Life is good these days for Steve Smith, who spent the summer with his wife living on their house boat on Lake Ontario, not far from the couple’s home near Hamilton.
“We still have the house about five minutes away, but it’s just neat being on the water,” said Smith, better known as Red Green. “The kids have left home so we’re doing this while we can. It’s a great community of a bunch of people who live on their boats in the summer, so there’s no shortage of people to talk to, that’s for sure.”
Smith spent part of his summer fine-tuning the Red Green show he’ll be touring Canada this fall, starting Thursday, Sept. 19 at Surrey’s Bell Performing Arts Centre and heading east. For tickets, call 604-507-6355 or visit www.redgreen.com.
The solo tour, dubbed “How to Do Everything (From the Man Who Should Know),” is the second one for Smith as Green, following an inaugural theatrical adventure for him in 2011.
“This time around, like last time, I’ll be doing Canada in the fall and the U.S. in the spring,” Smith told the Now in a telephone interview. “The title of the tour is the same as the book I wrote, and I’m doing some things that are included in the book, but the lion’s share of what I’m presenting has never been written or spoken before.”
Two years ago, Smith played some sold-out houses as Green, the duct tape- loving, flannel-wearing dude he played in a television series that drew to a close in the mid-2000s.
Smith still gets recognized as Green while out in public.
“Oh yeah, and it’s interesting to me because I stopped doing the (TV) show seven years ago – the brand awareness today is much higher than it was when I stopped doing it, it’s just ridiculous. Through the books and the tour and YouTube, I don’t know – maybe it’s just such an unusual character and brand that it sticks with people longer.”
At age 67, Smith is loving life.
“This is the best time of my life – I have kids, grandkids, I like what I do and I’m in control of it, so it’s just great.”
He has no ambition to do anything on TV again, other than perhaps a Comedy Network special recorded during the upcoming tour.
“A series isn’t happening, no,” Smith said. “The thing I like about touring is, I never did it before so it feels like a new career for me, because it’s only been a couple years of this, not 30 or 40. But with television, you know, trying to go back to recapture something that I maybe did better 20 years ago? C’mon.
“I don’t have a drive to entertain mass audiences without seeing them,” he continued. “I’d rather entertain small audiences that are in the same room as me. And also, now that we have the internet and unlimited access to anything in the world at any time, live performance becomes the big divide – you were either there or you weren’t there, and the live show becomes more special because of that.”
Before The New Red Green Show TV series ended, Smith gave cast and crew two years notice that he was done with it, after nearly 300 episodes were produced. A few years back, he came out of “retirement” with a book called Red Green’s How to Do Everything, leading to the “Wit and Wisdom” tour of 2011/12.
“I’m doing this now on the basis of really enjoying what I’m doing,” Smith said. “And people who come to the show can tell. I mean, it’s not a hardship for me to be up there on stage, and I hope people recognize that. As long as I feel that way, I want to be able to do it, but the moment I don’t feel that way, I want to be able to stop. So there’s no commitment to do another tour after this, it’s all about this (tour) right now, and after it’s done, we’ll see how I feel. Same thing goes with the books and whatever else I’m doing. I feel like the best thing I can do for the audience now is to be doing something that I want to do and then let it go from there, let it decide when it’s over.”
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