I have learnt so many lessons from John, but one that springs to mind at the moment is to support each other. Being part of SCTV was probably one of the happiest times for John, in fact I think most of the SCTV actors, crew, writers would probably say the same. It was one of the most supportive and creative times for them all and I feel at a time when they really needed each other. Confidence, love, laughter, a safe space and people to bounce off. They were kind of making the show for themselves and then of course others found it funny and it went from there.
A lot of people question if there was something in the water back then with comedic greats coming out of Canada including John Candy, Dan Aykroyd, Martin Short, Eugene Levy, Catherine O'Hara, Dave Thomas, Rick Moranis, Joe Flaherty et al. However in Martin Short's latest book I Must Say: My Life as a Humble Comedy Legend, Short attributes it to the fact they all helped each other - if one of them got an opportunity they tried to create one for the others.
When I interviewed Rob Salem for the book, he told me how John didn't just break America but also boundaries for his fellow Canadian actors. Before John, to go from Canada to America was not a favorable thing to do with the Canadian press, who in the main could be quite scathing of anyone who crossed over to the Hollywood dark side. However, people could not help but love John (probably because he never forgot his roots and gave so much back to Canada) and he really paved the way for other actors to follow suit.
I have heard a lot of stories of John trying to help fellow actors, aspiring actors, people that he liked in general by giving them opportunities, advice, recommendations and if possible, jobs.
I remember back in my Uni years one of my old lecturers Phil Saxe telling us that as one became successful in your group (of friends, colleagues, coworkers etc) as a rule others would rise up with them. So the key isn't just to look after yourself but to look after those around you, luckily this isn't only the most productive way but also the nicest too (the main thing is you all have to be on the same page, everyone must want each other to succeed).
I'm so very lucky that whilst writing about John I have found some of these creative supportive people myself, so every now and then in the blog I will be highlighting them.
The book is not far off (I have one more surgery to go so I may hold release till after then) and I am lacking in a little confidence so thank god for my very own John Candy's surrounding me at the moment.
Support each other, lots of love to you all and thanks so much for your patience.