Old School Americana & Nostalgia

People

Dan Aykroyd Recalls Nightmarish Childhood Experience of Seeing 7 Dead Bodies

Dan Aykroyd Recalls Nightmarish Childhood Experience of Seeing 7 Dead Bodies

Dan Aykroyd’s career has spanned across television and movies with great success, yet it’s not always been cheerful. No one really knows what type of experiences will shape a young person’s life. For Aykroyd, he would go from a thrilling experience on stage to a harrowing one off it.

Mind you, Aykroyd was still a young child when this took place.

The Saturday Night Live and Ghostbusters veteran comedian and actor stopped by to chat with Dana Carvey and David Spade on their podcast, Fly on the Wall. Aykroyd picks up the story here.

“I’m in grade three,” Aykroyd said, “they’re doing an Irish St. Patrick’s Day concert and they compelled me to learn ‘McNamara’s Band.’ They put me in a green bowler and a green vest and green pants and leprechaun shoes.

Dan Aykroyd Remembers Feeling He Got From Performing

“I get to the end and give the tap dance finish, and they’re howling, the crowd. ‘Whoa. Really? You like that that much?’” Aykroyd said, according to EW.com.

By this time, he’s enjoying the feeling that he’s entertained some people. With that comes a bit of a natural high. Aykroyd was probably feeling good about himself. Then, his friends come along and they have some different ideas.

“Two of my friends come up and say, ‘Hey, that was nothing, man,’” he said. Aykroyd then equated his friends to “the bad donkeys in Pinocchio.”

What did they have in mind? They decided it would be a good idea if they showed a macabre sight to Aykroyd. They took the young boy across the street to a funeral home. By the way, Aykroyd was raised in Canada.

“I go from the elation of singing ‘McNamara’s Band’ and getting cheered to, two minutes later, walking into the funeral home where seven bodies are laid out,” Aykroyd said. “A family that had drowned in a car the night before. Seven. The father, the mother, the brothers, the sisters.

Tragic Sight’s Feelings Remain With Him Today

“They bring me from euphoria to whoa,” Aykroyd said. The comedian-actor can still, to this day, remember what he saw and sensed at that time. “I didn’t do any jigs for years and years afterward,” he said. “That turned me right off performance.”

While it might have led him away from performing for a bit, that wasn’t permanent. Aykroyd, as a teenager, kept working on his improvisation skills. Eventually, all of his work would lead him to work at Second City. Ultimately, his path crossed with John Belushi, Aykroyd’s comedy and musical brother. Aykroyd also had the good fortune of meeting a young Lorne Michaels before he would go off and develop NBC’s Saturday Night. That turned into Saturday Night Live.

The rest is history.