In the modern age of online shopping and big box stores, every day is a fight to keep One More Time alive. From comedian D.J. Demers, ONE MORE TIME is a hilarious workplace series on CBC and CBC Gem (January 9) that centres around DJ, the hard-of-hearing manager of a second-hand sporting goods store, and his unlikely family of oddball employees.
DJ tries not to let professional, personal or, hearing setbacks get him down. His perseverance and desire to make everyone feel special in every interaction makes him beloved by his employees and customers alike. DJ, along with assistant manager Cynthia (Geri Hall), and sales associates Wayne (Dan Beirne), Jen (Elise Bauman), Keeran (Seran Sathiyaseelan) and Chris (Dayton Sinkia), solve the day-to-day challenges of running a small business, while lending a helping hand, and ear, to each other and the community they serve.
We had the amazing opportunity to chat with Geri Hall about the series ahead of its premiere!
Tell us about your character, Cynthia?
Hall: Cynthia is the assistant manager at One More Time Sports, and she is essentially the yin to DJ’s yang. While DJ is all about community, Cynthia is all business! She’s level-headed, no-nonsense, and is often the one trying to steer DJ and the gang away from distractions, and back into thinking about the bottom line. What I really love about this character is that, although she may appear to be straight-laced (and a little too excited by accounting), she’s got a hidden past that is very, very different from her present! Never judge a book by her cardigan.
There’s something about small towns in Canada that us city folks seem to love, what is it?
Hall: The world is so big, and so busy, and so complicated, that I think there are times when all of us feel lost in the noise.You can be standing in the middle of a city like Toronto, surrounded by millions of people, and still feel very alone. But there is simplicity in the idea of a smaller town that feels like it’s the antidote to that, somehow. I think we romanticize small towns, imagining them as places full of strong characters who shop at the same stores and eat at the same restaurants, where everybody knows everybody else’s business- for better of for worse! In small towns, people are connected in a more tangible way. Those connections between people can be wonderful…or, they can serve as the perfect breeding ground for conflict and hilarity! That’s why small towns make fabulous settings for great storytelling.
As a much loved comedian what drew you to this particular series?
Hall: That’s very kind- but my goodness, I am absolutely honoured to be a part of this show. When my agent sent me just a segment of the script last year, I burst out laughing at the audition sides. I knew I wanted this role before I even got to the last page!!! A strong, hilarious female character in a laugh-out loud ensemble comedy?? Sign me up!
And even at that very first audition, I could feel how special this show environment was going to be…Jessie and DJ and the producers managed to create an audition room that was relaxed, and welcoming, where you could just experiment and play…and trust me, not all audition rooms feel like that!
Of course, it turns out that DJ is one of the most hilarious and generous humans I have come across in this industry. His positive impact on set everyday was a joy to behold. Our showrunner, Jessie Gabe, is a dream come true- she is so wickedly smart, such a great leader- yet so humble and so open to collaboration. And we had great directors, and the best crew, too.
I honestly couldn’t have dreamed of a nicer or more talented bunch of people to work alongside.
Your career is pretty cool – Second City, This Hour has 22 Minutes, Middle Raged, lots of funny moments. How did you know that this was the career for you?
Hall: I was about eight years old when I started watching The Carol Burnett Show with my mom, and that’s when a love of comedy was burned into my heart. As soon as a Carol Burnett episode would end, my sisters and I would run into our bedrooms to throw together makeshift costumes, and then we’d immediately reenact the sketches for my Mom. The first laugh we got, I was sold! I still remember that feeling…the shock and awe of realizing that comedy could make you feel like you had superpowers! That by a turn of phrase or a pratfall, or by the arch of a brow, you could literally force somebody to laugh, to snort, or to involuntarily spasm in joy?! That feeling is such a rush. That’s why I feel so grateful and so lucky now, as a “grown-up,” to be able to perform comedy for a living. Besides… I have no other life skills. It’s not like I was going to be a neurosurgeon…despite that being my number two career choice at the age of eight.
Who is the funniest person you know?
Hall: My husband, David, is one of the funniest people I’ve ever known. Laughing every day is a great way to walk through life together.
You’re also a mom…so, do your kids think you’re funny?
Hall: My kids are in that beautiful pre-teen phase where, yes indeed, they think I’m hilarious and they are really enchanted by the world of comedy and theatre. But I’m keenly aware that in just a few more years they will be rolling their eyes at everything I do, and be generally mortified by my shenanigans. So i’m just trying to enjoy the present.
What’s the best and worst career advice you’ve ever received?
Hall: An agent once told me- verbatim- to “go home, learn how to walk, talk, speak, dress, and move ‘like an actress’- and to lose thirty pounds.” I was 19, and I was devastated.
Ironically, I think it has been my inability to do a single thing from that list that has helped me carve a career as a comic Everywoman!!
What are you most looking to put past us as we leave 2023?
Hall: Rising interest rates. Skyrocketing grocery prices. High-waisted jeans….but I don’t want them to get too low again, either. Let’s be reasonable, people.
What are you most looking forward to in 2024?
Hall: I love the feeling of a fresh, new Mom Calendar on the fridge… all those crisp, empty pages. Who knows what this year will bring?( Besides chaos- because there’s always chaos.)
But one thing I do know for sure is that One More Time debuts this January…that’s marked on my calendar for January 9th. I’m really looking forward to that.:) If people enjoy watching it as much as we enjoyed making it- then it’s going to be a very fun new year!
Watch One More Time on CBC and CBC Gem starting January 9, 2024, at 9:00 pm EST.
Stream full episodes for free, CBC Gem.