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'Mr. D' shares his thoughts on comedy

After the Oct. 26 firing of Jian Ghomeshi and the now-infamous Facebook post detailing the CBC broadcaster's sex life that got everyone talking, comedian Gerry Dee made his own Ghomeshi-inspired social media confession.
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Gerry Dee, the star of the CBC television sitcom “Mr. D,” is presenting a stand-up comedy show in Sudbury Nov. 15. Supplied photo.
After the Oct. 26 firing of Jian Ghomeshi and the now-infamous Facebook post detailing the CBC broadcaster's sex life that got everyone talking, comedian Gerry Dee made his own Ghomeshi-inspired social media confession.

“Before this gets out there, I want everyone to hear this from me first. My wife and I have sex once a month. Just her and I. Missionary,” Dee said on Facebook, prompting more than 200 comments from his amused fans.

It's this kind of reality-inspired joke that's defined Dee's career.

“I think the best jokes are where you're saying what everyone's thinking, and no one has the guts to say it,” said the comedian, in a recent phone interview with NorthernLife.ca to promote his Nov. 15 Sudbury show.

“It's when you can come out and be honest, and other people are like 'Oh my God, I can't believe you just said that.' Joan Rivers was the best at that. Maybe she took it too far sometimes.”

Dee — otherwise known as Gerard Francis Donoghue — is the star of his own CBC television sitcom, "Mr. D," about a hapless physical education teacher.

Formerly a physical education teacher at the private Toronto high school De La Salle College, the 45-year-old father of three comes by the material for his show honestly.

“I had many times where kids made me laugh by the things they did,” Dee said, adding that many of the characters on his show are amalgams of people he knew in real life.

“The secretary at our school was very in charge of a lot of things, as they are in most schools, which is what you get with Trudy, played by Bette MacDonald,” he said.

The fourth season of Mr. D, which starts Jan. 20, is going to be “our best season yet,” Dee said.

“It's really strong,” he said. “We have a couple great new characters, and a lot of stories that people will enjoy. Even if they've never seen it. I think it's a season that you can just jump in and enjoy.”

Dee said he got into comedy about 15 years ago, slowly building up his skills. He didn't quit his job as a teacher — a role he said he loved — until 2003, when he decided to step his comedy career up a notch.

“As much as people think we are overnight successes and stuff, this is not an overnight success,” he said. “This is years of trying to hone my craft and pitch shows and get recognized.”

Dee said he still thinks of his TV show as a “pinch-me moment” that he tries not to take for granted, because he knows it will end one day.

“It's identical with parenting — I try to do the same thing,” he said. “People say enjoy it, because they grow up so fast.”

Dee's Sudbury show — Gerry Dee: The Real Mr. D — starts at 7:30 p.m. Nov. 15 at Laurentian University's Fraser Auditorium. The comedian said his material is appropriate for teenagers and up.

Tickets, which cost $59 each, are available through the Sudbury Theatre Centre box office. Visit www.sudburytheatre.ca or phone 705-674-8381.