Most people born in Canada during or before the 1980s probably know who Ed the Sock is. Created and voiced by Steven Kerzner, Ed simply put, is a grey sock puppet with green hair who is always dangling his signature cigar out of his mouth. His coarse voice and stature was a staple on City TV and Much Music in the mid and late 90s during Much Music’s heyday. He hosted Ed’s Big Wham Bam and the annual show Fromage on Much. He also had his own talk show, Ed’s Night Party, which was later renamed Ed & Red’s Night Party, that was aired across the world. Ed & Red’s Night Party brought in Liana Kerzner (wife of Steven, known as Liana K), and Kerzner has been co-producing and co-writing Ed’s projects since. Last year, Ed started an Indie GoGo campaign to fund a new network, the FU Network, who’s title page reads: ‘Much Music is dead. FU Network rises. Join us.’ After a successful campaign, Ed brought his War on Stupid out to Western Canada, and is currently making his way through Eastern Canada this March.
We caught up with the infamous sock prior to his tour through Eastern Canada.
So you guys have already brought the War on Stupid tour to the West Coast late last year. What was that experience like; being back on the road again? Prior to that tour, you set up an Indie GoGo pledge site for your upcoming FU Network as well.
Well, the tour had nothing to do with the indie go go account. It was completely separate. The tour came up right after the Indie GoGo ended. The network is still being developed right now. We’ve moved into a new studio but the studio is taking a little longer to get ready than we anticipated, which is, I guess, kind of normal. So, in the meantime, we’ve got this tour, and you know, it feels great to be out amongst real people. I’ve done some videos online. I was working for an American company doing videos online, but that’s so distant from your audience. When I’m out amongst the real people below, the living breathing people who react in their own different ways, its just like when we open the window on Queen Street at Much Music and just went out there and whoever were out there just happened to be co-stars for that five minutes. I just spoke to them and just being there amongst the real people really grounds you and helps make that connection. No matter how famous I’ve been, I’ve never been somebody I considered to be one of those ivory tower types. My strengths comes from people and my interest is representing the voice of people who, more than ever now, are completely overlooked by regular media – even by online and alternative media. You don’t get common people’s thoughts, concerns and questions anymore. Nobody is amplifying that, and that’s my job. But, I try and do it with humor so that people don’t feel that they are going to be attacked. Humor makes you be a lot more comfortable. Looking at the world and able to recognize the stupidities around them, and sometimes in their own behavior.
And is this tour being filmed for content for the FU Network?
No, no. We haven’t even recorded them audio wise, because why put them out there. The truth is, every single one of our shows is completely different. There is a core to it, and there are subjects that we’re going to talk about. We have pictures and we have videos. You know, it’s a multi-media show, but at the same time the show really has a strong audience involvement component. So, the audience helps, you know, it’s kind of like how the way the Internet is now. The audience helps shape and becomes part of the actual program. So, it’s not something that we’re presenting to people sitting in chairs and they just sit there and absorb it.
Liana didn’t come out with you on the first leg of this tour. What’s it like being back on the road with her again? You two have had a long history together.
There was something missing. It feels good that I did the first leg of the tour by myself. We did good shows and there were packed crowds. You know, you don’t realize when you’re doing this media stuff the way you can sometimes touch people’s lives and how you can influence them. Some people came forward and they were shaking and crying. They’re saying that you taught me how to view the world differently and how to be a critical thinker. They’re talking about how to use humor, and you don’t realize the importance of how stuff like this can have to people’s lives.
But what I realized was that I’m doing a War on Stupid tour and men and women interact with the world differently and the world interacts with men and women differently. So, women experience a very different kind of stupid than men do. So, if we’re going to try to show the full spectrum of the idiocracy that’s out there, it really was necessary to make sure that we had Liana and her voice there too, because she’s been doing YouTube now for a number of years, and she’s a YouTube influencer, and she deals with people in ways that I don’t, but she understands the Internet, and she understands that culture so well that it was important to bring her out there and have her voice as well.
So there was a gap in time there where you were a little bit inactive. I was just wondering what you had been in to in that period from 2013-2017.
Well, I went away to write my memoirs. Did you ever see The Shining? Yeah. That’s kind of what happened. It didn’t wind up being a very productive time. I did do some shows for a local super station in Ontario. They called themselves a super station, but no one else does. And I won an award for one of those series – a Canadian Tony Award for Best TV Series. But, it wasn’t really what I wanted to be doing. They weren’t really great people to deal with. So I sort of just took a step back for a while and watched and observed. Now that I see what’s going on, I thought maybe the world would get a little bit better. I saw that. You know they’re having this orgy of stupidity but things will start to return to normal. And so I realized just how many people are not being represented and the fact that nowadays on the Internet there’s a fight for eyeballs that then spilled into cable news where they’re trying to get as many viewers as possible. Circus freaks basically of the left and the right will fight with each other and people will watch the car wreck there. We need people. We need media that is going to be entertaining without being a coliseum site. We need to deal with these issues because it’s hard to keep up. Nowadays, there is new jargon, new officially sanctioned terms for people, for agendas, and for politics. Every week it changes. And if you don’t know the new code word people pile on you. There’s a lot of people out there, who are good people, who don’t even know how to ask questions. So they just shut up and keep their head down and that’s not ok.
It’s good that you’re back in the world. As you said early, you gave people the opportunity to view the world in a different light. It’s almost educational entertainment.
Well, the thing is that people who know, who watched me, know that that was always what I was doing all along on Much. I always addressed political issues. I was always political. I was political about media. I was political about politics. Political about sexual politics and culture and taboos and getting people to sort of question their own knee-jerk reactions. So I’ve always done that. This is nothing new. But, I’m just glad to be doing it, because I think perhaps this era needs it even more right now than they needed it back when I was on Much.
2019 is going to be a big year for you. You have this tour, and the launch of the FU Network. What can people expect from the Network upon launch? How can they get more involved?
The network is bringing back that raw energy that was on Much Music back when it was good – that authenticity, that reality. You know, just that energy that has been missing in Canadian media. That’s what we’re bringing back on the FU Network. You’re going to see programming about music of course, but also about politics and current events, video games, entertainment, everything. There’s so much stuff out there on the Internet, but you have to sift through so much crap to find anything good. The Network is going to be curated so you know that no matter what you watch there, it will be something that is not going to insult your intelligence and is going to entertain you.
How can people get involved? Well they can know follow me on Twitter. We’re always looking for new people to do programming. We’re training people on how to be more effective on camera. Just because you have a phone and the ability to broadcast doesn’t mean you know what you’re doing. So I’ve been passing on some of that knowledge and looking for diverse voices, and by diverse, I don’t mean people’s skin color or religion. We’re looking for interesting personalities and individuals, whatever that means. So, if you’ve got something that you think is entertaining and maybe you’ve got a little show that you’re doing now on on YouTube, but you know your audience isn’t there, get in touch with me through my Facebook page or Twitter. We’ll be glad to talk to you and see if it’s the kind of thing that we can work together on because it’s time to bring back that tier of Canadian media which people can relate to, which looks and sounds like Canada.