“I like to think that I'm not the old racist uncle or grandpa. I'm not the old intolerant one. But I am somebody who speaks with the same vocal tones they do, someone who speaks with the same wording, speaks with the same pacing. I'm just using that to say things that are a little more positive than things that reflect ignorance. So I'm like a sheep in wolf's clothing.”
– Ed the Sock
Guy MacPherson: You're going on tour. When does that begin?
Ed the Sock: November 27th.
GM: You've got dates back-to-back-to-back, boom, boom, boom, boom.
ES: Yeah, ten dates in eleven days in western Canada and it's one night only in every city. Every show will be completely different. I'm following the old MuchMusic pattern which is no planning. Of course, there's overall structure – we know what's going to be happening – but the content will be different because it also involves an awful lot of audience interaction. So the audience is actually part of shaping the show.
GM: Just western Canada?
ES: Just western Canada now but in 2019, we've got Ontario, out east. This is the first time I have been on the road in years. Starting in western Canada because I did a mini-tour in western Canada years ago when I released my DVD. I did a tour with Liana K and we weren't booked into the greatest of places. One place was a cowboy bar that was doing line dancing and they had to stop the line dancing so that we could do entertainment. The people were just annoyed that we had made them stop line dancing. It was like the opening scene in The Blues Brothers. There was one guy in the front row who was totally drunk and kept yelling, "I have herpes!" And that was his contribution to the evening. So I decided I wanted to have a good experience in western Canada because I have a lot of friends there. Also I'd like a really good steak.
GM: You can't get a really good steak in Toronto?
ES: Not as good as you can get there.
GM: You started in 1987.
ES: 1987, yeah.
GM: Wow. Thirty-one years. And you haven't changed. You look the same.
ES: Well, there have been some changes in hairstyle over time.
GM: I mean you haven't aged.
ES: Well, no, because anger is timeless.
GM: You're an old angry guy from the time you were born.
ES: Thirty-one isn't old, even for Millennials.
GM: But even as a youngster, you were an old, angry guy.
ES: Some people are born as old spirits. I suppose that was me. I was born an old spirit and one that was pissed off at stupidity. Not always angry; just when I see stupidity. And quite frankly, I see stupidity far too often so people catch me when I'm angry. But what people don't realize is that I smile a lot; it just doesn't really look like a smile.
GM: Are you seeing more stupidity these days than you were 31 years ago?
ES: That's why I had to come out of self-imposed exile. I thought that through MuchMusic and my late night show I had given Canadians the tools to see through bad PR, to see through news manipulation, media manipulation, to be able to demystify the messages that are coming through. It turns out I was completely wrong. I went away and look what you've done with the place! The world today is like the aftermath of a frat party in an '80s teen comedy. It's just chaos and anarchy. It's not so much that people are more stupid today; it's that people are willingly embracing their stupidity. Because 'stupid' isn't about intellectual capacity; 'stupid' is about willingly operating beneath your intellectual capacity. And that's where people are today. Basically I just say the world is not your smart phone. It was the iPod, then it's the smart phone and other iterations that have made the world what it is today. It used to be, if you take radio, for example, you would have a radio station you listen to of the type of music you liked, but you would have to listen through commercials and moron deejays and songs you didn't like as much and songs you didn't like at all in order to get to the songs you liked. You realized that living in society was a compromise. You get what you want by compromising and accepting other people getting what they want, other people's tastes, things of that nature. The social contract was one of compromise. Now people can decide exactly what they want to see, what they want to read, what they want to hear, and they tune themselves out with their earbuds. They're based in silos of their own ignorance. This is the way technology, instead of being used to better mankind, it's being used to wall people off from other opinions and from anything that will challenge them and make them think. And also for sending pictures of genitals.
GM: That's an interesting take, how we get what we want at all times now so we don't have to experience other points of view or anything. I've never thought of it like that.
ES: Look at the world now. People are able to customize what they see and what they hear, and they're able to decide what they want to believe and they're able to find other people who will reinforce what they want to believe. That's not a recipe for a functional society.
