Canadian comic Gerry Dee performs at the McPherson Playhouse Jan. 28.

Just call TVs Mr. D, Mr. Lucky

Canadian comic Gerry Dee talks fatherhood and teaching

  • Dec. 18, 2014 5:00 p.m.

Canadian Comic Gerry Dee was not a funny kid.

He claims there were no signs he would be a full time funny man growing up in Scarborough, Ont.

“I went to an all-boys school and there were just a bunch of crazy boys there so I didn’t stand out more than anyone else,” he says.

Dee came to comedy late in life, only hitting the stand up stage for the first time after his 30th birthday.

“I just did the university thing. I was excited to get my teaching career going … the comedy didn’t click until I was in my late 20s,” he says.

Although he got his start late in the game, he didn’t let it deter him. “To me, age was not an issue. It was something I wanted to try, literally before I died. I’m very thankful I did.”

Dee spent 10 years as a high school teacher before making the switch to comedy and acting in 2003.

In 1999, he won Toronto’s Funniest New Comic competition, had his own half hour Comedy Now special on CTV and The Comedy Network in 2001 and appeared at a variety of comedy festivals, including the Montreal Just For Laughs Festival.

In 2007, he appeared on Season 5 of NBC’s Last Comic Standing, which featured comics from around the world competing alongside Americans. Dee finished third. In 2008, he won Best Comic in Canada at the 2008 Canadian Comedy Awards.

But in the beginning: “It was terrible and terrifying. I was terrible and terrifying. I had no idea what I was doing. But I kept going back. Deep down, I just wanted to be able to say I was a stand up comic.”

Trying to find his voice as a comedian took years, he says. Years of writing, re-writing and hitting the stage.

“I think I’ve seen a couple of comics on their first night where I’ve said ‘wow’ but most of us say we suck when we go up for the first time,” he says. “I did.”

He tried yelling, more physical comedy, but now he says, “I’m just myself. I found my own delivery style.”

On stage, Dee has a low key, almost deadpan style. “I’m not a big drinker but I’ve had people say I look drunk – not as much now as earlier, about six or seven years ago when I was on the Last Comic Standing. People would say they thought I was drunk, I kind of had this staggered stance. It was just me not knowing what I was doing. Not being aware.”

In 2012, Dee’s sitcom Mr. D, which he created, writes and stars in, premiered on CBC as one of the highest rated shows for the network in seven years. Based on his experiences as a high school teacher, the show has found a loyal audience. Dee considers himself very lucky to have a hit with season 4 premiering on Jan. 20.

“I was very lucky the network liked the idea and flushed it out into a show. There’s luck involved in anything, but as they say you have to be lucky to be good and good to be lucky – it’s a bit of both. … I’m surrounded by a tremendous crew and a tremendous cast, great writers. There’s more voices in the show and more people to bring the laughter.”

Season 4 includes two new characters. “It’s a great cast, I think this is our best season. It just gets better as we go,” he says.

Mr. D allows him to be on the road less often, his tour to Victoria, Vancouver and Prince George at the end of January has him away from his wife Heather and three kids for just four days.

“Once we started having kids, I try not to be away. Your kids are only young once. … I try to take in as much as I can. I can pick my spots, I’m lucky I’m in a place where I can do that.”

His stand up act still includes shout outs to his fellow teachers and focuses on family life.

“Before I had kids my act was squeaky clean. Now there’s a little more angry moments – but in a friendly way. Life changes with three kids, the way we perceive things changes. Now I just want 10 minutes alone – don’t get me wrong, I love my kids, but (if) you’re a parent, you know.”

Gerry Dee performs at the McPherson Playhouse Jan. 28.

Season 4

of Mr. D

premiers on

CBC TV

Jan. 20

 

Just Posted

WINE NOTES: Discovering valuable Spanish gems

Check out the Spain section of your local wine store, recommends Monday expert Robert Moyes

Victoria’s Oktoberfest brings out the Bavarian in all of us

Stein and Dine at Victoria Public Market celebrates German food, beverages, culture on Oct. 19

Restaurant Review: Authentic Mexican molé hits the spot

Restaurante la Tortilla Mexicana’s hearty, spicy sauce works well over enchiladas, writes Allan Reid

REVIEW: Mullins’ Weaksauce hits the mark, like a good hockey pass

UVic Fine Arts alumni and frequent CBC writer’s biographical storytelling show here through Oct. 19

Two local authors walk away with Victoria Book Prize

Kathy Page and Aidan Cassie each walked away with a literary award

Fashion Fridays: How to pose in photos

Kim XO, helps to keep you looking good on Fashion Fridays on the Black Press Media Network

Sooke Philharmonic Orchestra launches new season

First up: Celebrating the Concerto on Oct. 27

Trudeau to appear on Jessi Cruickshank’s Facebook Watch show ‘New Mom, Who Dis?’

Federal Liberal leader to do sit-down interview with Canadian media personality on Wednesday

‘Joker’ laughs its way to October box office record

Warner Bros. said “Joker” grossed an estimated $93.5 million in ticket sales from 4,374 screens in North America

Ginger Baker, Cream’s volatile drummer, dies at 80

Baker wielded blues power and jazz technique to help break open popular music in the 1960s

‘Interesting mixture of emotions’: Scott Moir reflects on final tour with Tessa Virtue

Multiple Olympic ice dance gold medallists skating through B.C. during the Rock the Rink tour

It’s onward and upward for Victoria gelato artisan

After winning Gelato Festival gold, Stefano Mosi will compete at North American finals in 2020

Most Read