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Gerry Dee Kelowna Stand-Up Wrap-Up

January 24, 2012 1 comment

Just a quick one….. 

Got a chance to see Gerry Dee’s stand-up set in Kelowna on Sunday night…. great show by Mr.D — hilarious as expected. If you live in Kelowna, did you go to the show? If so, what did you think? Leave a comment below.

I got to meet Gerry after the show, and he even remembered our interview from a few weeks prior, which was cool. I got him to sign the Kelowna Daily Courier article that I wrote to promo the event, and even got a pic. Great guy, great show. Great interaction with fans too. If you missed him this time, don’t next time! Watch Mr.D Monday nights on CBC in the mean time. He’s a good follow on Twitter too. @gerrydee @mrd_on_cbc 

Below is the article.

-Dave

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Originally published in the Kelowna Daily Courier, Saturday January 21st, 2012

They say laughter is the best medicine. With a new show on the air, a nationwide stand-up comedy tour in progress, and a new book soon to hit store shelves, Gerry Dee might be the cure for anyone’s seasonal ailments.

Gerry’s “Life After Teaching” tour makes a stop at the Kelowna Community Theatre on January 22nd. I was able to catch his last performance in town, and let me tell you from experience, the guy is hilarious and worth the price of admission.

“It’ll be my third time in Kelowna,” recollected Dee. “I always look forward to it – such a beautiful city. I only get to stay for a day, but I think it’s gorgeous there.”

Dee’s family friendly material will be refreshing to experience for anyone who’s been turned off from live stand-up comedy by overly explicit and crass comedians in the past.

“I’ve got a lot of new material since last time I was in town,” Dee said. “There’s a lot of stuff about being a parent and a husband. Sometimes I don’t even know what I’m going to say. Sometimes I talk to the crowd a bit, sometimes I mix it up – there’ll be a little bit of everything.”

Interestingly, Gerry was born Gerard Donoghue, but later changed his name to Gerry Dee to conceal his identity while performing stand-up.

“When I really started standup, I just didn’t want anyone to know,” admitted Dee. “I wanted to be quiet about it because I was teaching still. It was easier to say and spell. I thought it was good to separate myself so people I knew didn’t know I was doing it when I started.”

Dee was a school teacher in Ontario when we decided to wanted to take a shot at pursuing his passion for comedy. Gerry gained some traction in the field – appearances at comedy festivals eventually turned into TV and movie parts. Now being viewed all over the world, remaining anonymous has become a whole lot tougher for him.

“Stand-up comedy started to take off for me,” said Dee. “If I really wanted to give it a chance, and pursue the whole spectrum of comedy, I needed to get away from teaching to try it. It was something I always felt like I wanted to try. I didn’t just quit teaching, I did both for a while, and then I took a chance when I started to make a little money at it. It definitely worked out.”

Gerry’s new show, “Mr.D”, airs Monday nights on CBC, and drew 1.23 million viewers of its debut episode. The show draws influence from Dee’s days as an educator in Ontario. Fans of his stand-up may recognize some of his comedy bits integrated into the script as well. The show’s third episode of twelve will air the night after Gerry’s Kelowna performance.

“We’re pleased with it,” Dee remarked. “We’ve had some great results as far as numbers from the first night, so we hope that continues. It’s loosely based on my life as a teacher. Some of it is exaggerated truth, some of it’s exactly how it was, some of it we just made up. It goes back and forth through the series.”

Gerry Dee fans may also recognize him from his regular gig as “Gerry Dee: Sports Reporter” on The Score sports network. Dee conducts humorous interviews with pro athletes, and usually forgets their names, spews bogus stats, or requires five or six takes to make the discussion air-worthy.

“It’s done on purpose,” Dee conceded. “Just having fun and playing with them; and throwing something at them they might not expect. It’s always been pretty positive with the guys. Most want to do it. My favorite interview was with Charles Barkley. My least favorite was John Daly, who wouldn’t even do the interview. I don’t know why he wouldn’t, you’d have to ask him. Sometimes they get a lot of requests, and people aren’t always respectful and bombard them sometimes.”

Dee has interviewed some of the biggest names in sports, such as Peyton Manning, Michael Jordan, and Wayne Gretzky. He even got “The Great One” to remember his name.

