Gerry Dee is a funny man. But only at work. Read on to hear more from the contestant of Last Comic Standing and now well-known “Sports Reporter” to see why.
Eggplante: I want to jump right into the obvious stuff. I rewatched your segments on The Hour [check them out here] at to get prepared, and I remember watching them with my mom two months ago and just pissing ourselves laughing. It’s the tenth time I’ve seen them now and I’m still laughing; where do you get this innate sense of humour that seems so improvised yet is so controlled underneath?
Gerry Dee: Well, it is improvised, we don’t script anything, and I think that’s probably why I’m in this business is because people always ask me “how did you get into stand-up?” and I really don’t have an answer, I’ve just always felt that this is what my life was. This is what I’ve done since I was a kid. I’ve always had an ability to pick up on things quick. I’ve always had an ability to roast people, or if someone said something, I’ve always had an ability to come back quicker and harder. I think it’s just watching a lot of TV; my acting style is ‘smaller is better’. I always studied the John Candys and the John Ritters and I don’t know why, but it seems very natural. And some work, some don’t. You get one take; that’s the risk you run when it’s unscripted. I get one chance; I can’t ask them to restart it. I just think the more strange I make the character, the funnier it will be. We see so many clips of reporters snapping at their producers and not realizing they were still on air. Well I do it and I know I’m on air, so it’s a funny twist. I got bored of reporters asking the same questions so that’s the character I came up with and I’m surprised at the response I’ve gotten.
E: Well you certainly deserve it! Your character is unique; you don’t smile, you seem serious, almost ignorant or dumb in the situation, but behind the scenes you’re doing this with a sort of scientific precision. Is comedy an art or a science?
GD: I don’t know really know what art is. I know what science is. I won’t say both, but I might say neither. As you said, comedy is an innate ability, and there are a lot of people that become comics and people pay $17 to see them at a local comedy club, and they’re horrible. These are people that probably had the same vision I had, and thought they were funny, and they’re not. To me, I was very forced into comedy. I almost felt like comedy pulled me in to the world, whereas some people force themselves into it. I think it’s the innate quality that you either have or you don’t. Now there are University courses that are designed to study comedy, and those are great for people who are naturally funny, not so great for people who think “I’m going to take this course and be the next Jim Carrey.” I guess, comedy may be less science and more math, in terms of there is an equation. There is a formula that you have to rearrange. A lot of flipping words, lots of timing. A lot of simple things that you either have or you don’t: is your voice annoying, do you have an annoying verbal filler, do you say the same word constantly? There are so many components to it, I just don’t know if it’s that simple to be one or the other.
E: Well that’s all I want to ask about the typical stuff. At Eggplante, I try do something a little different and ask you the weird stuff, so let’s get into that. Would you ever do a reality show like Survivor?
GD: I would do a reality show; it may not be Survivor because I’m so A.D.D. that I don’t know if I’d have enough to do anything in a show like that. And now, it may sound stupid, but the prize money wouldn’t really be worth the effort. Now, a million dollars doesn’t seem as much. I think I could make a million dollars down the road, so why am I going to go through all that? The money is different and that doesn’t draw me to it. The thing about Last Comic Standing is that it got me to this stage of making money. At the time, that was huge for me to do it. But if you said to me now to do a new comedy reality show, I’d be like “no.” The reality shows don’t interest me to do because it means more time away from my family, I realize how time intensive and stressful they are because I was on one, and financially, that money doesn’t jump out at me as much as it did three or four years ago.
E: This is the one that always gets people: Nutella or Peanut Butter?
GD: Neither! I haven’t had Nutella in a long time. My wife is from Glace Bay, in Nova Scotia, and she was exposed to Nutella for the first time, and she was like “Oh my God, have you heard of this Nutella?” If you had asked me ‘mustard or mayonnaise’, I would puke on site of both of those. But for me, neither really.
The rest of the interview and Eggplante’s classic QUICK FIRE is after the break. Hop down to see more!
E: Do you find that people around you try to be extra funny around you in hopes that, if you laugh, they think “Well if a comedian thinks I’m funny, then I must be really funny”?
GD: You know, if I’m in a celebrity golf tournament or a charity event, a lot of people come by and say “he doesn’t seem that funny” because in my world, that’s my job, and I don’t really like people who are constantly ‘on’. You can always tell the comics, in my belief, that aren’t doing that well, because they’re always on when they’re off stage. And it’s like an insecurity where they say “You know, I may not be doing that well on stage, but I’m gonna KILL at this bus stop!” Unless you live in the world of standup, what people don’t understand is that there are lots of comics in Canada and around the world that could go into a comedy club any day of the week and just do really well. And from our standards as comics, they’re horrible. And the reason is that they’re just doing the same hacky been-done-before stuff. The accents. The racial jokes. The airplane jokes. The fart jokes. And then you get better at it and you realize that you need to try to be more original. People are trying to be funny for me is like me trying to tell Steve Thomas that I’m a good hockey player? I mean, even if I might be a pretty good hockey player, what’s the point of trying to tell him “You know, I was pretty good!” Or sometimes they think that I’m going to say “Hey, you’re funny, why don’t you come on tour with me?” And maybe when I was younger, I would’ve thought, if I met Robin Williams “Okay, be funny now, because maybe he’ll bring me on tour.” It just doesn’t work that way.
E: So let’s do a bit of a quick fire here; I’m going to say one thing, and I just want to know the first thing that pops into your head.
Pornography: “A means to an end.”
Laundry detergent: “A necessity.”
Wal-Mart: “Both of those first things. Actually, I used to dis Wal-Mart, and now I go to it. If you have kids, it’s a haven for kids. Everything you need is right there. Stuff to look after them. Stuff to appease them. Stuff to let them play. Everything is there.”
Kim Kardashian: “An example of the ‘I-just-don’t-get-it-list’.”
Britney Spears: “Similar to [Kim], but at least Britney has some talent. I think, for Britney, it’s just too much, too soon in her life and no one to guide her. No humility within her structure or family or friends to really guide her along the right path.”
George Stroumboulopoulos: “Aww I love George! George to me is ‘don’t judge a book by its cover’. You look at this guy and think ‘what is this guy, a rocker? In a band?’ He’s one of the smartest guys in the country, he’s an excellent speaker, his interviews are phenomenal, he’s a great guy, and he’s a very smart business guy.”
E: Gerry Dee, I really appreciate your time; we will see you this Friday!
GD: Thanks, pal!
Gerry Dee will be performing at The Panasonic Theatre Friday, October 9th. Tickets are $39.50 and can be found at www.mirvish.com.