Red Green

Red Green

Words from the man who should know

Canada’s handyman Red Green offers from relationship advice to how to unclog your drain on his new tour, How to Do Everything.

It’s true, men don’t read instructions — just ask that sage philosopher who wears the fishermen’s hat, plaid shirt and red and green suspenders.

As the former overseer of Possum Lodge,  handyman Red Green is known for his advice, words that have stuck in the Canadian vernacular (i.e. “If women don’t find you handsome, they should at least find you handy,” and “keep your stick on the ice.”)

But instead of waxing on about beer and stick handling, he’s like the Bob and Doug McKenzie of duct tape.

He puts that “stuff” on everything.

Known as North America’s champion of underachieving men everywhere, Red Green will soon return to Vernon when he brings his current show, How To Do Everything (From the Man Who Should Know), to the Performing Arts Centre Sept. 23.

“If something breaks, I never feel it is beyond my capacity to fix it,” said Red when talking to The Morning Star. “I never get on the phone to call anyone. I think it makes us men feel weaker. That’s why guys won’t call the repairman.”

There’s a shared DIY DNA between Green and the man who invented him, Steve Smith, who first embodied the beloved handyman character in 1991 for the New Red Green Show.

Both men tend to embark on their own projects. (Who could forget Green’s self-made jetpack made from two propane tanks, a hybrid car from recycled golf carts and satellite dishes, and a kiddie ride from a bar stool attached to the agitator of a washing machine?)

“There’s all of him in me and more to me than is in all in him,” said Smith, citing one example. “I like to invent things and our house has a flat roof and lots of trees. The drain was plugging because of all the leaves, so I ran three pipes and attached them to the drain. I look out my window all the time and see things I can do.”

However, unlike Green, there was no duct tape involved.

Last seen on TV in 2006, as well as in the movie, Duct Tape Forever, Red Green (and Smith) have kept their brand of observational humour out there through different means: mainly social media. And there’s also the three books, including his last, Red Green’s How To Do Everything,which is about to be followed this month by the aptly titled, Red Green’s Beginner’s Guide to Women (For Men Who Don’t Read Instructions).

Noted for his insights into that most difficult of assembly jobs, human relationships, How to Do Everything had Red Green dipping his toe into the self-help genre with such items as “How to make dinner more romantic” and “The easy way to raise children.”

“I have brand, new material this year. I was enlightened by my first tour to share the things I am interested in and the things I am not interested in,” said Green/Smith.

And that includes his new book, said to be a testosterone owner’s manual to every aspect of finding a mate and then learning to deal with her growing disappointment.

Within its pages, Red waxes wise about teen dating to the last words of man (“You know, honey, in the last couple of years, you’ve really packed on the beef.”)

That work ethic and rather confident demeanor goes back to the man who created Red Green and still embodies his rough-as-sandpaper voiced everyman persona.

Originally a student of engineering at the University of Toronto, Smith had a variety of jobs before he landed his first self-made gig in showbiz back in 1979 when wrote, produced and starred in the sketch comedy series, Smith & Smith with his wife of 46 years, Morag.

The family sitcom, Me and Max, followed as well as another sketch comedy series and writing for several Canadian and American TV shows, but it was the arrival of Red Green that would take Smith to greener pastures, otherwise known as Possum Lodge, for 15-plus years on TV.

Asked how long he will continue to embody his alter ego, Smith says there are no limits to Red Green’s infinite wisdom, and if that means the handyman has to stop fixing things for a second to send out a “tweet” or two, then the sky’s the limit.

“I created the character —it came from within— and I feel I can say and do anything as Red Green,” said Smith. “Honestly, I think my brand awareness is higher now than when the show was on, thanks to social networking, Facebook to Twitter… I can say this is what Red Green thinks now. He’s a little more enlightened, but you should never feel sorry for him.”

The Red Green How to Do Everything Tour takes the stage at the Vernon Performing Arts Centre Sept. 23 at 7 p.m. Tickets are $62 (all ages) at the Ticket Seller, 549-7469, www.ticketseller.ca.