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Gerry Dee: Canada’s Family Man

Gerry Dee: Canada’s Family Man

The last time I talked to Gerry Dee was 10 years ago. He was making an appearance at the Centre for the Arts at Brock University while I was working for The Brock Press. At the time, Dee was seven years into his career as a comedian, and was working at The Score. He touted himself as the “greatest sports reporter on TV”.

From the article:

Dee, widely known for his 2007 stint on the TV show Last Comic Standing, may also be recognized for his work with The Score, where he has interviewed everyone from Charles Barkley to the Blue Jays’ bat-boy. His interviews combine his stand-up delivery with his goofy persona, and the pieces end up being awkwardly hilarious.
“That’s what it is, being goofy on TV. It’s fun. I’m a big sports fanatic and I get to meet all these great athletes that I watch every week,” said Dee. “It’s a really cool position to be in – to be able to do the two things that I do and love to do.”

This was still two years removed from Dee’s successful debut as Mr. D on CBC, which held an impressive eight season run. This was almost a decade before Dee was announced as Canada’s host for Family Feud.

“Time flies,” said Dee. “I guess I’m ten years older now. Everything has been an amazing time. Working at The Score was awesome, Mr. D was awesome. They are all great memories for me, and I’m having a great time working on Family Feud and I never know what’s next. It’s exciting and nerve wracking but I’m happy to keep plodding along and stay in the game.”

When you think back to Mr. D, what you hold dear to yourself and your memories?

“Well, the goal when I started standup was to maybe one day get a sitcom. To think that it happened, I’m pretty proud of that. I’m pretty proud of our cast and crew and everybody that made that show work. It will live on forever and that’s a really special thing,” he said. “That’s not something you think about when you’re doing it, but when it’s over, it’s a pretty special thing to have had the opportunity from CBC to have executed it the way we did.”

The show, which aired from 2012-18, loosely followed Dee’s past career as a high-school phys-ed teacher. After the show’s finale, Dee found himself wondering what was next, when a fateful phone call answered this for him.

I watched the clip from last night, the ‘Chicken incident’ – what has the experience been like hosting Family Feud? How did you get that gig?

“That was just a phone call – they called me. I didn’t even know that was in the works. I was completely done with Mr. D and I was siting at home wondering what was next and then I got that nice call, offering me that role. So, I jumped at it, and it really is a lot of fun. The families are what makes it fun. You look at that clip, that poor girl didn’t grow up with Popeye in her life. There are generational things and we were lucky she was a great sport. Now we get to enjoy the laughs that it provided everybody.”

How does the show work? Do you film daily?

“We are running until February – it’s either 50 or 60 episodes, I always forget. But we do four a day. We started at two a day until we got our rhythm and now we’re up to four a day which is where we’ll stay. We do it twice a week and we’e got a lot of episodes still to come.”

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Sounds busy. Are you excited to get on the road this month for a little change of pace in your day-to-day?

“It’s busy, but it’s only two days a week. It’s a lot of fun and look forward to it every day, but I’m also excited to get on the road and start this tour off in St. Catharines with two shows. I think all the shows are doing well and I’m always excited to get back to my roots in standup, where it all started.

Speaking of roots, 10 years ago when we talked, one of our conversation pieces was about being Canadian and how the desire to stray from roots here never developed. Do you feel the same way now?

“I obviously love the allure of the American TV / Film Industry, but I’m quite happy here. I have three kids and we love it here. It’s my favourite place. Unless something comes a knocking, I have no plans to be anywhere but here. I’m not going to turn down opportunities in the States – I just shot something for Fox called The Moodys that aired over Christmas – but I’m a proud Canadian. I’m not going to push the envelope to go work in the States. If it comes to me, maybe I’ll take a look at it. Other than that, life is good and I’m quite happy to be working on things here in Canada.”

Gerry Dee: Alone on a Stage performs two shows at the FirstOntario Performing Arts Centre on Friday, January 17. Ticket information can be found here.

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