GM: Even in news. You find the news you want to hear. Before there was just news! You just watch it, or read it, and you like it or you don't.
ES: It used to be that news was on at six and eleven. They took the whole day, they boiled it down, they contextualized it and there it was. Now news is 24 hours. The thing is, there really isn't news to fill 24 hours. There is, but they don't want to fill it with that kind of news; they just want to tell us about bad things that happen to people in faraway places. And I'm not talking about natural disasters. Read the crawl in Toronto on the news channels and it talks about something terrible that happened to a child in Wisconsin. This doesn't change my view of what's possible in the world. This doesn't inform me. All this does is make me sad. That's what news does. And they stretch stories until they're thin because they need to fill time. Only the craziest people get time on television because cable news and television news has to compete with the online sites. Those online sites have no editorial policies. It's just, get as many eyeballs as you can as quickly as possible. So we're seeing a complete erosion. The whole world has become clickbait. News has become clickbait. It's a bunch of people screaming "Fire!" in a crowded theatre. It winds up just desensitizing people to anything. The whole world becomes a reality show. We've lost the difference between reality and reality shows. That's what happens when you elect a reality show guy as president.
GM: You were preaching to Canadians all these years but we have no control over that kind of craziness down there.
ES: We have no control over the craziness in the US. We do have control over why we choose to obsess over it. But in many ways, it's kind of like the younger sibling watching their older sister get dressed up for a date. There's something fascinating and interesting about it. And as Canadians, next to the US, we're natural observers so we observe. Our news here? There's no way you can make 24-hour news out of just what's going on in Canada because there's just not that much. Our idea of political scandal and corruption is the prime minister getting a helicopter ride from somebody he knows who runs a charity. In the States, Trump is enriching himself and all of his buddies are enriching themselves using the government to do it, letting people buy favour by staying at his hotels and so on. That is actual corruption. Here? It's actually embarrassing that we can't even get corruption right here. Corruption is so gentle and small. There are political opponents who try to make hay out of it but at the end of the day it's nothing. It's embarrassing to call it corruption.
GM: Over the years you've worked with some pretty great comedians, like Eric Tunney, Harland Williams, Craig Campbell, Tim Rykert, Ron Sparks. A lot of great comics. They were actually the straight men, weren't they?
ES: They were all straight men, yes.
GM: It's funny that you have these great standup comedians and they're playing the straight man to you. You're funny but you're also talking serious issues.
ES: Well, comedy is politics by other means. Think about it: comedy has greater power to affect hearts and minds than editorials in newspapers. When terrorists attacked in France, who did they go after? They didn't go after La Presse and the serious newspapers who published condemnations of them every day; they went after a satirical magazine. Comedy. Because when you publish articles and editorials and say how horrible somebody is, it burnishes them; it makes them feel powerful. But when you mock them, that they can't handle because it steals their power. Comedy has the ability to steal power away from bullies and also to make people more comfortable with things they hadn't been comfortable with before.
GM: You don't work with comics now, do you?
ES: I work with Liana K still. We do a lot of work together and she'll be accompanying me on the other legs of the tour, she just couldn't make it out to this one. She's never done standup comedy but she's the funniest partner and most intuitive comic that I've ever worked with.
GM: But she's not on this tour.
ES: Not on the first leg of this tour. Not on the first ten dates.
GM: What will the show look like?
ES: Your guess is as good as mine. I'll be pointing out the various ways the world has gone crazy. It's become so normalized and people are so desensitized, they probably haven't taken a moment to shake their head and look around. Whether you're on the right or on the left, I'll be spilling your Kool-Aid. I like to call it therapeutic ridicule to open people's minds. People respond today to politicians who say what they mean and mean what they say. Unfortunately the stuff that they mean is stupid and belligerent and lies. I've always said what I meant and meant what I said, but in service of challenging people to think rather than encouraging people not to. So there will be a lot of stuff about the state of the world today, my opinions on it, trying to clear the fog from people. But I'll also be running videos, classic videos that people haven't seen in years of me with celebrities and also some classic MuchMusic moments with me, and giving the behind-the-scenes, what people didn't see, what people didn't know about what went on when those things were shot or what happened afterwards. We'll also be showing clips that we were able to air in prime time and afternoons on MuchMusic ten years ago but today you couldn't put them on television because the world has become so constricted and people are so afraid to talk about anything. It's stuff that was considered fine ten years ago; you couldn't even put it on TV now. And if you put it on the internet, you get dog-piled by people who are offended for other people.
