Dan Levy (’02) can add one more (red and grey) feather to his cap. In addition to his many hard-earned successes, he’s lived up to the words of his school song.
In September, Schitt’s Creek won a record-setting seven trophies at the Emmy Awards. Levy, who co-created the series with his father Eugene, personally took home trophies in three categories: acting, writing, and directing. Not bad for someone who says he started to find his voice in an OAC1 English class taught by Anne Carrier at North Toronto.
“Ms. Carrier had an innate ability to make you want to strive, both academically and intellectually,” he told Richard Ouzounian for a piece on Carrier in the December 2016 issue of Professionally Speaking, the journal of the Ontario College of Teachers. “She created a safe space for ideas to be shared, concepts to be discussed and options to be expressed without fear of failure or embarrassment.”
Levy characterized high school as a “tricky time.” He knew he wanted to write and make his voice heard, but lacked the confidence to make things happen. After finding the school’s theatre program, he excelled as co-host of the school fashion show, and looked for other opportunities that were similar.
Things started to click for Levy while working on an assignment on Thomas King’s Green Grass, Running Water. “Instead of delivering another generic assignment, I took a risk and decided to mimic the book’s unique narrative structure to convey my ideas.”
He did an excellent job, recalled Carrier, saying it wasn’t a traditional approach, but an extraordinary examination of the nature of social satire. “He had a real attunement to it.”
While waiting out the pandemic in Toronto at the home of his parents, Levy has been leading fans through “Indigenous Canada,” a 12-week course covering Indigenous histories and contemporary issues in Canada, reported Catherine Porter (’91) in The New York Times.
According to Porter, the free, online program doesn’t include any professor interaction. However, every Sunday afternoon, Levy broadcasts a meeting with “professors from the university to go over the lessons.” Hours before his Emmy win, she wrote, he was online for that week’s discussion.
Levy is not the only television comedy writer to come out of NT. Fellow NT alumni Ins Choi (’92) wrote Kim’s Convenience, a play about a Korean-Canadian family and their convenience store in Regent Park. He later adapted it into a highly successful CBC show of the same name