Birth place: Montreal
Birthday: May 30
Star Sign: Gemini
Lived in: Toronto, Rome
Don graduated from Montreal's Loyola College with an Honours English degree, then worked in radio and as an audio-visual producer and photographer until he discovered that comedy writing and performing was more fun. Don has written and directed documentary programs for CBC television, a science-fiction series for radio, a political farce for the stage, ("Skin Deep"), and a stage drama about the ill-fated World War II raid on the French port of Dieppe. Don is a popular after-dinner entertainer, and a keen sailor. His most famous Air Farce characters are Lucien Bouchard, the Chicken Cannon's Col. Stacy, Bill Clinton, Bob Dylan, and most prime ministers.
Reason for becoming a performer
When the Jest Society moved from Montreal to Toronto, I was hired to photograph the group. I hung around backstage and got to know their routines. Patrick Conlon decided that he didn't want to live in Toronto and was replaced briefly by Steve Whistance-Smith, and then when Steve left, the group needed someone who knew the material. I stepped in, but I never set out to be an actor. I was always too shy.
Favourite Air Farce characters
I like whichever ones are currently getting the biggest laughs.
Favourite Air Farce sketches
It's fun doing anything with singing in it — Mike the Knife Harris, Preston Manning doing the dance from Risky Business, Bill Clinton singing "Addicted to Love".
Biggest challenge on Air Farce
It's such a grind, so it's important not to get worn out. It's essential to take a mid-winter break, and to spend time away from each other in the summer, so that we're glad to see each other again in the fall. I use that time to catch up on being with my family, reading books, seeing movies... all the things that are part of a normal life.
Highlight of working on Air Farce
We did radio for 24 seasons. One year we were taping a radio show in Regina in the dead of winter, and were introduced to a family who had driven 700 miles to see us. I said to (then radio producer) Johnny Dalton, "If I ever think about quitting, remind me about this moment." Doing the TV show has been another highlight. It was like being re-born. The sheer audience numbers (averaging 1.4 million viewers), an entirely different audience than we had on radio, being recognized on the street, working with a production team that can do anything — it's a great sandbox to play in!
Who makes you laugh?
Steve Martin, Mike Myers, Jim Carrey, and my favourite actor, Homer Simpson...
Your attitude towards being politically correct
Political correctness is the antithesis of comedy, but one of the joys of being in comedy is we don't have to be p.c. In fact, the more rules there are about what's politically correct and incorrect, the more opportunities we have to break them.
Who was the major influence on your career as a Performer?
The other people in Air Farce. I've worked with them for my entire professional life.
What did you want to be when you were in school?
I always wanted to be a writer.