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Comedian Steve Smith, more popularly known as Red Green, will perform tonight at the Corn Palace in Mitchell. (Publicity image)

Red Green returns

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After years of questions, Red Green fans can finally learn why their favorite Canadian handyman uses duct tape for everything.

Steve Smith, perhaps better known as Red Green, said that part of his "How To Do Everything" Tour includes, for the first time, an explanation of why he fixes everything with duct tape -- something that has become part of his trademark.

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"I thought it was time," Smith said. "While I'm still moderately lucid, I thought I should explain it. I don't want people guessing any longer."

Known for his dry, measured humor and self-deprecating style, the longtime Canadian comedian will visit the Corn Palace at 7 p.m. today. Interim Corn Palace Director Jeri Mickelson said tickets are $48.50 plus a $1.50 venue fee -- the Corn Palace is being rented for the show -- for a total of $50, and available at the Corn Palace box office at 995-8430 or www.cornpalace.org.

His character, Red Green, became a fan-favorite over 15 seasons from 1991 to 2006 on Canadian TV. It followed the misadventures of handyman Red Green and his colorful array of friends at Possum Lodge. Still popular on reruns in Canada and the U.S., the character of Red Green has continued, despite Smith's attempts to retire.

"How do you think that went?" he asked with a chuckle.

He was given some advice he said, that he liked: "You need something to retire to, not something to retire from."

"I thought I was retiring to playing golf and sitting around being an old guy," Smith said.

That's not quite what happened.

He began writing, and then jumped into doing his one-man show -- something he's never done before.

"I don't have a theatrical background," he said. "Then it was just so fun."

"How To Do Everything" is a whirlwind tour of 32 shows across 18 states. It will include all-new material from Smith's last appearance in Mitchell in 2012, as well as excerpts from his newest book, "Red Green's Beginner's Guide to Women (For Men Who Don't Read Instructions)."

Filled with pithy section headings like "What Women Want" and "Meeting Her Father," the book takes a chronological approach to tackling male-female relationships, starting at puberty and ending with 50th anniversary celebrants. The book made the short list of nominees for the 2014 Stephen Leacock Memorial Award for Humour, an honor named for the Canadian author Smith described as "kind of like our Mark Twain." The winner will be announced Thursday.

"I really enjoyed writing," Smith said. "I've been married almost 48 years, so you know, I have some experience. I'm still a beginner."

Despite being loosely labeled as a guide, Smith said the point of his book, and his show, isn't to tell people how to live -- it's to make them laugh.

"I love the sound of people laughing," Smith said. "I don't care if they walk out of there saying, 'That guy's a genius,' I just want them to leave in a good mood."

Along with enjoying success on TV and in print, Smith said the tour is going well, and he's already started another idea list -- the first step to writing another book -- but "it hasn't hit critical mass yet."

"Once I start it, it's usually a bad sign," he said. "I feel great and I'm really enjoying myself, but you just never know how much longer you're going to do it, or how much longer I'm going to want to do it."

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