Mike Huckabee congratulates Canada on its "national igloo"

Mike Huckabee may have won the Iowa primary, but does he really think that Canada's Parliament resides in a "national igloo?" Rick Mercer's comedic Canadian TV show "Talking to Americans" (asking people on the streets of US cities nonsensical questions about Canada to see if they call shenanigans or whether they become genuinely alarmed at the idea that, say, the Canadian elderly are set adrift on ice floes instead of being sent to retirement homes) caught Huckabee on video during his days as governor of Arkansas and asked him to send a message of support to Canada and its struggling "national igloo," a notional ice-sculpture scale replica of the White House in which the Canadian Parliament meets and debates.

Huckabee gave a stirring endorsement to the igloo, presumably after ascertaining that the igloo was not used by homosexuals. Link


  1. While there are some people that might honestly believe what this man says, I think that most of the people were simply being polite. And on the other videos, his confidence could easily either cause the people he asks to simply believe him without questioning him, or to doubt what they know and not say anything about it.

  2. …which is the same as saying that they don’t know a heck about Canada. I liked the last scene in one the other video, though:

    Rick: a survey shows that 70% of Canadian grade 7 students cannot find the state they live in on the map. Do you think that it is an indication of a problem with Canadian public education system ?

    Mom: Absolutely !

    Little son: HANG ON, Canada has provinces !!!

    So there is still some hope =)

  3. Let’s be honest, we Canadians LOVE laughing at the foibles of our southern neighbors. (And, don’t get all up in my grill, people, you Americans do it back, just as often.)

    But, after about 10-15 minutes of Rick doing this – and the show was a series that went on for weeks – I started to find it sad and more than a little bit creepy and mean.

  4. Although I really have no love for Huckabee, Mercer has gotten a number of fairly high profile people to say really stupid things – Tom Vilsack (also a presidential candidate, well, for a while anyways) congratulated Canada on adopting 24 hour time

    It’s fun to watch (the compilation was the highest rated CBC show), but I always find myself wondering if people are actually that dumb or just screwing around. There are a few clips where the people being interviewed had huge shit eating grins.

    That said, either Huckabee is an awesome straight-man, or…

    BTW, Mercer got GW Bush too. Bush made a joke about the incident in one of his speeches up here, but since “the incident”, all requests from the CBC for an interview have been rejected, so make up your own mind there.

  5. #6 of course canadians don’t live in igloos!!! that would be alaskians. canadians live in shanty mining shacks and log cabins. sheez…haven’t you ever seen dudly do-right?

  6. Canada is a country, right?

    -LOL, no that was damn funny. Not only do Canadians do this to us all the time, but we do it to ourselves all the time, a-la Colbert, Leno, etc.
    -Comedians from other countries do it as well, a-la Sasha Baron Cohen.
    -Republicans have turned lampooning democrats into a national passtime. As always, when a Republican gets embarassed, they lose their sense of humor.
    -Canadians are damn funny (and they can make good jokes too), GO TRAILER PARK BOYZ!

  7. Comedy aside, I wish that just once one of these Mercered people would wink at the camera to say: “Actually, I know better, but this is as close as I can get to hoisting this jerk on his own petard.”

    I’d really enjoy that.

  8. Mercer has always struck me as too mean-spirited to be really funny. These videos generally show nothing more than the fact that everyone knows there is a socially-expected script for interviews, and it most emphatically does not involve the interviewee going, “Huh? What? I have no clue what you’re talking about.”

    So the stupid responses are due to politeness and convention as much as ignorance, and even when the interviewee probably smells a rat they play along because there’s no percentage in them getting into an argument over it with a nobody out of nowhere who has just stuck a microphone into their face and asks them about something that the neither know nor care about.

    Really, why should the governor of Arkansas know anything much about the structure of the Canadian parliament buildings? Or waste his precious few brain cells wondering about the plausibility of ice architecture. And don’t we see stuff linked on boingboing every single day that is far weirder than a national igloo?

    People who are in the public eye all the time are very wary of what they say, and they hardly ever get in trouble for being polite and playing along with the interviewer. Even in ordinary discourse we do this: a clerk in a book shop told me the other day that she was glad to see I was buying a book on the Maya, because she’d seen on the Internet that there was now incontrovertible proof that humans had been on Earth for far longer than anyone thought, and ancient humans had all kinds of incredible technology.

    Did I laugh in her face or try to correct her? Of course not–I nodded and said, “That’s very interesting.” If she’d been holding a microphone and pressed me about it I could well have said, “I think there’s a lot about the ancient world we don’t know” or something along those lines. It’s just a natural response to a) not show your ignorance to a total stranger and b) not disagree with a crazy person.

