crushed out stoogies. I guess being such a famed Canadian and not being invited to the festivities here in Ottawa will do that you, even if you’re some chain smoking footwear.
(We approached with caution, opting to butter Ed up with our opening question.)
Ottawa Life: First off, how have you been keeping yourself recently? Gotta’ say, you’re looking pretty damn good for some footwear that’s getting up in age. What's your secret?
Ed the Sock: If I told you, it wouldn’t be a secret.
Also, “getting up in age”? Frikkin’ millennial.
I hope your next question has some greater
depth or this is going to be a bigger waste
of time than I imagined.
(Admittedly, a bad idea. Okay how about a question about family?)
You know, it just occurred me, socks usually come in pairs, right? I mean, unless you count every damn time I open the dryer and only find one. I figure that has something to do with aliens. Anyway, do you have some long lost twin out there somewhere that could be the total opposite of you or, you know, did you sadly lose a bro to the laundry?
Well, thanks for confirming my suspicions.
(Our interview was going downhill fast. Quick, we thought, ask him about his career!)
You’d been in television now for over 20 years! Not a bad run. What’s one of your favorite tales you can share about the early days?
?Not a bad run? Not a bad run?!!
First of all, it’s more like 30 years. Secondly, find me another Canadian pop-culture icon that has had a comparable ‘run’ and people still care about. Here, I’ll give you a minute….nevermind, don’t waste the minute – you won’t find one! Typically Canadian, underplaying accomplishments lest we seem boastful or, you know, possessing any shred of healthy self-confidence.
As for tales, there are too many to list. One day, I’ll write a book; based on the evolution of attention-spans, if I wait long enough it will only need to be a series of memes.
Some memorable experiences – singing with Beyonce and Willie Nelson (not together), hosting Christina Aguilera’s Canadian press conference and telling reporters with dumb questions to shut up and sit down, getting Coldplay’s Chris Martin to re-enact the running-around-to-music shtick from the end of Benny Hill shows, getting the finger from William Shatner (mentioned similarity of his hair to mine), driving the original Batmobile with Adam West, Richard Branson stuffing a US $5 bill in my pocket after I sang for him, Prime Minister Chretien telling me to stop smoking outside doors of Parliament chamber, advising Hilary Duff on tax write-offs, Jack Layton appointing me the NDP member for the Bata Shoe Museum (honorary, I’m not NDP), making Lenny Kravitz break his stone-face ‘cool’ demeanor causing Denzel Washington to laugh & knock over a tray of water glasses…there’s lots more, but I’ll be talking about that in my ‘Much Memories’ segment upcoming on the FU_Network.
Also, critically flaying the biggest names in music every year on Fromage while getting the biggest numbers for Muchmusic and restoring some semblance of integrity to the channel.
A man…errr, sock of your caliber could certainly find popularity anywhere. Hell, a Vegas show, a spin in London’s West End. What keeps you in the T-dot?
Is that sarcasm or naivete? Sure, a Vegas show! For a Canadian media personality? Can’t get any respect from Big Media in Canada, nevermind the USA! I’ve been told by the Comedy Network that they couldn’t “re-brand (me) for comedy” and by another network that my “brand is too strong”. Brand is ‘too strong’ for popular media struggling to draw eyeballs? And they wonder why the industry here has crapped the bed.
Though an American company has been paying me for the past few years for weekly EDitorial videos (everyjoe.com), so typically American media can recognize Canadian talent better than Canadian media does. In Canada, we like to bury our treasures. Unless you get an appearance on a US sitcom or drama, then Canada gives you a star of on our ‘Walk of Fame’.
Now you’ve landed online. Some might think a step back but YouTube and Netflix seems to be where the times have been a’changin’. How have you found the move to the internet?
Did you see my previous answer? Not having to deal with pinheads running TV networks is a step up, not down. The only real freedom these days is on the net, Big Media is so risk-averse that even things I could do on TV in 2008 TV nets wouldn’t let happen now. If you want to see fresh, authentic, non-BS content, the web is the promised land.
Can you tell us about some of the projects you are working on now and where we can find them?
I am doing a live show on Facebook Live and Youtube called “Live from Canada – Ed the Sock LIVES”, which revives the mojo of classic Muchmusic in a modern world. We started under the radar with no promotion in November so we could get the tech and flow working together, which it finally has. Besides, when things go wrong on my shows, that’s part of the show, not a problem. Even without promo, we’ve managed to attract viewership that back on Much would have been considered excellent.
