Published On Fri Mar 11 2011
Dave Foley of beloved Toronto sketch troupe the Kids in the Hall is starting a new career in standup comedy, but not in Toronto — he suspects he’ll be arrested if he returns to Canada.
The 48-year-old faces a back child-support bill in Ontario of more than half a million dollars: the accumulation of a debt that accrues steadily at more than $17,000 per month. On the set of Servitude, a film shot in Toronto last year, “I told the production guys, I have a court appearance on Monday and there’s a good chance I’ll be in jail on Monday afternoon,’” Foley said in an interview with the Star.
During an appearance on comic Marc Maron’s WTF podcast last month, Foley explained that his marriage to Toronto writer Tabatha Southey ended during his run on NBC’s five-year hit comedy NewsRadio, and he has failed in his efforts to adjust his child support downward to reflect his new life after sitcom stardom.
“My income has dropped in the last 10 years, as anyone can tell from the number of s---ty movies I’ve been in,” says Foley. “I’m not exactly picking and choosing my projects.” However, four years ago, Superior Justice Nancy Backhouse denied his motion to vary his support payments.
“I called Kevin (McDonald),” he told Maron, “and said, ‘If I die, you understand you have to take my corpse out on the road. You’re going to be out there doing another restaging of The Odd Couple, only this time, Oscar is dead.’”
He believes his payments might have been sustainable if he could have landed another gig as lucrative as the lead on NewsRadio. But new sitcoms have been few and far between on the box in the last decade. “Comedy disappeared from TV for a few years,” he says, so he hosted shows such as Thank God You’re Here and Celebrity Poker Showdown.
Foley says that Ontario’s Family Responsibility Office now has an enforcement order and last year sought a six-month jail sentence for him, which was to extend indefinitely, until the overdue support was paid.
In November 2010, a judge spared him immediate imprisonment but allowed the FRO to seek a warrant for Foley’s arrest — and 10 days in jail — without notifying him as soon as he misses or is late for a payment. Since he has missed payments, Foley assumes such a warrant now exists. (While declining to comment on this specific case, the FRO says payors are typically notified in advance of such action.)
Foley now owes $17,301.30 monthly toward his two children, who are both now teenagers: the $10,700 in child support agreed to in 2001, now raised to $12,301.30 to reflect cost of living increases, plus $5,000 a month toward the overdue $589,000 he already owes. For a performer, that means that once taxes and a 20 per cent commission are factored in, he has to earn $40,000 per month, he figures, before he can see a dime.
Southey’s lawyer, Jacqueline Mills, said Foley also owes arrears for private schools, mortgage payments, health care and tutoring, although she added a precise figure for those expenses did not exist.
“I have no comment on the scope of the payments, except that the arrears arose during times when Mr. Foley was making a very large income. Mr. Foley has tried to have the amounts changed a number of times, and after full hearings, his requests have been denied,” Mills wrote in an email to the Star. “Mr. Foley was ordered to provide details of his employment contracts. He has not done so, so we do not know what his income is.”
When contacted, Southey declined to comment on the story.
In the U.S., Foley is keeping busy. He’s doing standup in L.A. and sporadic TV work in the last year: a significant role recently on Desperate Housewives; last year’s Kids in the Hall miniseries Death Comes to Town; a regular voice role in the animated series Dan Vs. on U.S. cable; guest spots last year on several U.S. shows.
Foley says his U.S. TV appearances tend to pay the standard scale rate of about $7,000 per episode; it would take lot of those to raise what he needs. Given that, it’s no surprise that a new Kids in the Hall tour might also happen. He has spent a bit of time with fellow Kid Scott Thompson while the latter works on a new TV project in Los Angeles. Thompson, on his Scott Free podcast, even suggested that the two of them would soon share a standup bill together.
Foley says the standup material — “pretty dirty, pretty dark” — is coming together mostly onstage. It’s his first time doing standup since his teens.
His material has a lot of stuff about “dating as a middle-aged man.” While his material wanders into social issues and politics, any standup tour won’t cross the border into his homeland, where his fame is greatest.
As for his children in Canada, he says, “It may be time to write them a very difficult letter.”
Commentary by the Ottawa Mens Centre
It takes a Dead Beat Judge like Superior Justice Nancy Backhouse to create a Dead Beat Dad because Superior Justice Nancy Backhouse wanted to TERMINATE his relationship with his kids, by issuing a DEPORTATION ORDER FROM CANADA.
All thanks to the corrupt Superior Justice Nancy Backhouse.