GM: Is this stuff that has to do with race or sex?
ES: It has to do with all kinds of things, a variety of topics, that no broadcaster is brave enough to put on these days because the range of conversation has shrunk so much and people have lost their sense of humour. The number of times you hear people say, 'There's nothing funny about X,' well, that's not necessarily true. There are certain things there's nothing funny about but you can still use humour to illuminate injustices as long as you're punching up. Just don't punch down. And also audience members will be allowed to come up and be interviewed by me, just like celebrities have been. So it'll be a mix of things.
GM: I would imagine that when you started out, you weren't taking on the world and stupidity; it was more getting laughs and insulting. Was it like that or am I wrong there?
ES: No, you're absolutely right. Yeah, absolutely right. Initially it was simple vaudeville-style stuff but realized in the second season of our late night show, like in 1995, that... Married With Children was on the air then and it had moved away from having actual stories and just kept ramping up the shock until it just became shock after shock, or attempts at shock after shock, but it lost any real value as entertainment. And I realized we can keep going in that direction or we can go in another direction. So I started to incorporate social commentary into the comedy. And a lot of people think social commentary is all leftist. No. It's centrist because most people live in the centre. It's basically calling out both left and right for their excesses and realizing that in fact the voice of comedy, and especially the voice of a puppet, or in the case of The Simpsons a cartoon, have greater license to say things and get less resistance from people than a human being does. So making use of that, recognizing that there's great power there and the ability to actually do good... I basically speak to people about pro-social messages. I was pro-gay rights, pro-gay marriage, pro-gay adoptions in 2000 when no one else was saying it on TV. The key is speaking about it in the vernacular. Speaking about it using the words and the language that everyday people use. Don't use jargon. Don't use key words. Don't use correct speech. Talk like everybody else talks and then you'll be surprised what kind of conversation you can get.
GM: In your earlier more ribald stuff, you paved the way for a lot. I'm thinking in particular of The Man Show. Did you come before that?
ES: Oh yeah. Came before The Man Show, came before that insult comic dog, I came before all of them. The Man Show actually wanted to license some of our material back in the day and we said no. The point was never to offend people; the point was to get people to think and challenge their notions. Sometimes there's nothing more offensive to somebody than asking them to think. But everything that we did, the hot tub, the material that we did, it was all to challenge people's notions of what was considered acceptable and why. We had women in our hot tub, we had dancers, but every one of them had a name, every one of them had a microphone and could speak at any time. None of them were told what they could or couldn't say; they were active participants. So they were not objects. It was interesting that you would get some people on the radical left who said, 'That's misogyny.' But it's not at all. These women were dressing up like that and going to clubs on the weekend and doing that for free. We were paying them a good rate to come and enjoy themselves and they stayed with us for years. It was a family. There's this stigma against women making use of the power of their femininity and being proud of their femininity. That's something that needs to be challenged. It still needs to be challenged. But that was the point of what we were doing back then. Also showing that when these big guys would get in the hot tub, these macho, preening guys, it took ten seconds until it became very clear that the power shifted from them to the women. They just melted. It really showed that the women always had the power. That was deliberate. We didn't have to choose guys specially for that; any guy that went in there would strut before they went in and then when they went in they just wilted because the women had the power. I always thought that was hilarious to watch. And if people could look past seeing bikinis, they would see that there was actually commentary there.
GM: So that's an example of something you did years ago that couldn't be on the air now.
ES: If I was to do it now, I would have trans women in the hot tub, I would have men in the hot tub, I would have men dancing. Because the idea is to challenge people on their preconceived notions of what's acceptable. Not in ways of accepting horrible crimes but in looking at their own prejudices and trying to get past it.
