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A great crowd of Holland College students and members of the general public gathered to laugh the winter blahs away together last Friday night in Summerside at the Harbourfront Theatre.
“We wanted to have a big splash event, so we brought in the best comic in Canada, bar none,” said Holland College student union president Dave Campbell in his introduction from the stage, as the show began at 8 p.m.
“So let’s give him a big P.E.I. welcome: Gerry Dee,” Campbell added, as the Harbourfront Theatre audience erupted in cheers to bring the famous Canadian comedian/writer /television star on to the stage.
The Canadian Comedy Award winner and finalist in Last Comic Standing (who has become a household name since 2012 as the star of CBC’s sitcom “Mr. D”) was brought to P.E.I. by Holland College as a fun winter show for the students.
And from the time Dee came out on stage, it was certainly fun times galore as he let loose an onslaught of gleeful ridicule upon various audience members.
Poking fun at everything from a young man’s gold pants in the front row and what the lives of mature students must be like to various couples out on dates, single people who looked desperate and aspiring firefighters with no idea as to how they’re going to become firefighters, Dee paraded through a remarkable intro display of unscripted improv with crowd member interaction.
Carrying on to his routine that included bits about his years as a teacher (including how to deal with the spectrum of students from the smart kids to even those with oppositional defiant disorder), his hilarious repulsion to being in the delivery room with his wife, along with his classic “Bruno joke” and “Italian joke” (by crowd request), Dee coaxed the kind of big laughs that he has become known for and received an enthusiastic standing ovation at the end for it.
“We’ve been doing events for the students over the past couple of years, and this year we realized we had to step it up,” said Campbell in conversation after the show.
“I’m the first (Holland College student union president) from Summerside, and this was part of my campaign promise to have a big event in Summerside.”
Campbell also mentioned it was not easy to book Dee at this time of year, but the payoff in the level of student enjoyment was certainly worth all the effort.
“His season premiere was this week as well, so it was pretty tough to get him here, but we think it’s a good reward for the students,” he added.
Catch Dee in the new fifth season of Mr. D on Tuesdays at 9:30 p.m. on CBC television.
For more about him, visit www.gerrydee.com.
Next week: Let’s keep the mid-winter laugh-fest going with Popalopalooza: 26 Hours of Improv with Popalopalots at The Guild, tonight and tomorrow night.
Todd MacLean is a local freelance writer and musician. If you have a comment or suggestion for a review, you can get in touch with him at email@example.com or at 626-1242. But he won’t be offended if you don’t.
Todd’s weekend picks
1. Annual Robbie Burns Concert presented by the Caledonia Club of P.E.I. at the Kirk of St. James Church, today 6:45 p.m., featuring Eddy Quinn, Jim Hornby, the Belfast Pipe and Drum Band and more.
2. Popalopalooza: 26 Hours of Improv with Popalopalots at The Guild, today at 8 p.m. through to tomorrow at 10 p.m. Funds raised go to support the QEH Cancer Treatment Centre.
3. “Just Passing Through” Season 2 Premiere Party & Screening at the P.E.I. Brewing Company, today and tomorrow at 8 p.m. Watch all five episodes of Season 2 on the big screen before it’s available online.
4. Nuallan (Cape Breton Gaelic piping band) CD release weekend at the Old Triangle Pub, today and tomorrow at 8:30 p.m.
5. Glory Glory, Emilee Sorrey, Whaleskin at Baba’s Lounge, today at 11 p.m.