School is in session, Brampton. Well, sort of.
Stand-up comedian Gerry Dee, star of CBC’s Mr. D, will be taking the stage of the Rose Theatre this month, as part of his province-wide tour.
For the Scarborough-born comic, stand-up is as authentic as it gets.
Instead of playing a character as he does on his sitcom, now in its seventh season, the stories he shares on this tour are his own, Dee says in an interview with the Peel Region Review.
“It’s not the same person,” he says. “On stage you get me—the real person. The (television) show is an act. (Mr. D is) very cocky and arrogant. He’s a know-it-all. The stand-up is just me telling stories about my life.”
The result is a performance that is a bit “edgier,” he says, encouraging parents to leave the young kids at home. But he’s sharing things with audience members that may strike a chord.
“I tend to just try to find stuff that’s applicable to me in my life, and hope that it’s something where a lot of people in the crowd are saying, ‘Oh my god, that happens to me.’ Things where they can relate, but are too afraid to admit it,” Dee says. “But I admit it.”
Though Dee has a lot of creative say on what goes into Mr. D, he works with a large team of writers and producers to create the content that flows from script to screen. With his stand-up performances, his content is very much his own.
Unlike on Mr. D, where the real Dee works with a team of writers and producers, the content he shares on stage is very much his own. The jokes and stories fans will hear in Brampton Dec. 13 represent a lot of work off-stage.
Dee says he’ll often get a kernel of what could be a joke or a bit when he’s out in the world, but has to hunker down to turn it into anything.
“It starts as a premise, and then you have to sit down and think of how you word it,” he says. “Maybe there’s exaggeration to get the joke. Rarely do you get something walking around where—bang—it’s ready to go. You might write down an idea from the store where something happened with the clerk, and you think it’s funny, so you’ll…try to flesh it out.”
When asked whether that process ever reveals that maybe something wasn’t that funny after all, he says, “most of the time” it isn’t.
But, he adds, the writing process has become a lot more streamlined the longer he does stand-up comedy.
“It’s easier because you learn to filter quickly—you know what’s better faster,” he says. “Though it’s harder because you’re adding more material to your act. Sometimes I’ve already done that kind of premise or I’ve already touched upon that topic.”
Downtime between writing and filming episodes of Mr. D allows Dee to take time to work on his personal material, in which he tries to maintain a balance of older, tried-and-true material with new, fresh content.
This works for long-time fans, but also those who aren’t even aware he does stand-up, but know him from television, Dee says.
With success on stage and on-screen, Dee wants to keep himself in both worlds—calling it the “dream scenario”—but he is also looking for what may be his next accomplishment. One goal is to expand into more film work.
“What’s next?” he asks, rhetorically. “That’s the big question.”
If you go…
Gerry Dee Stand-up Tour
Friday December 15, 2017. 7:30pm
Rose Theatre – Brampton
Tickets available at http://gerrydee.com