    If you got that on camera I’m sure you could make me look like a complete idiot.

    This is all Mercer is doing, and it’s cheap and unkind.

  9. i remember after this first aired, there was an interview with rick about the show. he was saying how much he loved doing it, but getting the reaction from huckabee almost made him feel bad because huckabee was such a nice guy, invited him to dinner, gave him a personal tour of the state legislature, etc.
    i wonder if he would have been so nice had he known rick has a husband?

  10. I watched every clip I could find after the first time these were linked to on boingboing, and I love em. There are a few things to consider though:

    as #10 eloquently points out, this is a joke on social scripts. I’m a staunch pro-absurdist so getting random people to answer nonsensical questions gets an A+ from me. The fact that they’re using jokes about Canada, which most US citizens really don’t know much about, can understandably provoke some jingoistic ire, but as long as you look at it as absurd instead of political commentary, it’s still funny.

    Another thing to point out is that they’re picking and choosing the most amusing footage. Obvious, I know, but there’s really no indication of just how many people he had to interview in order to get those responses.

    Just so long as nobody assumes this is a representative sample of US citizens and then extrapolates the average intelligence of US citizens from these clips…. but then, the joke would be on them, wouldn’t it?

  11. Huckabee doesn’t “believe” in evolution either.You’
    d think after Bush Americans would get it right….

  12. I think he’s in on the joke. As much as I loathe the guy’s politics, he seems to have some sense of humor (witness the Chuck Norris) commercial.

    As for it being mean-spirited, horsehockey. I worked at Navy Pier here in Chicago and any number of tv shows set up doing man on the street bits like this. I’ve never stopped for them and never would, because even the smartest person can be edited and shaped to look a fool. If you give an interview like that you’re opening the door for any old kind of mockery.

  13. If Jesus didn’t want Canadians living in igloos then why did He invent ice six thousand years ago? Huh?

  14. Wll sd, Tm. t’s “Brt” — cmdy t th xpns f smn ls, slly smn ls tht’s bng trstng fr th sk f pltnss nd s rwrdd fr hs trst by bng md fl. “Wht w d fr gd r fr ll, shll b rtrnd t s thrfld.”

  15. #4 BXRGUY, no we don’t make fun of Canada, because we don’t really care! :D

    Oh, maybe some people in MinneSOta make fun of Canada, sure.

    /That “Blame Canada” song was funny, though. And a catchy tune, too!


  16. @ #10

    There’s a problem I have with your claims of Mercer being too vindictive. He makes it so obvious that having it fly over your head makes it actually funny cause you didn’t something that was learned in elementary school.

    Consider some of the lines he gets them to say. “Congratulations Canada on legalizing VCRs.” “Congratulations Canada on getting your first university.” “Congratulations Canada on getting a jet propulsion plane.” It goes on and on and on. America is next to a First World country, and claims like this are completely contradictory to that basic fact. If people can’t wrap their head around this idea, and that what Rick Mercer tells them is complete bullshit, they deserve to get ridiculed.

    Now, why should the governor of Iowa know anything about the Parliament buildings’s structure? It’s not that he should know anything, it’s that he should exercise enough common sense to deduce that a building more than 100 years old could never be made of ice, because it’s fucking impossible. Why should he consider the plausibility of ice architecture? I reiterate, COMMON SENSE. And sure, I’ve seen some weird shit on this site, but the difference is proof. Pics or it never happened, simple enough. Mercer doesn’t have a stitch of fake evidence on him, and goes purely on his word.

    Now that experience with Mayan fangirl reminds me of this time I sat down to a plate of apples and a plate of oranges and ate both in an effort to draw a concrete comparison between the two. Despite my best efforts, I couldn’t find a common point between the two. And really, polite obliging of someone’s idiocy is nothing more than tolerance of bullshit.

  17. It’s amazing with how much idiocy people in governmental leadership positions can get away with.

    Ditto #21 … It’s fair enough that people, who’s sole role is to face the public and are advised by behind-the-scene experts, have to have some reasonable amount of common sense.

  18. Y’know, it’s not nice to make fun of the retarded, even when the retardation is self-impossed as in the case of huckabee. But I have to admit, it is funny, and will remain so until we see bus-loads of bible brained evangelicals being taken to the polls, in which case the fact that the majority of citizens don’t vote, it will stop being all that funny, except in the pathetic sense of the word.

  19. I ran across Mercer a year or so back and blogged about him nailing Iowa’s Governor Vilsack on the 24-hour clock.

    A staffer for the governor was quick to respond; he was there that day and Vilsack was definitely in on the joke.

    Huckabee’s a bit sharper than Vilsack and I’m sure he was just playing along as well.

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