UWindsor Lance: Life on the Dee List

UWindsor Lance
Issue 13, Volume 85
Sept. 26, 2012
Jon Liedtke

Gerry Dee might play a teacher on the hit CBC show Mr. D, but in real life Dee has left the class clowns behind and taken to the comedy circuit himself.

Mr. D is about a supply teacher who makes the big time’ and is hired on fulltime teaching subjects that he’s not very well versed in. It parallels the experiences Gerry Dee had during his stint as a teacher at his alma mater in Toronto.

Dee didn’t enter the comedy world until he was 30, and while he spent his childhood watching comedies and making people laugh, it took the advice from peers for him to get into the industry.

“Coming into it was really difficult,” explained Dee, “My first night was horrible probably the first I0 nights were horrible. You might get a little laugh here and there, but I’m still learning. I’m doing 13 years now, and it’s always a learning game. But when you’re starting, when you think you’re good, you’re probably still terrible.”

Dee finds comedic inspiration in John Candy, Michael J. Fox and John Ritter, but says he never followed standup comedy.

“I didn’t even know anything about standup…I knew Eddie Murphy, that’s all I knew. [Most comics] when they get into comedy, they study every comic — Bill Hicks, Lenny Bruce, George Carlin— I didn’t know who those guys were when I started, George Carlin was an actor to me.”

Securing a comedy tour is no small feat, and Dee explained that after placing third on the fifth season of NBC’s reality show Last Comic Standing he started to garner
some notoriety. Dee appreciates the art of taking baby steps.

“If I was to try to book the same venue as Russell Peters, I’d be very humbled, very quickly. So it’s all relative, and you just try to find the right venue.”

Drawing material from his life, and his friends and family, Dee incorporates observational humour into his television show and comedy routines.

“For the most part, it’s based off of reality with some exaggerations,” said Dee. “At the end of season three or four, I’ll know if we created something really different. But right now, we’ve created something that is a pretty good show, and we’re trying to build on that.”

Dee said that season two will be funnier as the cast has become more comfortable in their roles and characters.

“I think the writing got better…I think it’s a better season. Now people are familiar with the characters, and the characters are a little more familiar in their own skin, so everybody really stepped up their game,” said Dee. “I didn’t want to hire actors and try to make them funny; I wanted to hire funny people and get them acting, and they’re all capable to do that. I think that’s why the show works.”

While some of the gags on the show are real life experiences that Dee had as a
teacher, there are some things that are completely fictional.

“A lot of it is based on some type of fact which we then exaggerate and sometimes, we don’t have to exaggerate it and the scene is shot exactly as I lived it.”

For Dee, the best part about the television show is listening to the response from people about it.

“I really don’t get to enjoy it until it airs. Once it starts airing, I can sit back and I can hear if people are liking it or not It’s feedback either way.”

When asked to provide advice for teachers, Dee joking responded, “I’m certainly not the guy to be giving advice, but I remember the best advice that I got: ‘Try
not to let every little thing bother you.’ I really tried to live by that. You’ll just
drive yourself nuts.”

Gerry Dee will be discussing his personal experiences as a former physical education teacher in his Life After Teaching comedy tour. The show makes its way to the Chrysler Theatre in the St. Clair College Centre for the Arts this Thursday, Sept. 27. Mr. D airs on CBC Monday’s at 8 p.m.

UWindsor Lance
Life on the Dee List
Issue 13, Volume 85
Sept. 26, 2012
Jon Liedtke
Page 9

Jon Liedtke was the Features and Opinions Editor, Advertising Manager and Deficit Consultant at the UWindsor Lance.


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