For years, he was a staple on Canadian television, sharing stories from the fishing lodge and telling tales with famous guests.
Red Fisher’s show became iconic, paving the way for nostalgia, imitation and, of course, parody.
“He thought nothing would bore you,” said Steve Smith.
Smith and his wife produced a sketch series called Smith and Smith and remembered Sunday afternoons watching Fisher’s show.
“Why don’t I make fun of this guy?” Smith said.
That initial sketch comedy routine eventually spawned its own Canadian hit television series: Red Green. Smith brings a stage version to the Port Theatre Sept. 10.
When Smith and Smith ended and another television show opportunity was presented, the popularity of the Red Green sketch came to mind. The challenge was to expand a sketch into a full show.
“We had to expand to get some content,” Smith said. “It was still based on making fun of this guy.”
Enter Possum Lodge, where Red Green and his buddies would answer mail from viewers and offer life advice.
Handyman Corner would see Red attempt inventions out of everyday items, like creating a jet pack from two propane tanks or a carnival ride by attaching bar stools to a washing machine agitator.
He usually ended the segment with the sage advice: if women don’t find you handsome, they should at least find you handy.
The show spawned dozens of cultural references, most notably the million and one uses for duct tape.
“Duct tape is kind of a natural extension from men,” Smith said.
As he explains it, he could weld a project all day, or he could spend five minutes duct taping it together.
And he’d rather spend five minutes every week than eight hours in one day.
“That’s the way we are,” he said.
The show still airs in reruns on television in Canada and the U.S.
The comedy seems to transfer to different countries unlike other made-in-Canada series.
“We are the longest running Canadian show in America,” Smith said.
Mainstream comedy is rife with people being mean to others for a laugh – something that Smith is glad Red Green was never part of.
Smith watched the golden era of television, where the goal was to make people happy for a short time each day.
“That’s the kind of comedy that stuck with me,” he said.
Despite Red Green’s continuing popularity, Smith has no plans to revive the show.
While the stage show borrows from the TV series – Smith still gives advice on how to get along with the wife and the history of Possum Lodge – people expecting an episode of Red Green will be disappointed.
“If you want to see The Red Green Show, stay home – save your money, buy a six-pack and a bag of chips and watch it on TV,” Smith said.
Smith performs Red Green Live at the Port Theatre Sept. 10 at 7 p.m. Tickets $55.50.
Please call 250-754-8550 or visit www.porttheatre.com.