Rick Mercer releases more rants in book form

CBC Television's Rick Mercer poses for a photograph in Toronto on Wednesday, September 16, 2009. After 10 years of ranting on the air, Mercer is pushing his opinions on the page.The comedian has been doing the "Rick Mercer Report" for about a decade now, which famously includes a weekly rant.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darren Calabrese

TORONTO - After 10 years of ranting on the air, Rick Mercer is pushing his opinions on the page.

The comedian has been doing the "Rick Mercer Report" for about a decade now, which famously includes a weekly rant.

"I can count on one hand for the past five years the times I've beat myself up finding something to rant about. There's lots to rant about," says Mercer in an interview.

In "A Nation Worth Ranting About," Mercer compiles a collection of rants from the last few years, as well as a few articles he's had published, and some new essays. Sitting in a bar in east-end Toronto, he says the goal, obviously, is to be funny whenever possible.

"It can be about the PM or it can be about winter drivers. A good rant just has to come from the rant place, quite often an angry place," Mercer says. "And I can be angry about lots of stuff, not just the prime minister."

His rant following the death of Jamie Hubley, a gay teen who was bullied and took his own life, is one that Mercer highlights among his most important. While he says he doesn't necessarily have an absolute favourite, he was happy the Hubley rant got so much attention, blew up on YouTube and received a ton of media coverage.

"If I could choose any rant to go viral, or if I could choose any rant that teachers would bring into classrooms, it would be the Jamie Hubley rant."

He says he's glad the "Rick Mercer Report" has turned into a family show, even though it started out as a show for adults.

"We're lucky to have stumbled onto a show that university students watch, but also kids watch, and their parents watch. It's the holy grail in TV; people are always looking to do that. I didn't set out to do that."

And Mercer says he's thrilled the show is used as an educational tool.

"I love when I hear that teachers are playing the rant in school," he says. "When I was a student, nothing made me happier than when the teacher rolled the TV and VCR into the classroom. I was like, 'Yes, we're gonna watch something! It doesn't matter what it is, I don't have to listen to that person talk anymore!'

"If their social studies class once a week is spent watching my show, that makes me very happy."

With all of Mercer's talk about Canadian politics, will he ever take a stab at being a politician?

"Never say never," he says. "But just because you love a subject doesn't mean you should try doing it. Just because you're a great sports journalist doesn't mean you should be the pitcher for a baseball team."

"A Nation Worth Ranting About" is available Tuesday, the same day the next season of the "Rick Mercer Report" kicks off on CBC-TV.