GM: You'd have different aged women, too, I guess?
ES: Yeah, absolutely. We would be expanding the idea of what's considered attractive. One of our dancers was a size 18. She was very voluptuous. Not unhealthy; just a very large woman – tall, broad-shouldered. And she was the most popular dancer of them all. No other show would put her on. They wouldn't even put her on Electric Circus.
GM: I don't know Electric Circus.
ES: It was a dance show. It was on MuchMusic and people would come in and dance. Basically we defied what people considered to be beautiful. We put this woman on and she was a tall, black woman. She stuck out in front and in back. She was the most popular with the audience. So it shows that the size 0s aren't really a guy's ideal; they're what's pushed out there by fashion industry and so on, but the truth is that men's interest in women is much more diverse. We also, at the time, didn't allow any women with very obvious breast enlargements in the show because we didn't want to promote that aesthetic. We had women of various body types but they were natural. I always say, the best breast enlargement is sit closer. We didn't want to promote the idea that people should be having surgery to make themselves more sexy when they're quite sexy as they are. If the guy you're with right now doesn't find you attractive enough, wait five minutes and 15 others will. That's what we were saying all the time on the show but there were people who missed that.
GM: Now it's flipped a bit. It's a woman's choice to get a breast enlargement or other surgery.
ES: I don't fault their decisions. People make decisions all the time. I can't figure out why some people get the tattoos that they do. I can't figure out why some people wear the glasses that they wear. It's not my business. However it was important to us, and still is important to me, to promote the idea that you don't need to do that to be considered sexy and desirable. You don't need to surgically alter yourself to do that. If you're doing that for some personal reasons, there's something you want to change, you go ahead. But don't do it because some guy asks you to do it, and don't do it to try to attract more guys. If you're making changes for yourself, you go ahead. But we didn't want to promote the idea that what you saw on TV with all the cosmetically enhanced women was the only way you could see a woman on television who was proud of her sexual power and her femininity.
GM: Do you get an older crowd because of the memories they have growing up with you?
ES: It's a mix. The interesting thing is we get people in their twenties who were young when MuchMusic was on but they remember their parents forbidding them from watching me. Or they remember their siblings watching when they weren't supposed to be watching with their siblings. So I'm the forbidden fruit that they grew up with. I was that rebellious streak in them. So for them, that's a very special connection. But yes, we also get people in their 30s, 40s, 50s who grew up with me, because I've been around so long. A lot of people think the internet just belongs to millennials. First of all, millennials are now in their late 30s. They have families and mortgages so this idea that millennials are all just young guys with ironic beards and women with thick glasses and funny haircuts, that's not true. Generation X watch internet videos as much or more than millennials do. They do more more internet e-commerce than millennials do. There's this notion that Gen-X isn't tech-savvy or internet savvy and it's all millennials, and that's simply not true. The difference is that Generation X grew up whereby we would watch something on television or wherever and if we liked it, we liked it. And we would watch it again next time. Then we would click on to the next thing, we'd change the channel, whatever. Commenting was not part of the process. Younger millennials have grown up whereby watching and commenting are part of the same experience. So you don't get as many comments on videos and so on from Generation X because it's just not something that they need. They don't feel the need to be validated by commenting. But they're there. They're there watching.
GM: There's someone like you in everyone's family, the gruff, opinionated guy. That must strike a chord with a lot of people.
ES: I think it does. I like to think that I'm not the old racist uncle or grandpa. I'm not the old intolerant one. But I am somebody who speaks with the same vocal tones they do, someone who speaks with the same wording, speaks with the same pacing. I'm just using that to say things that are a little more positive than things that reflect ignorance. So I'm like a sheep in wolf's clothing.
GM: You referred to yourself as a puppet.
ES: It's my ethnicity but I'm not defined by it.
GM: Do you ever change your sock, by the way?
