The Next Chapter

Steve Patterson's Dad Up! defines what it means to be the 'best father ever'

The comedian, host and author spoke with Shelagh Rogers about why his second book is about being a dad in today's world.
Dad Up! is a book by Steve Patterson. (Penguin Canada, CBC)

Steve Patterson, writer, actor, comedian and host of CBC Radio's comedy show The Debaters, has released his second book titled Dad Up!: Long-time Comedian. First-time Father.  

Dad Up! is a humorous look at fatherhood — and what it means to be a dad in the modern age. Patterson uses anecdotes to recall growing up as the youngest of five boys in an Irish Catholic household, the lessons his father imparted to him and the difficulty he and his wife, Nancy, had conceiving their own children. 

Patterson spoke with Shelagh Rogers about writing Dad Up!.

 A 'traditional childhood'

"I was born in 1971. I had a traditional childhood. Having a bunch of older brothers and having a 'Fighting Irish' spirit, it was a pretty aggressive childhood, but I didn't think about it that way. 

My dad took on a lot of the roles that a traditional mom would, even though I was able to still spend some time with my mom.

"My parents divorced and I ended up living with my dad and my older brother, who also features prominently in the book. My dad took on a lot of the roles that a traditional mom would, even though I was able to still spend some time with my mom. 

"But it was a complicated thing. I grew up in a very male-dominated house."

Looking back at my family

"My opinion on bullying has changed a lot since I was a kid, and since I became a dad, obviously. I had to juxtapose it with the fact that in my house, most of the bullying occurred before I went to school because it was my older brothers and I fighting at the breakfast table. 

Once I started writing about some of the experiences with my family, I realized that my own dad was a pretty rough and tumble dad, but in a good way.

"I didn't have to deal with a lot of bullying because people knew my older brothers would deal with them differently.

"Once I started writing about some of the experiences with my family, I realized that my own dad was a pretty rough and tumble dad, but in a good way.

"But I have all happy, happy memories. I hope I can be as good a dad as he is to me."

Motherly appreciation

"The book also does end up being a tribute to my wife Nancy and to all moms — because if you want something done, hire a mom. There's no one better. Whatever relief you can give to the moms in your family, give it, because they'll never ask for it, but they need it. 

Whatever relief you can give to the moms in your family, give it, because they'll never ask for it, but they need it.

"I wasn't sure whether to talk about [our struggles to have children] in the book. I talked it over with Nancy, and she thought it was a good idea to talk about those challenges, because no one does. It's the woman that's going through everything physically, but the couples should be going through it together. 

"I was happy that I had a chance to talk about it in the book."

Steve Patterson's comments have been edited for length and clarity.

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