Geri Hall has laughed with audiences across the country about the bizarre, relatable rollercoaster that is getting older. Along with fellow Canadian comedy icon Gary Pearson, Geri has performed Middle Raged, an original sketch comedy revue, to crowds in over 60 cities and towns across Canada.

With hilarious sketches, improv, physical comedy and song parodies, the show pokes fun at the unique trials of middle-aged life—from the madness of kids, to aging parents, to quirky and annoying health concerns…and trying to keep romance alive.

“The show presents both a male and female perspective of the issues–so it makes an amazing girl’s night out, an amazing guy’s night out, or an amazing date night!  We promise you’ll laugh at all the things that sometimes make you want to cry!!” Geri says.

Geri and Gary are long-time friends and Canadian comedy veterans. The duo first met at The Second City, and again years later, at the iconic Canadian news satire 22 Minutes, where Geri starred as a roving reporter and anchor for 5 seasons. She can also be seen starring on the the new CBC sitcom One More Time.

This weekend, Middle Raged is returning to Toronto for 3 performances only.  We were excited to catch up with Geri ahead of her Toronto shows to hear more about Middle Raged and her take on the ups and downs of growing older.

What is the best part about being your current age?

I’m outta f**k’s to give! Seriously–I think something happens to you in your fifties, I don’t know if it’s hormonal, or just the magic of the human journey—but around your 50th birthday, you simply cannot tolerate nonsense or meanness anymore. And you no longer feel like you have to unnecessarily filter your feelings through kindness. OFTG! It’s a whole new chapter, and I’m here for it.

How would you describe your comedic style? 

For years, I was always booking roles described in the scripts as “quirky”. Quirky neighbour. Quirky receptionist. Quirky best friend. So I guess I’m quirky!

But I like to hope I’m more of a Comic-Everywoman in this show, in the sense that I’m just trying to play the very relatable feelings we all experience at these common moments in adult life: parenting, work stress, body image issues, and trying to keep things spicy in the bedroom after a lot of years together. So I guess my comedic style right now is ’painfully honest’?!

How would you describe your dynamic with Gary?

Gary is such a brilliant comic and writer. What I noticed right away about Gary was that he was a male writer who could write so effortlessly FOR women—which is a rarer ability than one might assume. His sketches were always hilarious, but I loved that he wasn’t afraid to write from a female perspective, and ground things in real emotion too: that was always the kind of comedy I wanted to be performing. 

Eventually I left 22 Minutes to start a family, and ended up with twins! Gary would come to visit, to see how we were all coping with our new life—and no matter how exhausted I was, we would always end up in fits of laughter as we compared our lives as 20-somethings, to the lives we were now living in middle age. We shared that hot date nights had been replaced by really fraught adult things like staying home to write our wills together…or that we were now at the age where we were attending more funerals than weddings! And it was in these conversations that Middle Raged was born.

Do you have a memorable moment from your performances of Middle Raged so far?

The entire show is an absolute joy to perform, but my very favourite sketch is one we call “Intelligent Design”. In it, Gary and I play characters at the beginning of Time, who are arguing about the proposed design for human beings–specifically, how reproduction is going to work in the species.

The audience reaction to this sketch is the primary memory I’ll take away from doing this show–the shrieks, the tidal waves of laughter, the hysterical giggles—it’s a wall of sound from the audience from start to finish. It’s one of the sweetest sounds in the world. We’ve performed this show over 80 times now, and every single performance, my heart pounds with anticipation of the fun of performing this sketch for our audiences. Let’s just say–it’s VERY relatable!  

What has been the most surprising discovery you’ve made about being middle-aged?

Why does our neck skin have to get weird?? I can cope with the greys, and the creaking joints, but this crepey neck thing? That just feels a little over the top.

What was your biggest takeaway from your time on 22 Minutes?

Getting handcuffed at a Stephen Harper press conference was one of the weirdest days of my life. I went into that day so nervous that the jokes might bomb! But I literally ended up in handcuffs a moment after opening my mouth! Now that’s a workday gone sideways. Inside, I was frantic, but I instinctively knew that If I stayed in character, I’d be OK. 

That moment opened so many doors for me on that show! So now, if I’m nervous before an audition, I always ask myself–what’s the worst that could happen: are you gonna get handcuffed by the prime minister today? If the answer is no—you got nothing to worry about. And even if you do—it’ll all be ok anyway.

What career advice has always served you well?

My high school drama teacher, Mark Melymick, always reminded us that every audition is just an opportunity to perform. So instead of looking at auditions like stressful job interviews, I try to just look at them as a little chance to play, albeit for a small crowd. That’s a much healthier approach than sweating and getting an ulcer over it. But I keep Tums in my pocket, just in case.

What is making you laugh these days?

OMG I just came across an old SNL clip of Maya Rudolph singing in the National Anthem sketch. It’s one of the funniest things I’ve ever seen in my life. I will request that it be played at my funeral one day—you know—to lighten the mood

What is something you think every middle-aged woman needs to hear?

You look AMAZING in that bathing suit. You’re gorgeous, and smart and funny and wonderful. Now go make some waves!

Tickets for Middle Raged on May 3 and 4 at Toronto’s CAA Theatre are available now.