Drew Marshall – taking on the Nation’s IQ
“When Strombo says jump – well, who’s going to say no?” asks Drew Marshall. This question was in regard to his being invited by George Stroumboulopoulos to participate this weekend’s Test the Nation on CBC-TV.
The show’s setup is that six teams with the titles of twins, politicians, atheists, believers and nerds are competing live in the CBC studio. At the same time, viewers can print a scorecard or participate online as the show progresses.
Presumably to add zest to the affair, Donald Currie, a Toronto hypnotherapist, will hypnotise a selection of the team members to ascertain if hypnotism can influence their IQ test results for the better.
Drew Marshall comes from 150 years of Marshalls living in this area, of whom there have been local politicians, shopkeepers, businessmen and farmers. This Mr. Marshall was raised in his father’s funeral home in Richmond Hill.
He was a rebel, a problem child, who was ousted from four schools. Coming back to his roots, he landed in Teen Ranch for a while. From there he went to California at the age of 17.
In California, he attended a Bible College and worked in the ministry. He was also a wrangler on a ranch. Four years later, he returned to Canada. Without much in the way of preamble, he tried out to play in the National Football League and actually played semi-pro football.
A brief career training as a firefighter also lacked the excitement, so it seems, to keep Mr. Marshall for long.
In 1997, he moved his family, his wife and their two children, to Australia with no particular prospects, just as a “leap of faith”. He is quoted as saying: “I intentionally wanted to put my life into the hands of God and make a personal investment in this thing called faith.”
Having said which, he found himself working as an assistant pastor in a church in the Blue Mountains near Sydney. They were very good times but, after five years, they came back to Canada, back to the Marshall family’s historical home town, Orangeville.
In a telephone interview earlier this week, Mr. Marshall said he “came back to Canada and stopped being a pastor. couldn’t think why anyone would want me as a pastor. don’t have the integrity. For me it is a daily surrender to the Creator. ... I am too well aware of my own attraction to darkness.”
He considered writing a book but realized he did not have the patience for so much writing.
Then, as so often happens with good ideas, he had an interesting thought at 3 a.m. one night.
He went to a couple of radio stations with his idea and soon enough, it all “snowballed into this crazy business.”
It was the producers at JOY 1250AM who finally took up his format of a spiritual talk show – with a difference.
“They took a chance on me,” he told me. “I talk about things that other people won’t.”
Nowadays, The Drew Marshall Show is Canada’s most listened-to spiritual talk show.
Ever the rebel, Mr. Marshall invites folk that one would not expect to talk on his show and that other (spiritual) talk show hosts would never touch: the High Priest of the Wiccan Church of Canada, the High Priest of the Church of Satan, a leader of Canada’s polygamist colony.
He has had a long list of celebrities on his show, too, talk about their own spiritual awakenings. BB King, Wynonna Judd and Alice Cooper have appeared on his radio show. Amongst his celebrity interviews, Mr. Marshall is particularly proud of his half-hour audio video with the legendary James Brown.
“When he found out that I used to be a pastor,” Mr. Marshall recalled, “he was so respectful toward me.”
Mr. Marshall met George Stroumboulopoulos when the latter accepted being a guest on Mr. Marshall’s show. This is where their friendship began and from whence came the invitation to join Test the Nation being tested on CBC television this Sunday.
It is not only the gilt-edged persona that interest Mr. Marshall but also ordinary folk with extraordinary spiritual experiences. In fact, people interest Mr. Marshall.
Although one’s spiritual life seems to be an essentially serious subject, Mr. Marshall has a big love for humour. In his biog, the “recent highlights” of his life include a few items that are all about the laughs. He was a guest on the Global ComedyFest in Vancouver and Monkey Toast in Toronto. He held Canada’s first “Preacher
Idol” and “So you think God wants you to sing?” And he was the only guest to be kicked off 100 Huntley Street.
Of Sunday’s show, Mr. Marshall commented:
I’m looking forward to it. Strombo is a genuine, lovely human being.”
The show airs on CBCTV at 8:00 pm.
Of himself, Mr. Marshall remarks: “I am not a spiritual leader. I am
pathetic follower of Christ. Ask anyone in town.”