Ed the Sock is going to war.
The surly sock will soon hit the road for a Canada-wide tour to fight what he calls the War on Stupid.
The cigar-smoking puppet, once a star personality on MuchMusic, is going after a wide range of political topics — fake news, culture wars, outrage warriors, social justice warriors, privilege, trolls, the alt-right — in his classic no-apologies style.
“When I say something, it’s probably the first time it crossed my mind. It hasn’t been workshopped and focus-grouped or reduced to jargon with sanitized language,” said Steven Kerzner, the man behind Ed the Sock.
The multimedia tour, which will also feature interview clips and backstage stories, is in support of some bigger ideas for Kerzner. Namely, the FU Network, which he has called “the spirit of MuchMusic reborn.”
“There is nothing that exists on that peer media level in Canada. There’s no place where you can just flip on and no matter what you choose to watch, it’s stuff that will not insult your intelligence — stuff that will amuse you, that will inform you,” he said.
Kerzner promises a curated, authentic and informed collection of personalities and entertainment in the lineup of hosts and shows.
“Our slogan is ‘smartass begins with smart,’” he said.
Shows planned for the network, or already in production range from the arts to the political, to the nerdy — like Geek Fight, where geeks debate topics like whether TV show The Big Bang Theory is making geekdom mainstream or merely presenting a ghetto of stereotypes.
Other shows tackle feminism or men’s issues. And of course, Ed the Sock will feature prominently in several shows, including Fromage: The History of Music Videos and No BS Bio, profiling newsmakers, celebrities, politicians and other “worthy targets.”
Political issues have always been a part of Ed the Sock’s character, but never so much the focus before now — and the demise of MuchMusic is part of that.
“Politics is the new rock ‘n’ roll,” Kerzner said.
“I have always maintained the same politics. On my late night show and on MuchMusic, I was vocally supporting gay rights, gay marriage, gay adoption, back in 2000,” Kerzner said.
Ed the Sock’s straight talk delivery of fact and opinion isn’t always met with agreement by his audience of the day — something he attributes to how divisive politics has become.
“Nowadays you have to be fully committed to one team or the other. So, when they watch my videos and see one supporting feminism, they’ll say ‘You’re a cuck!’ — which, how can you have self-respect when you sound like a chicken?
“And then they’ll watch something where I say ‘There’s no such thing as safe spaces’ or something on white privilege — and they’ll call me a fascist,” he said.
It’s those strong reactions that tell Kerzner he’s doing something right.
“I’m pretty much exactly where I want to be, because making people think is something that is very offensive to them these days. And that’s the kind of offensiveness we need more of — the kind that challenges people to think, not the kind that makes them comfortable in their lack of thinking.”
Kerzner sees Ed the Sock as an “awesome responsibility” and thinks of himself as Canada’s inner voice that speaks out loud.
“People will watch me and say, ‘That’s what I was thinking.’ I have the license to say these things people don’t,” he said.
The FU Network isn’t just a place for comedy and politics to intersect, though. The idea goes beyond the shows already in the works.
Kerzner said he wants it to be a place where burgeoning entertainers and young creatives can refine their message and hone their skills and learn how to make the most of little resources — something he said MuchMusic excelled at in its heyday.
“We also want to create a workplace where the next generation, creatives of all kinds, can come in and be encouraged to put who they are into their work and encouraged to take risks,” he said.
Kerzner said he understands why broadcast media is so conservative these days and acknowledged that the environment he emerged in was one that allowed him to take risks, saying that his time on cable access television and MuchMusic was during the Wild West years.
“Now the Wild West has been paved over,” he said.
The FU Network launch is tentatively planned for February 2019, with about a dozen shows currently in production or planning stages. For more, go online to funetwork.tv.
On Dec. 3, Ed the Sock will be at The Blue Grotto, 319 Victoria St., for a 7 p.m. show. Tickets are $20 and available online at kamtix.ca.