TORONTO — Dan Aykroyd is on the line from his home in Frontenac County in Eastern Ontario, “holed up, hunkered down,” adhering to physical distancing rules of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“It’s fine. I’ve got a nice house, and a nice backyard,” says the Oscar-nominated comedy star, who was born and raised in Ottawa.
“There are some that don’t have the luxury of space, and so I think of people in apartments and cities. And of course, I’m just so mindful of everybody that I’m hearing about out there that are still going to work — they can’t stay home, they don’t have the luxury to stay home, all these essential services people.
“So I’m very grateful thinking about them along the lines, and counting myself very fortunate that I’ve got a nice spacious place to at least walk around.”
The Emmy Award-winning “Saturday Night Live” alum is gearing up for the May 15 launch of T+E’s new original series “Hotel Paranormal,” which he narrates.
Aykroyd has long had a passion for paranormal events, and of course has parlayed that into co-writing and starring in films in the “Ghostbusters” franchise.
The release of the next instalment, Canadian-born director Jason Reitman’s “Ghostbusters: Afterlife,” has been postponed to 2021 due to the novel coronavirus.
“It’s the closest thing to an alien invasion that we’ll see in our lifetime,” Aykroyd said of COVID-19.
The disease is like “a zombie walking the Earth,” wanting to kill humans, he added.
“I think the best thing to do is stay in and let’s keep doing what we’re doing.”
During the pandemic, Aykroyd said he’s been finishing up his narration for “Hotel Paranormal” and watching a lot of television, including the recent “Saturday Night Live at Home” episodes featuring the cast members performing from their homes.
“I think ‘SNL’ doing an online show was a brilliant choice and was executed beautifully,” he said.
“That kind of brought everybody into the experience. This is our life now for a while universally, and here we had people working from home and doing it an exemplary fashion that was funny and struck all the right chords as to how we should view this crisis, from a humorous perspective anyway.”
Aykroyd noted he’s been lucky to have travelled extensively around the world through his career as a performer and also for his Crystal Head Vodka business.
“I see these great metropolitan areas and the culture and how important it is for us as humans to socialize, and how vital it is,” he said.
“Governments and science, medical science, are not going to solve this at this moment. We cannot rely on medical science or government to lift this black swan that has sailed in to ruin our ambitions and dreams and hope.”
What we can rely on is “doing what we’re doing,” Aykroyd said.
“The people are going to win this. By respecting the protocols and staying in, like we’re all doing, that will give science and governments a buffer to get going and figure out a vaccine and antibody tests that are universal.”
This report by The Canadian Press was first published May 8, 2020.
Victoria Ahearn, The Canadian Press