Mark Meer elected Edmontonian of 2012 in landslide victory

GigCity Edmonton Mark Meer mugWe should’ve known what would happen if we put Mark Meer on the list.

Of course he was voted GigCity’s Edmontonian of the Year – in a landslide, with 68% of the vote. He’s such a tireless self-promoter and wields such a formidable clout in social media that winning our little contest/social experiment was a no-brainer. The local actor also doesn’t seem to have any enemies, unlike some of the people on the nomination list, and, perhaps most importantly, Meer drew the crucial nerd vote because of his voice work in the popular Mass Effect video game series. The mayor, Daryl Katz, that other guy, all were blasted to smithereens under the relentless barrage of Commander Shepard’s GR-77 Missile Launcher, or whatever the hell he shoots.

This is not a joke, neither fluke nor accident. This is an arts website, mostly, and Meer is one of the most prolific artists in town. It’s his sheer energy that astounds. The actor, comedian, improviser and writer has worked hard to make dents in every form of media. He has made a name for himself in Edmonton, a name for Edmonton in his worldwide travels, virtually and physically.

Via e-mail from England, where he’s doing the London Improvathon Jan. 11-13, Meer delivered his acceptance speech:

“That certainly is an honour, considering talented folks like Corb Lund and Todd Babiak were among the other nominees. I had the pleasure of improvising onstage with Mayor Mandel at the opening performance of last year’s Improvaganza festival, so I know he’s no slouch in the talent department either …

“The fact is, Edmonton is full of talented, hard-working people, so to be singled out really does mean a lot. I would hesitate to say that I’m more deserving than any other Edmontonian on the list of nominees (or many other Edmontonians that weren’t), but I’ll gladly accept the over-sized novelty cheque that comes with the title … Please tell me there’s a over-sized novelty cheque. No? A sash, maybe?”

The runners-up had a close race. Novelist Todd Babiak squeaks out second place with 8% of the vote. It’s not only his books that make him popular, but his inspiring and intelligent Edmonton boosterism. He came up with a challenge recently, “Make Something Edmonton,” which sounds like a good bumper sticker. Coming in a close third is a controversial figure, Lynden Dorval, the schoolteacher fired for defying his boss’s rule about giving no zeros. The Mayor comes fourth. Daryl Katz? Near the bottom.

The write-in votes were somewhat illuminating. People collecting multiple mentions include Wunderbar co-owner and comedian Craig Martell, Valley Zoo vet Milton Ness, actor Mat Busby, Edmonton Journal columnist Paula Simons and Sonic radio morning man Garner Andrews. There was also one vote from some smartass for “Anyone but these people.”

Mark MeerOn the importance of artists promoting their own work – and it’s never shameful or intrusive if it’s work worth promoting – Meer added a few thoughts, “Since you mention self-promotion, perhaps I should casually mention to your readers that my show Tiny Plastic Men is airing on Super Channel (available On Demand) and The Irrelevant Show returns to CBC Radio with a brand new season in the first week of January. Also, the live improvised soap opera Die-Nasty can be seen every Monday at 7:30 pm at the Varscona Theatre in Old Strathcona, and Rapid Fire Theatre is holding its annual RFT Date Night Fundraiser on January 19th at our new digs over at the Citadel Theatre downtown. Sorry, what was the question?”

Your sash is in the mail.