ES: Well, everybody is shedding cells all the time and regenerating. I'm no different. Obviously you can see I haven't really aged, and if I've aged at all, I've aged better. I'm kind of like the George Hamilton of puppets without the inhuman tan.
GM: One thing you haven't progressed in is non-smoking.
ES: Well, you know, there are certain changes you make in your life and some things that you just can't change because they're you. With me, it's my hair colour and my cigar. I did switch to a vape cigar for a bit but you can't smoke those anywhere, either. So I've gone back to the regular ones because at least when you smoke a regular cigar there's a taste to it. A vape cigar just tastes like rubber or plastic.
GM: You've had lots of celebrity encounters. I'd like to know your best one and your worst one.
ES: As someone who's not terribly impressed with celebrities, people would say, 'Name all the people you've interviewed,' I would forget. People would ask on a Friday, 'Who did you interview this week?' and I would forget. To me, they're just people doing a job. Because I was never terribly impressed – it doesn't mean I don't respect their work, but I'm not wowed by them. That's why I was able to talk to them like I was. The reason celebrities came to town and always wanted to do interviews again and again with me is because they would do these junkets and they'd be asked from dawn to dusk the same questions all day long. They talk to me and I talk to them not like their adoring public but like a peer, like somebody who wasn't impressed with them. They're never as impressed with themselves as people think. So we would talk and they would laugh. And there's nothing that humanizes a celebrity more than seeing them laugh. There's nothing that brings somebody down to a relatable level than seeing somebody laugh. I remember breaking Lenny Kravitz at the MMVA's one year. He had been sullen all day and a bit of a brat. He was complaining that he didn't get the right kind of chocolate chip cookies, and he was just being disagreeable. I went and did my interview with him. He had his sunglasses on and was non-committal. I asked him a question and he paused and was trying to think of an answer then his face just cracked and he started laughing. He just burst out laughing. And Denzel Washington was in the room in the corner and he was leaning on a tray and knocked over the tray full of glasses of water. The whole thing just went into mayhem. That moment you saw Lenny Kravitz as a person, not as Lenny Kravitz the image. I didn't something with Gene Simmons. I spent the day with him driving around town in a limo. You see his persona flip when he laughs. There's nothing that makes you realize that a celebrity is a human being like seeing that they laugh at the same things you do.
GM: It's a good feeling to be the one who causes them to laugh.
ES: Far better than them not getting the joke. The worst I ever dealt with was Vanilla Ice.
GM: The worst or the best?
ES: The worst. In what world would Vanilla Ice be the best?
GM: I don't know! But I didn't hear you so I had to give him the benefit of the doubt.
ES: Vanilla Ice was the absolute worst. He was in a career phase where he was copying Cypress Hill with all kinds of drug songs and so on. We went to Florida to do an interview with him. We get there and he's a bit of a jerk. We start the interview and he's being standoffish and he's taking shots at me. I can take it. But I let somebody have three cheap shots before I come back. He got his three cheap shots in very quickly so that was it. He started talking about how his life was so miserable and so horrible. I said, 'Oh yeah? Is Sally Struthers going to do a commercial for you?' And he got really angry. Things sort of went downhill from there. He said at one point, 'A puppet. A gimmick.' And I said, 'Yeah, but one that's still working.' When the interview was over, we left and his tour manager comes out after us and says, 'Hey guys, Ice doesn't want to do the interview.' We said, 'What?' He says, 'Ice doesn't want to do the interview.' Me and the cameraman look at each other like, 'I don't know what he's talking about.' He says, 'Ice doesn't want to do the interview.' 'Wait, are you saying he doesn't want us to use the interview?' 'Yeah, he doesn't want to do the interview.' 'Okay, well, you guys could have said no before we flew out here. You could have said no when we got here. You could have stopped the interview in the middle and then we wouldn't have used it. But when an interview's complete, we're done; we're using it.' It was bad. And he walks away. We get in the car. As soon as the ignition starts, the cell phone rings. It's the record company that Vanilla Ice was with thanking me profusely for taking the time to come talk to him. I think he called the record company and said, 'I'm pissed off about this,' and the record company said, 'Look around. Anyone else there to interview you?' The best experiences were always with people like Christina Aguilera, who was amazing. I hosted her first Canadian national press conference, as a matter of fact. She was great; got along great with her. Coldplay – I managed to get Chris Martin to run around doing imitations of the final credit scene of Benny Hill when they played that music.
