Volume 93, Issue 53

Thursday, December 2, 1999


Bullard's Little Thoughts a big success

Tribe still united in Anthology

The Deadly Snakes shed their stereotypes

Rage wage Battle of Toronto

Bullard's Little Thoughts a big success

By Tom Everett
Gazette Staff

Canada's sardonic, squinty cherub Mike Bullard is giving Howard Stern a run as king of all media.

His successful late night talk show, Open Mike With Mike Bullard, consistently ranks with The Tonight Show with Jay Leno and Late Night with Conan O'Brien, his daily monologue is syndicated to dozens of radio stations across the country and now he has made a foray into the literary world with the release of Open Book: Little Thoughts from a Big Head.

Unlike the pre-pubescent, lowest common denominator material of Stern, however, the main person Bullard ridicules is himself.

Bullard appeared at Chapters in London recently to promote the book, a CD recording of a live show in Halifax, his show and to talk about the Canadian entertainment industry in general.

In his trademark dead-pan sarcasm, Bullard explains how the book was written. "People sent me email, I answered them. Therefore, they really wrote half the book and get nothing. That, to me, was quite appealing."

The questions which made it to print range from the absurd, "Hey Mike: Do mice fart?" to the seemingly unrelated, "Hey Mike: What ever happened to the employment insurance snitch line?" In all cases, the comeback is quick and acerbic.

Even though the print medium would give Bullard time to formulate a response, it flows as though he penned the first snappy response which came to mind. Bullard suggests that spontaneously addressing people is more his foray. "[It] is one of my few personal strengths. I find I am much more effective as a comedian relying on spur of the moment stuff than written material."

Little Thoughts also revisits some of the better known bits from Bullard's show, including the infamous Tom Green dead raccoon incident. Despite rumours, the dead moose humping, cow udder sucking, plaid house painting comedian is not banned from the show. In fact, he virtually has an open invitation. Green was even allowed to write a description of his four appearances on the show for the book. "He's one of the few non-musical guests who draws his own crowd to the show. His crowd is young and energetic and there's no way that's a bad thing for us."

As successful as Open Mike has become, Canadian success is far different than that in the States. Although the lure of American Networks has been strong, Bullard says he will stand his ground.

"I knew if I held out long enough, one of them would wanna buy some episodes and air them down there. And now that has happened, MGM wants to buy 100 episodes and air them. To me that's the ideal situation, because you don't have to live there to be seen there."

Bullard is credited with fostering and even building the Canadian star system, by inviting talented folks to his show who may not be household names, but deserve promotion to a wider audience. He is fiercely passionate about supporting Canadian talent.

"People are finally embracing things Canadian. Talk shows must reflect the wider audience. Too many shows fail because they try to over extend their bounds. They try to be something they are not."

Bullard's style, both on television and in print, is not to everyone's taste and he has been accused of imitating Letterman and Leno. Others, however, feel he is simply putting a much needed Canadian spin on the franchise.

With Open Mike and Open Book, Bullard comes across as the regular sarcastic, quick-witted guy you'd find sitting next to you on the bus. As the debate drones on about Canadians losing their identity and culture, Mike Bullard is necessary in this country.

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Copyright The Gazette 1999