Look who’s laughing – likely you! Good ol’ dad has doled out some sage words of wisdom over the years, some we took because he was watching, but we discarded lots too.
Face it, often the generation gap would have us nodding, but secretly looking for the nearest exit. Along with his corny jokes to cheer us up, dads are always the first to offer up advice, wanting to make us feel better and keep us out of trouble.
So we reached out to some funny people – stand up comics – to find out the best “dadvice” they ever got:
MARK HATFIELD: From the CFL to the stand up funny guy, appearing July 27-29 at Yuk Yuk’s Ottawa: My dad was born and raised in the Rhodesian jungle in the 1940s, so most of his advice to a Canadian kid in the 1980s didn’t translate… When I asked him to help out at Beavers he showed up in full Zulu warrior attire and did the war dance. When we would tell him the bathroom was out of toilet paper he would say “use your hand.” But the one that sticks out in my mind is when he went to sign me up for kindergarten he accidentally signed himself up. When I told him he said “they’ll figure it out.” Teachers called me Stanley for three years. My name is Mark.
BRIANA TEMPLETON: One half of the comedy duo The Templeton Philharmonic: My dad advised me to “try to show up half an hour early for everything.” But, I tend to be the type of person who is always running late. The funny thing is – he is too. I guess that’s genetics for you.
GWYNNE PHILLIPS: The other half of The Templeton Philharmonic: Trust no one. I’m 90% sure he works for CSIS. If he is a spy, he’s good at his job – because he won’t tell me.
MARK BRESLIN: Legendary standup comic and owner of Yuk Yuk’s: My father was not the type to give advice, good or bad, but when I was 24, he gave me some advice which was both the best and the worst I’d ever heard. “Son,” he said, “whatever you do, do not go into the comedy business.” It was the best advice because he knew my life would not be easy. Show business is a place for malcontents; a sleazy sideshow of unsustainable income and societal disrespect. If I could just go to law school, he felt, I could hang around with a better class of criminal.
But it was the worst advice, because, against all odds, I made a success out of my bad choice. I always thought my father regretted my choice, but after he died, I had the sad task of clearing out his clothes. And there, in his dresser, in between each neatly folded dress shirt, was one of the newspaper clippings charting the rise of my comedy career. That way, every day, when he put on a fresh shirt, he could see the evidence of his son’s achievement. Now I have my own little boy, and I can hardly wait to give him some bad advice that he can turn into his own personal triumph.
MAIRLYN SMITH: Second City alumni, regular guest expert on Cityline and has a cooking show called My Left Frying Pan on YouTube: My dad died in true comedic fashion on April Fool’s Day, and two days before his last words to me were “keep laughing.” His best advice to me was to follow my dreams, don’t do anything half-assed and never buy cheap liquor. I’ve taken all his advice to heart and I never buy cheap liquor! He was my hero.
KAITLIN MAMIE: One half of the comedy sketch duo Cheap Smokes, appearing at The Drake Hotel in Toronto on June 27: Dad gave me advice on a daily basis: money doesn’t grow on trees, always have a clean car, why are you drinking that curdled milk? The one that always stood out to me the most was, “if you’re not having fun, what’s the point?” A very simple phrase that had a lot of meaning for me. At the end of the day if you’re happy then you win the game of life – not the board game, although that game is kickass. Do the things that make you smile and you can’t go wrong. And don’t drink curdled milk, it’s gross.
SANDRA BATTAGLINI: Performing at Montreal’s Just For Laughs festival in July: The best advice my father gave me is: Never trust the people, you can’t even trust the shirt on your own back. This has been really helpful because I’ve bought several tops from Joe Fresh and one day I have a nice shirt and the next day it’s garbage so he was right. The worst advice: Sandra you should not wear rubber boots. They’re not good for your eyes. So I threw out my rubber boots and now I have 20/20 vision but wet feet.
MIKE RITA: Semi-finalist in this year’s SiriusXM Top Comic competition: The worst advice my father ever gave me was that I should stick with construction and maybe do comedy on the side. Why was it the worst? Because I’ll be returning to the Just For Laughs comedy festival for the second year running!