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

 

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

BEHIND BARS: Relaxed and refreshed at The Palms

Sneak peek at Victoria’s freshest new bar

Ocie Elliott: Facing the Music

Victoria duo describes effects of COVID crisis

YOUR AUGUST HOROSCOPE: It’s Leo Season!

Georgia Nicols giving us insight on what lies ahead this summer

30 years later, Sue Medley’s hit ‘Dangerous Times’ more relevant than ever

Vancouver Island singer/songwriter reflects on her ’90s national hit

Psychological thriller filmed on northern Vancouver Island debuts on AppleTV

‘Woodland’ is set in Haida Gwaii, but was filmed around Port McNeill

Sand sculptor creates special eagle head in Qualicum Beach

Kaube fashions work behind Civic Centre

Parksville artist takes home Sooke Fine Arts People’s Choice Award

Francine Street’s winning piece is titled ‘Ken’

Poetry contest started for Vancouver Island poets

“We’re such a unique group,” says founder on why she wanted to start the collective

Nanaimo Fringe Festival productions adapt to new online format

10th annual festival to be live-streamed due to COVID-19

Island pub wants people to ‘drop five’ to keep music alive

Royston’s Charlie Aiken thinks his plan can help artists and venues alike

First Arts Alive sculptures of 2020 now installed

Oak Bay’s annual public art exhibition starts anew

Nanaimo fantasy writer co-authoring Old Norse phrase book

Joshua Gillingham partnering with author and professor on ‘Old Norse for Modern Times’

Most Read