Review — Red Green’s ‘I’m Not Old. I’m Ripe’ tour

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Doug Wood, left, chats with Steve Smith, the man who plays Red Green, at the "Red Green: I'm Not Old. I'm Ripe" tour at C.Y. Stephens Auditorium in Ames.

On Wednesday, April 13, I finally got to see a show that I had long anticipated. I purchased the tickets in February for this event: the “Red Green: I’m Not Old. I’m Ripe” tour, which was held at C. Y. Stephens Auditorium in Ames.

I find that if you purchase tickets directly from your venue, they are a lot cheaper than buying them online or over the telephone. The other sales outlets have a lot of extra charges that you can avoid by buying in person at your venue.

Many of you are familiar with “The Red Green Show.” I also find that surprisingly many people have no idea what this is. I was shocked to learn that ThePerryNews.com publisher Jim Caufield had never heard of this program. Where has he been, in California or something? ThePerryNews.com sports writer Jeff Webster does not like the show although he adores “Monty Python.” Go figure.

“The Red Green Show” originated in Canada and has aired on the Public Broadcasting Service since 1991. The show was produced from 1991-2006, and is still shown on Iowa Public Television on Saturdays at 10 p.m. and 10:30 p.m. It also is shown on Wednesday evenings at 10:30. For a few years it was shown on Saturday afternoons.

There was also a 2002 low-budget movie, “Duct Tape Forever,” and several specials since the series ended. These are shown during Iowa Public Television’s annual fundraising festival. At one time, viewers of “The Red Green Show” were by far the largest fundraiser group for Iowa Public Television. Iowa led the nation for quite some time in money raised in support of the show. Finally, Nebraska did beat out Iowa after a few years.

The premise of the show is a satire on outdoor and do-it-yourself programs. It is particularly a parody of “The Red Fisher Show,” Canada’s version of “The American Sportsman,” which ran from the 1960s to the 1980s.

Red Green (played by Steve Smith) is the president of a men’s lodge called the Possum Lodge, which sits by Possum Lake. Action takes place in the lodge and also in various outdoor locations. Most of the time, the characters know they are appearing on a low-budget cable TV show but never discuss it except for Harold.

Through the years there was a variety of characters. One that remained through the run of the show was Harold Green, Red’s geeky nephew. All of the characters have different idiosyncrasies and generally were not successful in life, not beautiful people, and they struggled with understanding women. I don’t remember ever seeing a woman appear on the show although wives were constantly discussed.

My Grandmother Wood loved Harold.

My favorite character was Hap Shaughnessy, who was a water taxi captain. Whenever Red would talk to him, Hap would claim to have done many incredible things. He remembered dating famous women, inventing the item that you were talking about, mentoring the Beatles, starring in movies, participating in the Olympics and anything else that you could imagine.

One time during a festival special, Hap claimed to have invented PBS.

“That’s when it was known as B.S.,” Red said.

I always enjoy Red’s “North of Forty” segment. Red is sitting and winding fishing line, and he talks to men about married life and a changing world from the perspective of an aging man. He always closes this segment with, “Remember, I’m pulling for you. We’re all in this together”. The older I get the more that I understand this segment.

The start of the show deals with Red and the other characters organizing some event at the lodge, which by the show’s conclusion is always a humorous and harmless failure. During the course of the just-under-30-minute show, Red and the characters might host a segment where they answer viewer questions, play a game similar to Password, host a do-it-yourself segment with disastrous results, including using the handyman’s secret weapon duct tape.

Red would narrate a black-and-white segment called “Adventures with Bill,” in which Bill was working on some outside project that always failed. He would talk to men one on one about married life and getting older, visiting with a strange forest ranger in his tower, visiting characters at their businesses at the lake and other events.

Red and the other characters also frequently talk about other Lodge members who are never seen and left to the imagination. Segments slightly varied over the course of time and with the different characters.

At the end of the show, he would address his wife, Bernice, and make some double innuendo comment about when he would get home. The end of the show usually showed Red presiding over the meeting of the lodge, which showed the backs of audience members, all of whom were dressed similarly to Red.

The officers of the lodge would stand up front and say, “All rise,” when Red walked in and then immediately have the group sit down. They would say, “Quando Omni Flunkus Moritati (When All Else Fails, Play Dead).” Then Red would lead the men in the men’s prayer, “I’m a Man…But I can change…If I have to…I guess.”

The show used this successful formula for 25 years. Check it out if you have not experienced it.

This is the third time that I have seen Steve Smith perform as Red Green at C. Y. Stephens Auditorium. I first saw him perform May 2, 2012, during his “Wit and Wisdom Tour” and on May 6, 2014, in his “How to Do Everything Tour.” Amazingly, Perry business man Chuck Hastings sat in front of me during the 2014 show.

These have all been one-man shows, with Red Green doing a monologue. The topics are very much akin to the television show except just a tad bit more adult. He started with a funny story about being born in 1945 and about his father, but it would put ThePerryNews.com in risk of disciplinary action if I repeated the story here.

