Mr. D is headed into its fifth season on CBC, and series creator and star Gerry Dee isn’t messing with success. He’s sticking with the formula that keeps viewers coming back every week: keeping it real.
“I always try to bring authenticity to the show,” Dee told Sirius XM radio hosts Humble & Fred during an appearance Monday morning. That authenticity continues in Season 5, when Dee’s small-screen alter ego, Gerry Duncan, experiences a student teacher with stage fright, educational assistants, a mother who can’t believe that her son is capable of pushing other students around and an odd item brought for Show & Tell.
“A friend of mine had this Grade 1 class and a kid brought in a vibrator for Show & Tell and thought it was a rocket ship,” Dee recalls. “So we shot the episode where a kid comes in and says he has a rocket ship and that it buzzes when you turn it on. I try to grab it and it falls and breaks. He’s trying to zoom it at my face and everything. Those are the stories we get from teachers sometimes.” Dee taught in a private school for 10 years before committing to stand-up comedy full-time. Now, a decade removed from the classroom, he brings teachers into the writers’ room to mine details for possible storylines alongside what he and his writing staff come up with.
“Things have changed. In Season 4 we did an episode called ‘Lockdown,’ which is something that’s, sadly, common now in schools but I’d never heard of,” he says.
With Season 5 of Mr. D set to return on CBC in the winter and Season 4 re-airing on City in November, Dee’s plate is pretty full. Aside from his homegrown sitcom, Dee is writing for other projects—like My Scottish Family for CBC—and is constantly touring, with dates in Toronto, Ajax and Mississauga, Ont., lined up in September and October. Those dates, he reveals to Humble & Fred, are in preparation for his next big stand-up goal.
“I want to do the Air Canada Centre within two years,” he says. “I sat down with my tour manager and looked at the ticket sales and it’s all adding up to 10,000 tickets. It may be a big mistake and I’d have to stay on television within the next two years. I’m planning to do that and tape it as my next special.”
Listen to the rest of Dee’s interview with Humble & Fred (his chat is during the last 20 minutes).
Season 5 of Mr. D returns in the winter on CBC.
Season 4 of Mr. D airs in a second window on City starting in November.