GM: Yeah, Yakety-Sax.
ES: I was humming it and he was walking around doing crazy things on the balcony at MuchMusic. Who else? I mentioned Gene Simmons was good. Willie Nelson was great. Who else was really good? See, that's the thing: I forget these people all the time. I had fun with the Backstreet Boys eventually.
ES: Yeah. When they did their comeback tour, when they didn't have to worry about appealing to teeny-boppers and the interview I did with them, they were so filthy. It was supposed to run during the MuchMusic Video Awards, where we would shoot something and then run it to the truck right away. And they wouldn't use it. We used it on our late night show. They were great fun and great sports. Anthony Kiedis from the Red Hot Chili Peppers – not a good sport.
GM: They must know they're going to be interviewed by a puppet.
ES: Sometimes the publicist wouldn't tell them. Publicists told them they're being interviewed by MuchMusic. Then they would come into the room and see Steven, see the camera guy, they would see a couple people around and figured it's one of these guys. Then all of a sudden Ed would appear and their face would be like, 'What the hell is this?' And I think the publicist was sort of thinking once it's in their face, they're not going to leave. Nobody ever did leave. But he just wans't getting it. And at one point there was a pause in the interview and I said to him, 'You just want to hit me right now, don't you?' And he paused just a little too long before he said no. It was pretty clear he did. So he was just no fun.
GM: You're not interviewing celebrities anymore. Is that something you'd go back to doing?
ES: When my online network, FUN, the FU network, takes off again in February after our studio facility is ready, we'll be talking to celebrities again. We'll be doing Fromage again. The FU network is designed to recapture that spirit of classic MuchMusic: unpredictable, authentic, in the moment, self-aware, and above all, smart. Our slogan is Smart-Ass Begins with Smart. The world is our studio now so we'll be getting contributions from across Canada, across the world. The goal is to restore that place where creative risk is encouraged rather than stomped on. Nowadays, if you've got an interest in something in particular, you can go on YouTube, type that in, and you'll get a million videos. And you don't know if any of them are any good. Who has the time to sit there going through a minute, two minutes of something before you determine it's no good and go on to the next thing. The FU network's designed so that no matter what you find there – politics, current affairs, women's issues, video games, music – it doesn't matter what you find there, all of it is going to appeal to a certain sensibility, which is people who haven't given in to their ignorance, people who like to laugh, people who like to think. So it's a curated site where no matter what genre you're looking for, you'll find something there that won't disappoint you.
GM: Will you post regularly?
ES: We've got series that we're lining up so there will be a number of different series every week. Some will be every month, some will be every second week. But there's a whole slew of shows – some are hosted by me but most aren't – covering a bunch of different topics and issues. Really, politics is the new rock-n-roll so if you're gonna do a new MuchMusic, that's gotta be your bread and butter.
GM: So that's on YouTube.
ES: It will be on YouTube and it'll be, of course, on our website, as well: FUnetwork.tv. That website's up now with some previews.
GM: So a very exciting time for Ed the Sock.
ES: There's no better time to return to the world because the world has never needed me more than it does now.
GM: How long was your exile?
ES: Ten years.
GM: How many TV shows have you done over the years?
ES: Let's see... Ed's Night Party was 14 years on CityTV and syndicated around the world, on MuchMusic I did a number of shows: Ed's Smasher Trash, Ed's Big Wham Bam was our big primetime show, the Fromage annual specials, Ed's Night In where we watched movies and commented on them, and the last thing we did at MuchMusic was Smartass: The Ed the Sock Report, where we did two documentaries; one was about promosexuals showing the relationship between celebrities and the media and how they work together to promote certain celebrities and how scandals are really just manufactured to get ink. And we did another one called What's Wrong with Hip-Hop, where we looked at all the complaints people had about hip-hop – that it's violent, that it's misogynyst – and showed that it was really nothing more than a modern version of '80s hair metal, but people had a problem with it because people were black. That one was a finalist for the Blue Ribbon Award for the Canadian Association of Broadcasters Awards. A documentary hosted by a puppet was a runner-up for one of the highest documentary awards in television!
