Before Gerry Dee became one of the country’s hottest comedians, he was a teacher. So when I sit down with him, my first question is about schools. Private or public?
“This is my theory: there’s great kids at public schools and there’s great kids at private. There’s bad kid at public school and there’s bad kids at private. At public school, there might be theft, but at a private school, you have cocaine and dealing with issues like the rich father who flies a lot and isn’t there.”
Actually, I meant from an educational standpoint.
“I think what happens in the private school is that the kids are more focused, because their parents are more affluent and on a wider scale, they’ve probably done well to afford $20,000 a year, so I think that trickles down to the kids.
But are there smart kids at both? Yes. Are you going to get doctors from public? You’re going to get it all. But in a general sense, I think there’s less distractions for the teachers, so you don’t have the kid that’s been suspended 14 times in the class so you can’t get through the lesson. So you can focus more at the private school.
He takes a moment before adding “I never got cursed at once when I taught at the private school. I got cursed at a lot in public schools.”
I guess we know where his 2 and 4 year old daughters will eventually be going. For now, they’re gearing up for the premier of his new series, Mr. D, in which he, not surprisingly, plays a teacher.
So how does balancing such young children work with having your own series?
“I just had this conversation with my manager in LA. I said look, family will always come first, I don’t want to go to LA. I don’t care. I’m happy with my life here. I’m happy with my quality of life.”
The lynchpin? Mrs. D.
“My wife’s very supportive. We film the show in Halifax, and my wife’s from Cape Breton, so it was nice to go out east. But it’s tough: I’m in almost every scene so I’m there 12, 13 hours a day and then when I’m not on, I’m producing, so it was tough for her. But I try to look after her and treat her to nice things to make her realise that she’s a great mom and a great wife and without her I wouldn’t have what I have.
“She gave up her career as a teacher for me to pursue this, so I’ve tried to set up my family, that’s what this is all about: take the heat while I can and ride the wave while I can. In entertainment things can change overnight. You never know what’s happening tomorrow.”