SURREY — Steve Smith’s tour schedule this fall looks like something meant for a 30-something entertainer, not a man who celebrated his 70th birthday last Christmas.
But here comes Smith, suitcase in hand, for another round of theatre shows in which he plays bumbling handyman Red Green.
The “I’m Not Old, I’m Ripe” tour began in the U.S. last spring, picks up again this month in Phoenix and then rolls across the border into B.C., with a show date on Monday, Sept. 19 at Surrey’s Bell Performing Arts Centre. From there, the trip continues across Canada until the last week of October.
Smith is in good health for a man his age, apparently.
“Yeah, I got up on the hoist and everything, and I’m good to go,” he said about his last visit with his doctor. “Normally I don’t go to the doctor, other than that checkup I had. Heck, I know I’m dying, he’ll just tell me whether I’m ahead of schedule, on schedule or behind schedule, that’s all.”
On the phone from his home in Hamilton, Smith spoke to the Now for a third time in five years, matching the number of shows he’ll have done at Surrey’s Bell soft-seater since 2011.
That year, he got the itch to bring his brand of hoser-ish comedy to live audiences, and he’s been at it ever since.
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“I finished the last tour (dubbed “How to Do Everything… From the Man Who Should Know”) and the promoter wanted me to sign on for another tour but I said no, I’m going to take some time off, take off all of 2015, and see if I want to do this again,” Smith recalled. “I wanted to maybe do some writing and see if I have some things to say again on a stage somewhere, rather than make that commitment and then have nothing, or little, to say. Turns out I did have some things to say, so it really came from that creative side.”
The current tour is an autobiographical one for Red Green, who aims to detail “the twists, the turns, his insights, wisdom and, of course, the people he’s met along the way,” according to the press release.
Red Green, for those not familiar with the bearded man in plaid, was a fixture on TV from 1991 until 2006. The comedy show’s run included 300 episodes of sketches and segments focusing on Green and fellow Possum Lodge members.
With the television show now a decade in the rear-view mirror, Smith said he has no desire to ever do TV again.
“I’m a backward person, I guess, because a lot of people go to television to get away from live performances, and that’s not me,” he said. “TV seems so much more contrived, and you just can’t have your live show feel contrived, or look out.”
Of course, clips from the old TV show continue to be clicked on websites like YouTube, on which the RedGreenTV channel boasts more than 68,000 subscribers.
“We do a clip of the week and we send those to our Facebook followers, the 631,000 of them we have, so that picks up a lot of views,” Smith elaborated.
“It’s interesting because I stopped doing the television show 10 years ago but the brand awareness has never been higher, because of things like that, the internet. But the jokes get old, right? The reality is, Clinton jokes aren’t all that funny anymore.”
Tickets start at $61.35, plus fees, for the Red Green show in Surrey. For details, visit Bellperformingartscentre.com or call the box office, 604-507-6355.