Gerry Dee: The RD Interview
Best known for his work on CBC’s hit sitcom Mr. D, comedian Gerry Dee talks about his stand-up tour, teaching career and being politically correct.
15 Minutes with Gerry Dee
Reader’s Digest: Mr. D is up for a handful of trophies at the Canadian Screen Awards this year. How do you feel about awards?
Gerry Dee: I don’t put a lot of stock in winning or losing. I think winning in this business is staying on television. To me, that’s your biggest award. It’s always an honour to be nominated and it’s even more exciting to win, but these things are tough to win.
You’ve written and directed a number of episodes. How do you approach a new season of television?
Any show that’s in its sixth or seventh season faces the challenge of continuing to come up with new stories. Fortunately we have a great group of writers and directors to really steer the ship in the direction we want to go. We challenge ourselves, and I think every season we’ve done is better than the last.
Sports are important to you and to the show. Who’s an athlete you’d love to meet that you haven’t already?
I’d love to meet Jack Nicklaus because I’m such a big fan of golf. Tom Brady would be fun too, him being at the height of his career and all. Those two athletes stand out for me.
You’re about to go on another stand-up tour. Have you gotten used to travelling?
The travel part is never glamorous—I have three young kids and I miss a lot of their things when I’m travelling. It’s all about getting up on stage. Once you get to town, then you can spend some time in these great places and ultimately get on that stage. That’s the part to look forward to. That’s why I got into stand-up.
When writing jokes, are you worried about being politically correct or inoffensive?
I generally stick to what’s going on in my life—my wife, my three kids, my past teaching career and the school system. But there are times when I struggled with some topics. It’s very easy to get up on stage and say whatever you want, but you have to realize that there are repercussions. There are people in the audience that are dealing with situations. I try to be aware of that, but I can’t censor my comedy to the point where I’m not talking about what I think is funny.
If you were ever forced to go back into teaching, would you be different?
I was pretty strict actually, which a lot of people are surprised by, so I’d probably be less strict. I’d also try to enjoy the little moments a bit more, but I wouldn’t deviate too much. My style was my style, though I’d maybe want to get into the administration side of things, like being a principal or vice-principal. But then again, that’s never going to happen.
Tickets to Gerry Dee’s 2017 stand-up tour are available now.