For years, nay, centuries, man has struggled with one central question: What does it take to make a woman happy?
Thankfully, a wise man has boldly stepped forward with the answer: Red Green.
Yes, that Red Green. The guy with the checkered shirt, fishing hat and suspenders. The genius who uses duct tape to fix everything. Red Green is back from Possum Lodge, Chapter 11, and once again he has all the answers.
You'll find them in his new book: "Red Green's Beginner's Guide to Women (For Men Who Don't Read Instructions)."
Chapters include "Men are from Mars, Women are from Men," "Groom for Improvement" and "Is it Love or Just Gas?"
The hardcover tome published by Random House arrives in bookstores Sept. 17.
Green, the comical creation of Steve Smith, endeavours to help his brethren through all the tricky stages of male-female relationships. There are tips on everything from finding a mate right up to the all-important "learning to deal with her growing disappointment in you."
Smith, 67, thought he had retired Green in 2006 when "The Red Green Show" went out of production after 15 seasons — making it, he claims, "the longest-running, live-action scripted comedy in the world." When he decided to write books and perform live comedy shows a few years ago, the longtime resident of Hamilton, Ont., had to retrieve Red's hat from the University of Toronto, where he had donated it to the library archives.
Now he's back in cap and suspenders for another Red Green "How to Do Everything" tour. The live 29-city showcase opens Sept. 13 and 14 in St. Catharines, Ont., with all proceeds from those two shows going to Ronald McDonald House. Other stops include Surrey, B.C. (Sept. 19), Casino Rama in Ontario (Oct. 26) and Fredericton, N.B. (Nov. 1). A full list can be found at www.redgreen.com.
Smith will tour U.S. cities in the spring. In the summer of 2012 he performed in Fairbanks, Alaska, where he judged the 16th annual Red Green River Regatta. Contestants float down a river, says Smith, "and the only rule is you've got to use at least one roll of duct tape and whatever you're in can't be a boat."
Smith watched people paddle by in refrigerators and other homemade contraptions; the locals pelt them with water balloons from the shore.
There'll be no water balloon tossing at the live shows. While some might quibble with Green's credentials as a relationship expert, Smith has earned the right to hand out marriage advice. His union with wife Morag will have lasted 47 years come this Remembrance Day.
"I got a deal on the flowers," says Smith.
The two met in high school and their first date was on Morag's 16th birthday. They worked together for many years, singing and performing sketches on their "Smith & Smith" variety show in the late 1970s and early '80s on Hamilton's CHCH.
Speaking from experience, Smith doesn't completely agree with the adage, "A happy wife equals a happy life."
"I don't think that's the wheelhouse," says Smith. "I think the wheelhouse is actually being concerned about whether or not she's happy. Making her happy is probably unattainable."
It's more about effort than accomplishments, he says. "If you care about what women want, that's what women want."
The book has a photo of Green on the cover, walking into his house with a vacuum cleaner with the tag, "Happy Anniversary."
"I've done something like that," Smith admits.
The dumbest thing he's ever given his wife?
"A pair of mukluks." They weren't high-fashion mukluks either. "These were entry level. To me, heels are dangerous."
Smith says performing live has been "the greatest experience of my whole career." His 2010 tour played to sold-out venues and was ranked 35th among the top 100 touring acts that year — not exactly The Rolling Stones but, hey, for a Possum Lodge elder, pretty darn good.
Smith says he's surprised by all the young people at the shows who "don't even realize there was a TV show. They only know it from YouTube." One young fan even told him after a show that "you make me look forward to growing old."
The fact people have actually bought a ticket and paid to see him makes all the difference, says Smith.
"Anybody who's ambivalent about you isn't there."
Bill Brioux is a freelance TV columnist based in Brampton, Ont.