“Well, I just interviewed him ten minutes earlier, so that’s the only reason he knew who I was,” Dee acknowledged. “He’s a good guy and a legend. He was one of my heroes growing up, so it was cool to interview him.”

With plenty of 2012 remaining, expect to see much more from Gerry Dee this year. Follow him on Twitter @gerrydee and check out his official website www.gerrydee.com to keep afloat!

Listen to this interview in its entirety online at http://davecunning.wordpress.com

A Comic’s Life: The Hustle and the Heckle.

October 24, 2009 7 comments

Over the last few summers, my buddy Justin Bourne and I (www.jtbourne.com) took a liking to our budding local stand-up comedy scene that a local pub in Kelowna had initiated.  What started as a night of amateur-hour at best, slowly migrated into a stop on the Yuk Yuk’s tour, a stage with its own faux-brick wall, and appearances by some top notch talent that has appeared on various TV shows.  After nearly memorizing Jerry Seinfeld’s “I’m Telling You For The Last Time,” and various other comics’ material, we had basically proclaimed ourselves connoisseurs of stand-up comedy; knowing what’s good, and what’s worth changing the channel in hopes of better entertainment.    

It’s always been so hit and miss; between the opening act and the “headliner” (in a few instances, the opener should have been the headliner), you never really know what you’ll get Forrest Gump’ed at you.  One night, both acts could be comedic gold, the next night one might leave the unnecessary sexual material in overdrive (male and female performers alike), and the next would have to clean up the mess, and some nights, both just stink.  It’s incredible how often a comedian will sense that his clean material isn’t working, and will auto-pilot into his dirty stuff as a failsafe, because it’s the lowest common denominator will get some sort of reaction.    

Despite all the variables however, there is always one constant that can always be counted on.  Every single time you show up at a stand-up comedy act, there will always, without fail, be that guy…that one guy—drunk enough that he’s been cut-off by the wait-staff–that insists on heckling, shouting incoherent and irreverent comments that inspire a chorus of “SHUT UP!!” ‘s from everyone trying to enjoy the show.  It’s incredible to try and understand what’s going through the mind of a person whose brain is telling them the smartest and funniest thing they could do at that moment is to shout the name of the comedian loudly, or offer a few inappropriate and off-topic words (not full sentences or coherent thoughts, just a few assorted words) at that moment in time.  Sometimes you’ll even hear an attempt at a joke similar to one that the comedian has already told that night; only this version does not get over in the least, and the amateur funny-man gets lit up like a Christmas tree by the one that’s actually being paid to tell jokes. 

The comedian’s ability to deal with the hecklers is nothing short of amazing.  I can’t recall seeing a comedian crumble under the onslaught of idiotics.  It’s always deflected rather impressively; and the heckler quickly becomes the heckled (only this time, the comedian has the whole audience on his or her side).  Think you could do this at your job, when a customer complains about your service?

There also always ends up being one audience member that ends up as indirect target of offence.  To avoid this, never, EVER, under any circumstances, should you ever put up your hand or offer a response to a question that a comedian is looking for one person to answer.  Trust me on this one, it is only a gateway to your own embarrassment.  As tempting as it might be to inform the talent about anything regarding yourself, keep in mind, it’s all being stored as ammunition against you.  You’ve been warned.  Further, never sit in the front row either; keep a comfortable viewing distance.  It’s for your own good. 

I’ve come to respect the comedian greatly.  If you haven’t, consider some of the factors with me.  According to

my friend, Jeff Dye, doin' it big.

my friend, Jeff Dye, doin' it big.

 Seinfeld (I’m sure there’s some actual research for this), most people are more afraid of speaking in public than of death; meaning they’d rather be dead in a casket than giving a eulogy at a funeral.  I know everyone thinks they can tell a few good jokes here and there, but to lace together a solid set of material that any generic audience will respond to positively, and have it last around an hour is pretty daunting when you think about it.  I’m sure most comedians could tell you more than one story of nights they thought that they had been booked at a cricket convention.  The time, effort, successes and failures accumulated and required over the years would likely break most people. 