Before the live show, videos of the television show were shown on a screen. The shows starts out with Red coming out and calling the meeting to order. He had everyone stand up and say the Quando Omni Flunkus Moritati. Then he talked about a myriad of topics, starting with his birth and about his uncle whom he spent a lot of time with.

He went over invention ideas. One was to put a retractable tape measure in the center of the belt, hooking a safety pin from the tape to the zipper, so that his uncle would not leave his fly down.

Another idea was the problem between standard and metric tools. Red’s idea was to use pocket change to fill the gap from standard to metric. He said instead of buying new metric tools, you can adapt standard tools by using 41 cents of pocket change to fill the gaps of different-sized tools. He shared other humorous ideas.

Red talked about topics such as his fellow lodge members, growing up, new technologies, younger generations and his wife. Just as in his show, he particularly struggles to understand his wife, new technologies and the younger generations.

After 47 minutes, Red took a 20-minute break and then came out for another 30 minutes. The show finished in under two hours. He closed the show as if closing a meeting, stating his famous phrase, “If the women don’t find you handsome, they should at least find you handy”. This sums up my lack of success with women. I am neither one.

An odd thing happened to me at this show. Sitting right behind me was a lady named Susan Delfs, who I worked at the Vinton Lutheran Home starting in 1982. I had not seen her in many years, and it was amazing to meet someone I knew from Vinton. She drove down with her husband from Dysart and was heading back that night. We caught up on 20 years of happenings.

I also ran into Marilyn Schroeder, a former Perry resident who works as an usher at various shows and sporting events at Iowa State.

After the show, you could buy books, DVDs, shirts, duct tape wallets and the trademark red-and-green suspenders. If you stuck around for a while, you could even meet Red Green (Steve Smith). The last two times I did not wait. This time I did just so you could see me in a picture with him.

Immediately, I had to run to the bathroom. The Pepsi from my earlier Taco John meal was catching up to me. The sad thing was that I used up my last 25 percent off Taco John coupon and apparently the company has discontinued this program.

I then bought the book, “Red Green’s Beginner’s Guide to Women,” for $25 so I could have a reason to get my picture taken. The line did not take all that long to go through. I rode along to the show with Dan Haymond, whom I had on standby to take my picture with Red Green (Steve Smith).

A publicity person for Steve Smith ended up taking my picture with my camera. Even Dan got his picture taken even though he refrained from buying any of the “valuable” merchandise.

During the signing, Steve did not use his Red Green voice. His Red Green voice is much deeper. In the very first episodes of his TV show, his voice is even deeper and does not sound at all like the voice that he is now famous for. He was not as personable as he is in the later episodes. He also wore red suspenders in the beginning instead of the now famous red-and-green ones.

Steve Smith is quite a bit shorter than me, and his real voice is not deep at all. One would not recognize him if you met him in public and not in costume. In fact, he greatly resembles Jim Caufield, publisher of TheperryNews.com, except that Steve Smith is 70 years old and Jim is quite a bit younger.

If you want to see this show, it is in Ottumwa April 20 at the Bridge View Center and in Davenport May 1 at the Adler Theatre.

So for $54 it was a good show. I felt out of place going through the line with my ticket. Most everyone had computer generated tickets and one person had a ticket on their fancy cell phone. I had the old-style printed ticket, which cost about $20 less than the computer generated tickets. Because of this, I rolled the dice and bought a ticket for Ron White for $45. He is coming to C. Y. Stephens Auditorium Friday, April 22.

Stay tuned for a review of that show. I bet he will be even more adult. I liked a story he told on the Comedy Channel. He was flying in a plane when the pilot stated over the intercom that one of the engines just went out, but he told the passangers not to worry because they still had three engines. Someone asked how far they could go on three engines.

“All the way to the scene of the crash,” Ron said. “We’ll probably beat the ambulance by 20 minutes.”

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Dan Haymond, left, chats with Steve Smith, the man who plays Red Green, at the Red Green "I'm Not Old. I'm Ripe" tour at C.Y. Stephens Auditorium in Ames.
Dan Haymond, left, chats with Steve Smith, the man who plays Red Green, at the “Red Green: I’m Not Old. I’m Ripe” tour at C.Y. Stephens Auditorium in Ames.

2 COMMENTS

  1. Everyone has their own tastes when it comes to humor. I confess to a love of the general silliness of Monty Python. While I enjoy many PBS offerings, when it comes to Red Green I must say I happen to prefer comedy when it happens to be, well, funny.

  2. Ninety percent of people surveyed agree that “Monty Python” runs a distant second to “The Benny Hill Show” in terms of pure comedic genius. But leaving that aside, one of my favorite Red Green projects was when he wanted to use his van to spread salt on the icy road leading to Possum Lodge. Red filled the back of the van with bags of salt, and then you heard a shotgun from inside the van blast through the floor to create holes for the salt to fall through. Not a bad idea!

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