Gerry, a Top 5 finalist on the NBC television show Last Comic Standing and a Canadian Comedy Award winner, is currently the host of Gerry Dee Sports Reporter on sports television network The Score, while his hit CBC Television series Mr. D, which averaged 800,000 weekly viewers, will begin its second season in January 2013. And as if the above impressive achievements aren’t quite enough, Gerry recently released his first book, Teaching: It’s Harder Than It Looks.
Of course, Gerry’s accomplishments are all due to his undeniable talent and success as a standup comedian. In his pre-comedian life, however, Gerry spent 10 years as a high school physical education teacher at a private school in Southern Ontario.
Gerry says that while there is some crossover between his real-life experiences and those featured on his television show, his book captures some of his funniest anecdotes about teaching, students and parents.
‘I’ve got 10 years of teaching experience behind me. The book really is my take on the teaching profession,’ Gerry told The Times & Transcript last week. ‘I include some stories and some of my favourite memories while looking at the humour associated with the profession itself.’ Gerry says that his experiences as a teacher were eye-opening, to say the least. While the general public can often rush to judgment when it comes to the teaching profession (including the clichés of having storm days and summers off), Gerry believes that every teacher who gets into the profession does so out of genuine desire to help children learn and nothing else.
‘The concept of the book is to show the bird’s-eye view of teachers and the teaching profession as opposed to anything else. We like to see teachers as the people helping us raise our kids, so teachers are often put onto a pedestal. But we have to remember that at the end of the day, teachers are human, too. Most teachers are there to help kids and are there for the betterment of their students as well, volunteering their own time after school and marking papers during the course of their evenings at home.
‘I think children are naturally inclined to largely trust every teacher that they have. To a child, a teacher is the smartest person in that subject and is a good person morally. After you become a teacher, though, you soon find out that teachers are grown-up versions of kids: the good, the bad and everything in between. Kids don’t think of that, though.’
Considering how many irons that he seemingly has in the fire between being a published author, television star and stand up comedian, Gerry says that he continues to perform between 30 and 40 stand-up shows per year. Those shows are in addition to performing at a number of corporate events each year.
Gerry would probably be the first to admit that he is rather fortunate to have achieved a level of success that affords him the opportunity to largely set his own schedule while balancing his career with family.
Thanks to his multi-prong attack across so many diverse media outlets, Gerry says that he is fortunate to see his profile continuing to grow. There are those who became aware of his work thanks to his television show and will be ‘new’ to the live experience, but no matter if you’re new or an experienced Dee fan, his live show offers something for everyone.
‘There is a nice mix of new and old material in the live show. There are a lot of people that don’t know my past, so while everything contained in the show might be new to them, I also want to ensure that there is plenty of material for those who have seen me before.’
Considering how prominently that his experiences as a teacher figures into his present-day life, we took the opportunity to ask Gerry if he misses the teaching profession at all.
‘I miss many parts of teaching, to be honest,’ he says. ‘I miss the coaching and the field trips.
I miss the hanging out with the kids at lunch time. I don’t miss the disciplinary process whatsoever, though.’
Article published in the November 3, 2012 edition of the Times & Transcript