You’ll never hear an up-and-coming comedian brag about how much money they’re making either.  They’re out there, night after night, small-town after small-town, telling their jokes about the last city they were in that the current city hates, peddling their merchandise… I respect the hustle.  They’re (usually) doing it because they love to perform.  Getting the kind of passion in a performance that is driven from “love of the game” is worth the $10 cover and my applause any night.

Death by Skittles, and The Balloon Boy Bungle Blunder.

October 16, 2009 5 comments

 

The plot sure thickened quickly on this “Balloon Boy” story.  To quote from Anchorman, 

“Boy, that escalated quickly. I mean that really got out of hand fast!”
“It jumped up a notch.”
“It did, didn’t it?”

If you’re not up to speed on the tale, I’ll sum it up for you (I don’t think I have ALL the details, but I believe I’ve got enough to piece it together).  Richard Heene, a pseudo-scientist/inventor of sorts and veteran TV star (Wife Swap, and others) from Colorado, decided to build a flying saucer in his backyard.  Albeit a helium craft, Heene may have been using the craft as an attempt to prove his claims of life on Mars, inventing a flying car, or a storm chaser device, depending on what repor you read.  The silver saucer was completed, and then launched from the yard on October 15, 2009, under suspicious circumstances:

Just prior to launch, one of the boys try to get their dad’s attention (tattled), and within seconds of the launch, the parents are screaming in terror.  They did make sure the camera was rolling though.

There’s a 911 call to report that one of their sons is in this “runaway” balloon (it was very purposefully launched).  Shortly after, this story is international news, airports are shutdown, search and rescue teams are dispatched, and “balloon boy” is an internet buzzword as everyone follows the story and fears for the safety of the young passenger.  The balloon eventually lands naturally, 2 counties away from its launch site, without an occupant. Killing speculation that the boy had fallen out, he is found hiding in his attic, scared because his dad had yelled at him, speculatively because he had been tampering with the balloon.

Within the day, Larry King, Wolf Blitzer, and all the major TV networks equipped with lie detection experts get a crack at interviewing the family.  Dad adamantly denied any reports of a hoax or publicity stunt, while his son, perhaps appropriately named “Falcon”, muttered something about it all being a show, and then vomited before he could say much more on film.   

If you didn’t read any background on this story, your first thoughts may have been of the kid saying to himself, “my parents are going to kill me,” or that he was going to be “grounded forever”, and that those seemed to be gross understatements.  But the mad scientist/reality-tv/publicity-stunt rabbit trail just seems to prevalent to ignore, doesn’t it?  I hope beyond anything that this was not a pre-meditated event, but doesn’t it seem just a little too fishy?  I feel like a topper of a Kanye West incident is looming…  

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In lighter news, this is the funniest commercial on TV right now:

I think I’ve made my point.

  

Stuff that Sucks: Pictures Worth 500 Words.

September 28, 2009 6 comments

Are we still at the point, as people, that we must continue to put disclaimers like this on things?  Are there really091920091307 people who continue to put carnival tokens in parking meters, even though the tokens themselves usually cost a quarter a piece to purchase them from the amusement park?  Are folks travelling to countries where their home country’s currency is more valuable than the visited country, collecting the coins, bringing them back, and attempting to save a few pennies by depositing the coins in the meter that most closely resemble their domestic coins?  Is someone tying a string to a coin, dropping it in for the credit, and then pulling it out again (technically, this wouldn’t be a violation of the warning, as long as a valid coin was used)?  100 Scandia tokens say that all of the above are indeed continuing to take place, somewhere.

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No manufacturer, retailer, distributor, sales office, middle-man, factory outlet, or online store continues to sell products that end up as garbage than the company known as Nexxtech.  Primarily an electronics brand, their junk is sold out of The Source by Circuit City (the former RadioShack), usually in locales of convenience like a mall thatnexxtech feature no other electronic outlets for you to “shop around” for competing products and prices.  I’ve been burned on enough products now to know that the amount you do save on their abnormally low product prices just does not justify the means that becomes seeing your purchase break down and decide to no longer operate juuuuust as the warranty expires.  Your broken hunk of crap usually ends up trash down at the bottom of the can by the receipt you forgot to keep anyways.

