I can’t let the host of Connect with Mark Kelley fade into the CBC sunset without a few words.
The Spring of the Savage CBC Cuts has killed his show. But he’s going out in splendid style. Kelley went back to high school for a week to shoot BullyPROOF, a thoughtful, significant, emotional and sometimes heart-breaking one-hour special aired earlier this month.
It’s all about bullying. Seems one out of every four kids in our schools reports being bullied. In BullyPROOF, 150 of them talk to Kelley or tell their stores to camera in a private “Bully Booth.” They talked of being called “fag,” and “slut” and “ugly.” They talked of being beaten up. They talked of the hurt, the pain, and crying themselves to sleep.
Mark Kelley‘s great and rare skill is that he’s everyman. Yes, he’s intelligent, good-looking, and has a good voice. But he doesn’t posture, doesn’t shout, and speaks in a normal voice at normal speed. He communicates on camera better than damn near anyone else in Canadian TV news.
In this hour, instead of everyman, Mark Kelley becomes every kid. He doesn’t just sympathize, he empathizes. Joins them. Which is how he gets the kids to talk about bullying as bravely, as openly and as honestly, as they do.
The National should have such a host.