But that show is only the beginning of a new network I’m launching called FUN – The FU_Network. Imagine if Muchmusic had never jumped off a cliff, but instead kept evolving, incorporating new tech & social media while keeping the live, honest, in-the-moment content everyone loved – that’s the FU_Network. Politics is the new rock n’ roll so you’ll see current affairs & issues, music, entertainment, tech & gaming and more, all with a undercurrent of smart, observational wit. Find it at funetwork.tv or better yet, go to Youtube.com/funetwork.
Also I’m on Facebook at The REAL Ed the Sock and Twitter as @edthesock.
(Okay, Ed was warming up to us. Time to hit him with the tough question on everybody’s mind)
Alright, alright, enough beating around the maple tree. We know why we’re here. You’re a Canadian Icon. I know it, you know it, Trudeau knows it. If anybody is deserving to host Canada’s 150th Birthday it’s you, Ed. Why do you think you didn’t get that phone call?
Because I’m a voice of the people, and nobody hates that more than those who consider themselves above the people. Even after all this time, the powers-that-be are still afraid of me, of what I represent – a supercharged BS filter with the courage to expose it.
Also, the stampede of people wanting selfies with me would dwarf the numbers wanting one with the Prime Minister, and that would be bad optics for the government.
Well, let’s play Devil’s Advocate. Had you been asked to host how do you think the festivities would have run and what would you have had planned?
Politician dunk tank, poutine wrestling (men & women), helicopter rides with the Agha Khan, “Shave Tom Mulcair” raffle, big game of “Where’s Waldo” where people try to identify Andrew Scheer and before the fireworks, the world’s largest “Screeching in” ceremony.
150 has been slammed into us daily for a year. What have you thought of all the country-wide hoopla?
Hoopla? Generally, I’ve sensed all the excitement of a colleague’s retirement lunch. That’s appropriate though, because it’s a true reflection of Canada – low-key, self-deprecating, a little shy and very down-to-earth. I’d rather us celebrate Canada’s birthday by being who we are, and proud of it, rather than trying to ape the hype-machine of our neighbor and looking awkward and derivative.
What do you think you need to be a truly be a top notch Canadian patriot, eh?
Live and let live. Don’t express ‘tolerance’ for differences, accept and share them. Avoid mob mentality. Support the CFL. Say you like the Tragically Hip, even if you don’t.
What are you Top 5 moments in Canadian History?
Here’s 7; 5 is too arbitrary.
1927 – Jack Cartledge patents the first hard-cup jockstrap, making Paulina Gretzky possible.
1923 – Canadian scientists Banting, Macleod, Best and Collip invent insulin, leading to numerous internet memes of Wilford Brimley.
1962 – Birth in Saskatchewan of eventual national single-payer Medicare system, which provides a proud exception to our US inferiority complex.
1963 – Airing of first Hinterland Who’s Who, an essential Canadian video series whose haunting flute music predated Zamfir by a decade.
1980. SCTV introduces Bob & Doug McKenzie, elevating world opinion of Canadians from bland to rustically awesome.
1996 – On February 15, then-PM Jean Chretien gives the ‘Shawinigan Handshake’ choke-hold to a protester while knocking another one’s megaphone away. And doesn’t apologize.
1976 – Birth of Ben Mulroney, without whom Canadian television would crumble into nothingness.
I give you a time machine and tell you can only travel back in to any date in Canadian history. Which one do you choose and why?
Two possibilities: 1) go back to whatever date poutine was invented and stop it; I don’t like my french fries looking like someone else ate them before me 2) go back to 1963 and have Tim Horton adopt me.
Ok, now you get to zip ahead 150 years into the future. What do you think the Canada of 2,167 is going to look like?
Like now, without manbuns.
You were pretty outspoken about Bono and The Edge being none Canucks taking part of the Hill festivities. If you had to choose just two Canadians in all of history to be there instead who would you have show up?
If we’re talking about individuals, I’d like to former Prime Minister William Lyon Mackenzie brought back to life to witness the sea of multicultural, multiracial Canadian faces so he could have a coronary and die again. As for musical figures, how about Drake? He markets himself as a local boy, maybe he could take a few minutes away from banging Rihanna to show us some love. Okay, not sure I would either. How about Justin Bieber. Yes, he’s a noxious douchebag, but so is Bono – at least Bieber is actually Canadian. Though what I’d really have liked is a reunion of Canadian musical trio B4-4. Now that would be history.
Well, since you won’t be on the Hill, what WILL you be doing on Canada Day?
Check the picture, I’ve already started.