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I found this advertisement in a recent edition of Popular Mechanics.  I promise you, I have not altered it in any way.092220091441

So the guys are sitting around board room at FNH Firearms, trying to come up with their latest advertising campaign.  They eventually decide that the demographic they want to capture the attention of is the mobster/shady back-room deal crowd that features people hiding guns in their desk drawer, and/or the freshly inked suicide note at the desk and about to end it all people.  I guess, besides rappers, criminals and people killing themselves, who else is carrying handguns?  And which of these aforementioned parties are actually purchasing these guns legally?

This motion is APPROVED by company.  They then PAY MONEY to see it ran in print.  Magazines such as Popular Mechanics (I only saw it in their magazine, so far) that have been successful for many years, and can probably pass on a few advertising campaigns and still make money, also make the conscious decision that this is the ad they want featured in their magazine.

Really, guys???

Out With The New, On With The Old: The Senior Citizen Strata Squabble.

September 13, 2009 6 comments

What is it about the human aging process that makes regular people turngrandpa-simpson-shakes-fist-at-cloud into “Old People”? Not just people who are ahead of you in numerical age; I’m talking about the porch chair rocking, cane waving, youth denouncing, old bags that hate everything that isn’t familiar.  It’s not all of them (my grandparents have a cell phone, can email, and are some of the nicest folks you’ll ever meet), but it is a startling and unfortunate majority.  Is it the progress? Is everything just moving too fast nowadays? Is everything just too loud?  Why do we always have to speak up around you then?  Are rock n’ roll, and backwards hats really signs of the apocalypse?

I’ve had some experience living amongst old people.  Shortly after graduating from high school, I lived with my friend Jeff (http://jeff-bourne.webs.com/) in a “Retirement Castle,” as I liked to call it.  Jeff has Spina Bfida, a condition that confines him to a wheelchair.  The facility was the best option for his accessibility.  It required enough arm-twisting for them to allow him to live at this place; you can imagine what hell had come loose when word got out that a perfectly healthy and able-bodied young person was moving in as well.  The stink-eyes, the glares, the turning and hiding of purses while passing women in the hall, and the all too constant reminders of resident rules would’ve been enough for Milton from Office Space to burn down the building and then retreat to Mexico, were all daily encounters from day one.  

Probably the most insane incident at this place occurred in the games room.  A nice, typical, old person’s game room; it included shuffleboard, billiards, and the likes.  I used it from time to time, and one day I had a friend over to join me for a game of pool.  We broke, got a few shots in, and were having a good time, when all of a sudden, Marshall (the Strata President) walked in.  I greeted him, and introduced my friend.  Marshall had no time for my pleasantries.  We were promptly presented with a verbal declaration of strata rules, chapter 6, section 2, subsection ix, paragraph 16 (I think that’s what it was) that clearly stated: The games room is for residents only.  No guests are allowed to participate in activities that the games room provides.  With all due respect Mr. President (a formality, my due to him in the respect category was zero), HAVE YOU LOST YOUR MIND? Unfortunately I only made this a mental statement.  So for the next few minutes, while no one else but the three of us were in the room, Marshall watched us while I played the rest of the game, and made sure that my friend was not participating in pool, or anything else.  I swear to you, I am not making this up.

After my wife and I got married, we rented out my older brother’s condo, in a Strata-complex.  Though not an official retirement home, you’d be hard pressed to prove it based on the residents.  There were a few nice folks, but the general consensus was pretty much the same as before.

One of the paranoia progressions this place had made was the lobby and underground parking security cameras; and the ability to watch them from one of the digital cable stations, in the comfort of their quintuple locked, shades-drawn, homes.  They also felt the need to post a minion resident in a chair by the doors that the cameras viewed, just for added security, and likely, gossip.

The main entrance of the building featured foyer style access.  There was a primary door that was always unlocked, and then a second set of doors that required key card admittance.  From time to time, I did not have my key, for whatever reason.  And also, from time to time, there would be one of these old people, sitting in the chair, minding the door.  More than once, I asked for some assistance from the person to simply grant me admission; in lieu of calling up stairs and waiting for the buzz in.  It’s not exactly sound proof glass, and anyone could have figured out the pantomime motions I was making.  On pretty well all of these occasions though, the person I requested aid from was… less than helpful.  The cold glares that came through that glass towards me, and the pretend reading they would be doing while I politely asked for probably the lowest level of assistance available… it was infuriating.  I heard this same story from a few of our visitors as well. 

