Ed the Sock’s Secret Identity Revealed
TORONTO, ON (SP) — Although celebrity sock puppet Ed the Sock is merely a size nine, it turns out that the man behind the sock fills some rather big shoes in the television industry. In an exclusive interview with Satiric Press, Toronto media mogul Moses Znaimer has admitted that it is he who provides the voice for the wise-cracking, cigar-chomping sock.
This had been one of the most closely-guarded secrets in show business, with the public being led to believe that Ed's alter ego was Steve Kerzner, a former television producer and stand-up comic. However, it turns out that this was merely a cover, and the real hand beneath the sock belongs to none other than Mr. Znaimer, the co-founder of such fixtures on Canadian television as CityTV and MuchMusic.
Znaimer redefined the television landscape in Canada by introducing such revolutionary concepts as 'Videographers' (reporters who operate their own video cameras), and 'Speaker's Corner' (a video booth which provides a forum for viewers to share their views with other audience members). Znaimer is also known for having what is believed to be the world's largest collection of vintage television sets.
Above: International Sock of Mystery.
Within the last ten years, Ed the Sock has enjoyed a meteoric rise from the obscurity of hosting a show on community access television to becoming one of the most popular VJs on MuchMusic, the Canadian equivalent of MTV. Ed even ran for mayor of Toronto several years ago, making lofty campaign promises such as to reupholster every subway seat with fine Corinthian leather.
Rumours regarding Ed the Sock's secret identity gathered momentum over the last couple of years, as CityTV began to feature more and more of the sleazy, exploitative programs favoured by Ed, including Temptation Island, the Bachelorette, and the Naked News. People also took note of the fact that the Sock and Znaimer had never appeared together on camera.
Znaimer explained that he adopted Ed as an alter-ego because it provided him with an outlet to express what he really thought about the entertainment industry. "It would have been considered conduct unbecoming a television executive for me to have openly expressed my contempt for boy bands or my infatuation with Christina Aguilera," he said. "But when I put on that sock, I feel free to be completely honest, no matter how politically incorrect that might be."
Znaimer describes Ed's aggressive style of ambushing guests on his show with embarrassing and offensive questions as simply a search for truth. "I like to refer to it as the Sockratic method," he said.
Many find it inconceivable that the person behind such a cantankerous, insensitive character could have also masterminded CityTV's CityPulse News, which has always been a model of ethnic diversity, with veteran on-air personalities such as crime specialist Jo-Jo Chinto and Meteorologist Harold Hossein. "I can work with anyone, regardless of their ethnic or cultural background," explained Znaimer, "so long as they have respect for me, both as a person and as a sock puppet."
Ed the Sock's spectacular level of success has spawned countless imitators, both within Canada and abroad. "A character like Triumph the Insult Comic Dog on NBC's Conan O'Brien Show, with his sarcastic shtick, gravelly voice, and penchant for smoking cigars, is nothing but a pale imitation of Ed," said Znaimer. "It's a clear case of sock envy."
Znaimer recently stepped down from his role as head of the CHUM television broadcasting empire. At the time, he claimed that he did so in order to devote more time to developing educational programming. However, now that he's come out of the drawer, Znaimer admits that the real reason he stepped down was to be able to spend more time as Ed.
As a result, television audiences will be seeing more of Ed the Sock than ever before. Znaimer has informed SP that Ed will be replacing Anne Mroczkowski as Gord Martineau's co-anchor on CityPulse News at Six. Some industry observers wonder whether Ed's higher profile and abrasive style might lead to trouble for CityTV. They cite the fact that Ed's weekly program on MuchMusic had to stop airing in the U.S. because American record companies didn't like the way he criticized their artists relentlessly, and refused to put a sock in it.
"I think it's surprising that Americans would have a problem with Ed, considering that their own President is actually a puppet," said Znaimer. "If you've ever wondered why Dick Cheney's mouth is always crooked, it's because he's not a very good ventriloquist. By contrast, you'll never see my lips move when Gord Martineau speaks."