Red Green tour comes to Rialto
By Randall G. Mielke For Sun-Times Media April 13, 2012 3:20PM
Red Green will perform standup comedy at the Rialto Square Theatre on April 23. | File Photo
Red Green — Wit & Wisdom Tour
♦ 7 p.m. April 23
♦ Rialto Square Theatre, 102 N. Chicago St., Joliet
♦ Tickets, $49.50
♦ (815) 726-6600
Updated: April 20, 2012 10:50AM
When Canadian comedian and writer Steve Smith first decided to portray the character of Red Green, the lovable and wacky handyman with the flannel shirt, suspenders and the belief that “anything is possible if you use enough duct tape,” he did so because he wanted the material to be offered in a certain way.
“I am primarily a comedy writer,” said Smith of the Red Green character, “but I was always afraid of how the material would be presented if it was done by someone else, so I did it myself. I like to connect with people.”
Steve Smith will present Red Green — Wit & Wisdom Tour on April 23 at the Rialto Square Theatre in Joliet.
In the one-man show, Smith, as Green, will offer homespun wisdom (“Lower your expectations and live a happier life”); philosophies on relationships (“Women always have the last word in an argument. Anything after that is just the beginning of the next argument”); and handyman tips (“Never get in between electricity and where it wants to go”).
“I draw from stuff over the years,” said Smith about the stage show. “I am a storyteller. I give advice, I give handyman tips, I talk about raising kids.”
Smith is most famous for “The Red Green Show,” a Canadian television comedy that aired on the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) television and on Public Broadcasting Service (PBS) stations in the United States, from 1991 until the series finale in 2006.
The TV show was a parody of home improvement, do-it-yourself, fishing and other outdoors shows. In all, 300 episodes of the series were produced. In 2002, a full-length movie, “Duct Tape Forever,” was produced. Smith also writes a syndicated newspaper column as Red Green.
“I came in under the radar,” said Smith about the TV show. “In Canada, TV stations have to produce local programming to get their license. I got an audience and then expanded the show. Now we are on the Internet broadcasting those episodes. We have 409,000 ‘friends’ on Facebook.”
But the comedian did not start a professional career in show business until he was almost 30.
“For my first professional job I was in a six-piece folk group,” Smith said. “We played one gig on a Friday night until 2 a.m., on a Saturday until 1 a.m. and on a Sunday until midnight and we got $100 for the three nights for all six of us.”
The “Wit & Wisdom” Tour is something new for the 66-year-old comedian.
“This tour is a brand new experience for me,” he said. “For a man my age it’s fun to do something new that is not a medical procedure.”
As for the Red Green character’s appeal, Smith believes is boils down to two things.
“First, everybody knows someone like that — an uncle, a brother, a son,” he said. “Second, it is a gentle character, which is ‘wrong’ today. Some people in comedy are obscene and confrontational. Red Green is not like that at all.”
Still, as popular as he is, Smith thinks that not everyone is a fan of the old Red Green TV show.
“‘The Red Green Show’ is like the flu,” he said. “Not everybody gets it.”