In the wintertime, salt and sand naturally collect on a person’s car while driving on any city roads.  When this same person parks in their underground parking spot with said accumulation, their spot is, of course, going to be dirty.  One day after returning home, I got a whole earful quoted to me from the resident rulebook (probably the same one from the other place) that stipulated in another rabbit-hole of strata code, how clean my parking space was to be kept at all times.  According to the book, I was required to sweep my spot regularly, or I may lose my spot altogether.  I may have verbally agreed with the given citation, but I’ll have you know I never touched that broom from that day on (nor did I before).

Our condo did not have a working dryer, so we dried our clothes either at the Laundromat, or out on our deck.  When we took them outside, we put our clothes on hangers and drying racks.  After the very first time we did this, we received a note under our door the next day; stating that we were in violation of a Strata rule that said nothing was to be visible from decks that could be seen by anyone, so people wouldn’t think less of the strata as a result of it.  First of all, it’s not like they were bad clothes.  Second, there was one sliver of the highway visible from our view.  There’s NO WAY anyone was seeing them, and/or reporting on the trashy looking disposition of our “great” condo.  That warning found its way into the recycling bin quite quickly.   

I think the Strata arrangement gives old people the last grip they have on any responsibility and expectation.  They’re either assigned to, or volunteer for a job, and they do it to the best of their abilities.  They may or may not even want to be living there.  Perhaps their independence was taken away before they believed it should have been.  That’s unfortunate if that’s the case, but it doesn’t mean that they need to make people younger than them miserable while they attempt to co-habitate in the same building as them.  Like I mentioned, there are some really great seniors out there, but man are there some awful ones too.  Now if I could just get our next door neighbours to turn that music down…

Inflation of Panhandler Rates, Onion Sombreros, and The Lululemon Deception.

August 27, 2009 21 comments

I was walking down the street earlier this summer when I was approaching a panhandler.  As I drew nearer, I reached into my pockets in anticipation of the spare change request.  Around the same time my hand was revealing itself from my pocket with a few nickels and/or dimes, the panhandler said, “Excuse me sir, could you spare $5000?”

Taken a back, and a little amused, my hand returned to my pocket with the change, and I replied laughingly with something to the tune of, “dude, if you get someone to give you that, I’ll be asking you for money.” I needed that change for the parking meter anyways.

True story.

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There seems to be an influx of male humans carrying on with their lives, under the impression that it, for some reason, became “ok” to wear Lululemon clothing.  Alright, alright, yoga is becoming a bit of a trend, and people like to do it, it decreases the chance of you dying in the near future, so I guess these yoga people  need very specific stuff for it.  That’s fine, stretch all the spandex on yourself you need to… IF YOU’RE A GIRL. All I’m saying is that there’s plently of manly workout gear out there, and this stuff ain’t it.  Please refer to Figure A below for further clarification:

Figure A

Figure A

The symbol is a woman’s haircut, a “bob” if you will.  It’s clear Fubu theory (For Us By Us, brand speculatively supposed to be only for black people), and all who oppose it are clear posers.  This stuff’s for girls fellas, get over it. 

                          *****

The funniest commerical bit on TV right now, is the following threat by the brain to the eyeball that he will have to wear “The Onion Sombrero” all day if he can’t get along with the tongue.

The sheer visual imagery of an eyeball, sitting on its own, in the corner wearing an onion sombrero is comical/torture genius.  I mean, who’s manufacturing onion sombreros?  What’s the demographic there?  It just can’t be a thriving business.  It must just be like a gimmick product that a regular sombrero shop makes from time to time, to garner interest in the store.  Luckily for the brain, he happened to be guiding his human, via the eyeball mind you, past the sombrero store during that time.  Obviously they went into the store and purchased one, or else the threat would be useless.  The beauty of it is that the eye would’ve seen it first, and then was forced to send the visual reception signal and information to the brain, whom then would, in turn, eventually use it as a threat of consequence for unruly behavior.  The brain probably forced the eyelids open as he sensed them trying to close the eyes.  That brain is a wily one, methinks.

