Comedian and TV personality Gerry Dee is hitting the road for a cross-country tour, including a Red Deer stop April 25th at the Memorial Centre.
For tickets, check out www.blackknightinn.ca.
Fresh off of filming season seven of CBC’s hit sitcom, Mr. D, Dee is taking his trademark humour about marriage, fatherhood and his years as a teacher to 20 cities.
Though most familiar as the star, creator, and one of the principle writers for Mr. D, it is in stand-up comedy where Dee first hit his mark.
Even in his youth and through his school days, he never felt uncomfortable about getting up in front of the class to do a presentation.
Public speaking came quite naturally, and you mix that with a flourishing natural ability of getting laughs – it was becoming more obvious that Dee could very well have a bright future in the entertainment world.
“I think people assume that I was winning comedy talent shows and standing in front of the class making everyone laugh, and I don’t think that was the case,” he explained during a recent interview.
He does, however, come from a family that liked to laugh. “My dad is very funny, my mom had a great sense of humour and was funny. My brother and sister are funny.
“Our background is Scottish, and you are never allowed to get too far ahead of yourself,” he added. “So you get very quick-witted. So I think I was more quick-witted. I was also a small kid – but very confident – so I would often stick up for myself with wit. I also think I was a good speaker – I remember when I was teaching and so many kids were afraid to do presentations. I didn’t get that – I always loved presentations – I loved the centre of attention!
“When I did something, I also liked it when people would laugh at it,” he recalled. “So I think that’s what drew me to this.”
But first things first. Initially, it was off to earn a degree and become a teacher, which he was fine with and it was also something his folks strongly encouraged.
Dee ultimately was a private school teacher for nine years before giving it up for comedy.
“It took me awhile before I would admit that I was funny,” he explained.
“My dad told me once that to say you are funny is vain, and I said, oh, okay. Then I realized it was just a personality trait – it wasn’t anything about vanity. I was able to (finally) say that I had been given the ability to make people laugh. So I wanted to explore that and use it.”
He ventured out into stand-up a bit later on – at around the age of 30. It was indeed worth the wait – the growing recognition he landed wasn’t long in coming.
For starters, he became the first Canadian in 27 years to win the prestigious San Francisco International Comedy Competition, and was a finalist on NBC’s Last Comic Standing, the highest finish by a Canadian in the history of the show.
As to his hit TV show, it’s based on Dee’s real-life experiences as a high school teacher.
Episodes follow the misadventures of schoolteacher Gerry Duncan, nicknamed Mr. D, as he struggles to keep one step ahead of his students at the prestigious private school, Xavier Academy.
Debuting in early 2012 to 1.23 million viewers, the program was the highest-rated scripted show premiere for the network in seven years.
It has certainly resonated with its loyal audience.
“We all had teachers – and I think that’s what makes it relatable. And it’s told from the perspective of the teacher, so it’s very authentic. I know what happens with teaching, so that’s a benefit of me being on the show and being around the show.”
For Dee, he’s just at home on set as he is onstage.
“When we film, there are like 100 people watching and I don’t even see it at all – I just see that actor I’m with. I don’t notice cameras,” he added with a laugh. “We’ve had actors come in who aren’t used to TV who are like, ‘This is weird – there’s a camera there, and another there’.
“For me, I get more in the moment when there is a camera. I think it’s just innate.”
For tickets to his Red Deer show, check out www.blackknightinn.ca.