GM: Although I gotta say I have a problem with both those forms of music and it has nothing to do with race.
ES: And that's fine. See, that's different. That's a legitimate complaint. That's separate because you're complaining about a type of music; you're not complaining about its depiction and stuff. I went to CHCH in Hamilton afterwards and did a show called This Movie Sucks where we looked at crappy movies and made fun of them and did sketches inspired by them. Mostly that was because CHCH wanted us to do a show but then they went to an all-movie format so this was the show that we came up with. Then we did another show called I Hate Hollywood, which was basically like Fromage but looking at Hollywood trends and Hollywood history and so on, and deconstructing the myths of Hollywood. It was a half-hour primetime show. This Movie Sucks won the Canadian Comedy Award for Best TV Series. Of all the series I've ever done, that's the one I like the least and that's the one that won the award. Mind you, I have to say we never actually submitted before that, either. Or since.
GM: It's quite a career.
ES: Yup. And it's still going. What people like about the internet now is the immediacy and the authenticity and the honesty. And that's what I have always been. People say, 'Well, they've got it all over the internet, what do they need you for?' People said before Weird Al released his last album, 'People are doing song parodies all over the internet now. Who needs Weird Al?' And Weird Al came out with his album and his videos and it was the most successful album he ever had, and his videos dominated YouTube. It doesn't matter how many store-brand colas there are out there, if you have a choice between Coke and a store-brand cola for the same price, you're going to go for Coke because you know the experience is going to be something you can rely on.
GM: You know when he's putting something out, it's been vetted.
ES: Yeah, because he's a professional.
GM: It's like your FU network. There are professionals vetting the content.
ES: They're people you've tried before and trusted. There's a reason that all these reboots are existing now in television. One, it's because people want to remember a time when the world still made sense. And two, I call it the Facebook Effect: Have you ever thought about somebody you went to school with and you go on Facebook to check them out, see what they're up to now, what do they look like, what's their life like, what are they doing professionally? If you're interested, you may send them a message and they may send you a message back. But initially there's that curiosity. It's the same thing with television shows. Where are these characters now? What do they look like? What have they done in their life? Where have they been the last number of years? There's that same level of curiosity so people will tune in and sample these shows and if they're good, they'll stay. If they're not, they'll go. But it's really difficult to get people to sample anything new nowadays because there's so many things out there. That's why there's so much value in bringing back things that people have an existing relationship with.
GM: And staying current, as well.
ES: Yeah, because these things are not dated. I watched Murphy Brown and thought that didn't particularly update very well, but there's lots of other shows that either have brought back the original cast and continued the stories of these characters, or have rebooted with the spirit of the original but set in modern times. I think the new Magnum is amazing because it manages to keep that core of what was Magnum back then but still set it squarely today with modern storytelling.
GM: Although he does need a moustache, I think.
ES: He had a moustache in one scene and I can see why he didn't. Listen, everybody in porn in the seventies had a moustache. They don't do that now. Things change. Except during Movember when everybody's allowed to look like Ron Jeremy.
GM: Nice talking with you. Anything else you want to say?
ES: I'm looking forward to people coming out to the live shows because it's been a while. On MuchMusic we'd be out on the street all the time. I'd be interacting with real people all the time. For a while I did a show from the Hard Rock Café in Toronto, which was the same: live, interacting with people as they came and went across from the Eaton Centre. I love interacting with real people, not just being someone who plays a show for them and they are an audience. It's not just one direction; it's always a shared experience. So I'm really looking forward to getting back out and seeing Canadians and talking to them today and reigniting that relationship.
GM: Sounds fun. Good luck with it.
ES: Thank you very much and thank you for taking the time and interest.