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Ed the Sock
If we could distill MuchMusic's '90s-era weirdness into a single VJ, it'd be Ed the Sock. Who knew that a cantankerous, cigar-smoking sock puppet would become one of Canada's most beloved media personalities? And love affair with Steven Kerzner's gruff-voiced sock continues: He's still sought-after interview who opined that Strombo would bring Hockey Night In Canada a "mass infusion of vowels." Never change, Ed.
DaMix and X-Tendamix's Master T, a.k.a. Tony Young, is one of the most revered figures in MuchMusic history—in part, because he was a champion of hip-hop and dance music. Who could forget the promos he did for Dance Mix 95? T's decorated career moved onto a career as a motivational speaker, but he also re-entered the spotlight this year—he's a vocal advocate of giving Much back to Moses Znaimer.
Few VJs were as agreeable as Strombo, who grew from an alt-minded music personality—hosting the Punk Show, LOUD, and more—to becoming, as he put it, Canada's boyfriend (and briefly, a hip-with-the-kids CNN host). Now, he’s the recently crowned host of Hockey Night in Canada. Thus far, he's done a good job—somehow, he gets hockey players to talk about things other than giving 'er 110 per cent.
Bradford How spent three years at Much in the early aughts, but—along with Rachel Perry—was among the era's most popular. According to his LinkedIn, he's had a good run as a host for VH1, JVC, and Nationwide Insurance, and now works for Digital Kitchen, a creative agency. But that doesn't mean that his onscreen aspirations are over: According to a video he posted on dreamjobbing.com, he's vying to be a “social buzz reporter.”
Speaking of Rachel Perry, the three-year VJ—who was once engaged to Good Riddance singer Russ Rankin—has also kept busy, from modelling to hosting VH1's All Access. Now based in L.A., Perry has hosted plenty, ranging from PlayboyTV's The Stash, Hulu's The Morning After, and TBS's Very Funny News, which, on Tumblr, has her rubbing shoulders with comedians like Amy Schumer and Pete Holmes. Brockville, stand up!
Much of the enduring goodwill towards MuchMusic can be attributed to Sook-Yin Lee, whose work with The Wedge forever tied her to Canada's independent arts circles. Since then, she's built a career in film, theatre, and music. She played Olivia Chow in Jack Layton's biopic; directed the acclaimed Year of the Carnivore; put out records with Last Gang; and is the host of Manitoba-centred CBC show Definitely Not the Opera.
Rick the Temp
Rick "the Temp" Campanelli was lovingly mocked for having started at Much as a fresh-faced intern, but by the end of it, he was one of the station's most enduring personalities. He’s no longer associated with MuchMusic, but he's still very much in the public eye—he's now the co-host of ET Canada, and, if you follow him on Twitter, has moved on from interviewing Pearl Jam to hobnobbing with Ryan Reynolds and Rachel McAdams.
The blonde-mulleted Steve Anthony, along with Master T and Erica Ehm, was synonymous with MuchMusic of the '90s. Anthony's still very much working in television and, unlike many of his VJ compadres, hasn't left Toronto—he can still be seen hosting CP24's breakfast-hour programming, and even if we're never up in time to watch him, we're glad to know he's still in the public eye. Even if he's since lost the mullet.
The curly haired was with MuchMusic forever, and, according to his bios, has racked up 3,000 interviews over his career. That's a helluva lot. Rather than sticking with music, though, Welychka went for a lower-key career: First, he became a news anchor in Ottawa, and when he was let go from that position—allegedly, to great protests from viewers—he eventually joined CKWS-TV in Kingston, ON.
Erica Ehm's one of MuchMusic's OG VJs, and even if we see her less on TV, we're glad she's still an active. The mother of three has moved into the blogosphere, running the Yummy Mummy Club, which, in her words, hopes to empower "mothers who long to be spoken to as someone who is more than 'just somebody's mom,'" with posts about the evolving notions of beauty, travel, and even MuchMusic retrospectives.
While most VJs ended up finding work in broadcast, Jennifer Hollett—who, at one point, studied journalism—has moved into a different direction. Namely, politics. Last year, Hollett, a proud NDPer, ran as a candidate in Toronto Centre's by-election; she lost to the Liberals' Linda McQuaig. She has also developed a Shazam-esque app that fact-checks political attack ads.
Much of this list focused on MuchMusic's heyday—arguably, the '90s until the early to mid '00s—yet even beyond that era, the station had memorable personalities, led by Leah Miller. Now married to City and Colour's Dallas Green, Miller, for better of for worse, can't exit the spotlight if she wanted to: City and Colour's "Commentators" was a song written about some of the nastier trolls she encountered.
Unlike other MuchMusic VJs, Amanda Walsh didn't end up becoming a broadcast personality—instead, she went after Hollywood. She's since made appearances in the Big Bang Theory and Veronica Mars, as well as series like Single White Spenny, starring, uh... Spenny. According to her IMDB, she's been keeping active—in 2014, she starred in horror flick Mercy, TV series Mulaney, and yet-released film WTF America.
Hannah Simone hosted the NewMusic, among other shows, in her run with the station in the late '00s. It's almost quant seeing her interview Robert Pattinson on Much, mostly because Simone achieved much more fame in her post-VJ career—she's now best-known for her role on Zooey Deschanel's New Girl as Cece, who, like Simone herself, is an ex-model.
MuchMusic recently turned 30, and as the venerable Canadian music station reached its third decade, it came with a navelgazing frenzy: Some demanded that the station return to its video-centric roots; Master T, for his part, demanded its return to founder Moses Znaimer. Others claimed that MuchMusic was already in its death knell, pointing to the fact that it cut, then revived, then again folded The Wedge. Others simply celebrated its legacy by reuniting some of the station’s VJs, like Ed the Sock, Jen Hollett, and Rick the Temp.
Yet for all the talk surrounding the past, present, and future of Much, many were missing the point—the station was driven by strong, likeable personalities, many of whom were our introduction to music. Many of its personalities are still defined by their time at Much—Rick Campanelli’s Twitter profile lists him as a “permanent temp to many”—but they, as we, eventually outgrew the station. But that doesn’t mean that they faded from the public eye—in fact, plenty of VJs still continue on with high-profile work, whether they’re Hollywood actors, bloggers, or even local weather anchors. Here are 14 of our favourites.