Paul Bates is a junkie. And his drug of choice?
“I love making people laugh,” the midtown actor and writer says a few weeks back.
“I knew when I was a kid I wanted to be in comedy. I knew after seeing the Muppets Show, I wanted to entertain people.”
And entertain he has.
Bates has crafted together a successful dual career in acting and writing.
He spent several years with Second City, writing and performing in a number of productions, including Psychedelicatessen and Second City Reloaded before heading to CBC to work as a senior writer on The Hour with George Stroumboulopoulos.
Bates, who has won six comedy awards and has been nominated for a Gemini and Dora Mavor Moore Award, has written for a number of other television shows, including a Just For Laughs special. He helped create and develop the CBC reality series, Second City’s Next Comedy Legend – in which he also appeared as a mentor to the show’s contestants.
“I am really pleased where I am,” Bates says.
And where is he now? Currently on the hit CTV series, Dan for Mayor.
“I felt the character was in many ways like me,” he says.
Bates plays Jeff, the best friend of Dan, played by Corner Gas’s Fred Ewanuick. Jeff, who Bates describes as “a sardonic, wry kind of guy” is roped in by his number one amigo to help Dan run for mayor of their hometown.
“He isn’t sure if he wants to be Dan’s campaign manager,” Bates says a few days after Dan for Mayor premiered on March 1 to nearly two million viewers.
Starring in a lead role in a so-far-so-good series is pretty sweet, Bates says.
“I can be somewhat of a sardonic dude as well,” Bates says of the similarities with his character.
They’re also both married, and have young families.
Bates and his wife and fellow comedic actor Christy Bruce, whom he met at Second City, welcomed the birth of their baby boy a few months back.
“I am where he is,” Bates says of Jeff.
And where he hopes to be in five years?
Still, playing Jeff.
And no doubt still making people laugh.
Kermit would be proud.
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