Mark Little has got a lot on his comedy plate. The veteran comedian and actor figures he’s got at least a dozen projects in various stages of development at the moment. He’s just flown into Toronto after a week in Atlanta where he was performing improv with friends. Prior to that, he spent Christmas with family and managed to unwind for a whole five says until the wheels started to turn and he started writing again.
Mr. D, returning for Season 5 on CBC this Tuesday at 9:30 p.m., represents one project where Little doesn’t have to write—series creator Gerry Dee and his writing room take care of that—but his character, Simon Hunt, does require work.
“Every summer I arrive in Halifax to film Mr. D and I have to go through the process,” Little says. “How does this guy talk again, how does he feel about things? I also watch old episodes. Doing that to figure out who you are is a weird experience.” Definitely helping Little immerse himself in the role of Xavier Academy’s socially awkward science teacher (with a borderline creepy relationship with his mother) is Simon’s wardrobe; as soon as he buttons that plaid shirt up to the top, dons the cargo pants and ties up the desert boots, he’s become the TV character. Good thing too, because the Picnicface performer called on all his acting skills in Episode 2, where he did artistic battle with Wes Williams. Simon signs up for guitar lessons with Williams’ Paul Dwyer and things get destructive.
“Wes really dives into his character,” Little says with a laugh. “He really works to figure out his motivation and that keeps me on my toes. His method takes him to a pretty intense place and it really brings out natural reactions from me.”
As for what else is to come for Simon story-wise, Little reveals Xavier’s resident science teacher enjoys a workplace flirtation.
“His love life has been hinted at in previous seasons, but I get more going this year,” he says. About time.
Mr. D airs Tuesdays at 9:30 p.m. on CBC.