Koreans do a poor Chinese impression: The Acupuncture Story.

August 4, 2009 8 comments

(orginally posted February 9th, 2009)

So, my right ankle is not that well off from fracturing my growth plate in grade 9 after coming down from a spike in a volleyball game onto John Herron’s foot. Also, I (speculatively) inherited my grandmother’s ankles, who was just recently told by her doctor that her ankle was worn out and couldn’t be fixed. All that to say, sometime this past summer (2008) I was playing on my rec-league once-a-month Korean soccer team, and I turned my ankle pretty good. It was in rough shape, but I managed to walk it off, and finish the game. The next day it had doubled in size and tripled in colors.

I showed to our school’s director, who offered to take me to the hospital. Now, from experience, this is generally nothing more than a job for Rest Ice Compression Elevation (RICE, if you will); nothing I haven’t encountered plenty of times before. But I figured, whatever, maybe get an x-ray just in case, see what’s going on in there. So off we went the next day to what turned out not to be a hospital at all. In the car, I was informed that I was now being taken to a Chinese Acupuncture clinic. Suprisingly, I didn’t have a problem with this, as I was now picturing extremely relaxed people lying face down in bed at a spa with a bunch of needles in their back, and all the combined surface area pain overloading the brain’s pain sensors, and cancelling itself out. I thought, ok, maybe this could be alright, lets see how they roll over here, maybe they know something North Americans don’t about healing. It was only a few bucks anyways, and I had always been intrigued by acupuncture.  I truly had no idea what I had got myself into.  

I was ushered into the little consultation room to have some sort of assessment that I didn’t understand because it was all being spoken in Korean. Next I was instructed to head to the next, smaller room, and sit on the table dressed in the butcher paper. After some more Korean conversation, things got underway in a hurry. The doctor grabbed my left hand (I remind you, the injury was my right ankle), and promptly inserted a 2-3″ needle into my flesh, right around my scaphoid (where your thumb meets your hand), twisted it around, told me, in my best translation, to “chill.” He then trodded off on his doctorly way. So there I am, by myself, with a huge needle in my hand, not moving because I’m frightened of stabbing my inner hand somewhere, and absorbing all the pain possible that comes with having ONE needle jammed into you, rather than the above mentioned multiples, and also chuckling a little to myself over the complete absurdity of what was happening to me. You can imagine what was going through my mind. Also, the doctor did come back occasionally to twist and turn the needle to and fro, and to send it in deeper, while I sent my incisors deeper into my right knuckles. Did I mention my RIGHT ankle was hurt, and there was a needle in my LEFT….THUMB??!!?? Eventually, 10 or 15 minutes passed, and the doc removed the needle, which seemed to have ended up about 4-5″ in there now. I thought the insanity was over. I was wrong.

I was then told through translation to lie down and the doctor grabbed my actual ankle. I thought, ok, he’s actually going to do something directly to it now. I was right. Moments later, a device surfaced that I can only describe as a stabbing gun. It was a glue gun shape, and there was one, or maybe seven needles sticking out of the end. My wonder had very little time to evolve to fear as my swollen ankle was promptly STABBED approximately 20 times in 10 seconds with said puncturing device. I’m going to need stitches in my knuckles at this point. There was so much shock running through me that I was seriously laughing at how comical it was was, perhaps a defence mechanism against the pain. After the aerating of my ankle was complete, they wheeled in another device; this time a vaccuum-sucker-pump of sorts (these are all technical medical terms I don’t expect you to be familiar with), which is then applied to my wounds, and the blood, now leaking from the holes, was sucked out for a few minutes. They eventually took it off me and told me to stand up, and that they were finished. They asked me how I felt, and I said, “Good,” only in hopes of concluding the visit. I made my way to the front counter to sign something, and they said, “Ok, see you tomorrow!” Well, my mouth said yes, but my mind broke out in hysterics. I grabbed a candy from the dish, and got out of there, as quick as conditions were allowing me. I did not go back the next day.

Also, on the topic of the title, Koreans make bad chinese food.

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