Psyched to be crossing into New York state for a double gig at Seneca Casino’s 'Bear Room’. Hopefully the American border guards who watch Canadian television enjoy my work, or else I could wake up in an orange jam suit cleaning latrines in Gitmo!
Just givin'er on the road:
Ron James hits Full Throttle
CAM FULLER, SASKATOON STARPHOENIX
Published on: October 31, 2017 | Last Updated: October 31, 2017 12:18 PM CST
Ron James is back where he belongs: On the road. The comedian with literary leanings, who feels most at home in front of a live audience, is revving up for his latest sojourn with Full Throttle. He’s been touring for 15 years and has become a staple of New Year’s Eve on CBC with his comedy specials. The ninth was just recorded. Here’s James on his life and work in a few key words.
Artistic Freedom: “I’m proud of the fact that we’ve been swinging our trapline for the last 20 years across the country and there hasn’t been a corporate logo on my poster. So that gives me a little bit more leverage than most. Mind you, if one of your potash companies wants to drop a quarter of a million in advertising . . . .”
Aging: “I’m sneaking up on 60, so Full Throttle needs some help from Red Bull these days. I should have called it the Red Bull and Robaxacet tour. A long time ago, I used to end the show with two beers and make a dent in a bottle of scotch. Now I end it with Tylenol and make a dent in a bottle of Gatoraid.”
Work Ethic: “I still give an honest bang for your buck. I like to do 100 minutes to two hours on stage without a break because that’s where comedy lives the loudest.”
Negative Feedback: “I have to laugh at Tory trolls on the Internet. When I make some political point, they’ll call me a CBC stooge. Geez, I don’t think CBC even knows I’m on the network.”
Tim Horton’s: “That’s how deferential Canadians are and how desperate we are for an icon. I asked if there’s a Starbucks in small town Canada, buddy looked at me like I just tripped Terry Fox.”
First Book: Look for All Over the Map in 2019. “It’s an embrace of people and place. It’s an embrace of conversations I’ve had in coffee shops or food courts or just walking down the street. It’s about where I’m from, where I’m going and what I’ve seen and how comedy and Canada have opened my eyes to a wider world of wonders.”
Writing: “One of the things my editors have encouraged is not to feel so beholden to get laughs all the time but to flesh the thought out. So it allows me to embrace language and feeling and tone more than just a stand-up act. I think it allows me to explore themes in less a comedy manner but keeping in mind that it still has to have that balance and address the expectations of the people who are buying the book.”
The Show: “I talk about how these changes in society affect us, like Netflix. It’s a digital crackhouse. Seventy-two hours later, you’re still glued to the tube, an emaciated husk bleeding from the eyes. Forget about watching the Walking Dead, you joined them.”
You-Know-Who: “I know people are suffering Trump overkill but he’s the freak that keeps on giving. It has ramifications for us. We’re attached to a Siamese twin who’s got cirrhosis of the liver.”
Comedy: “I like to be affably subversive. That’s how Canadians, at least from my experience, my demographic, like their comedy.”
Satire: “It’s like Farley Mowat said to me once, ‘Ronny, satire is tough in Canada. We’ve got a dysfunctional deference for authority. We have to sneak in the back door and be sitting down at the kitchen table before they even know you’re in the house.’”
Louis Riel: “You know you’re doing something right when Ottawa hates your guts that long.”
Gratitude: “Just to be able to actualize my calling in this country and have made a living in it, put my girls through university and build a home and those fundamental dreams, that’s all you can ask for. For me it’s always been the road, the show and the people.”
In The Zone: “It’s the best. I don’t have the courage to surf but I’m sure if I did, it would be similar. You ride that wave of laughs. I don’t remember what day the recyclables go out but when I’m on stage and in the pocket, and the audience is there and you know they’ve come to laugh, it’s symbiotic. It’s umbilical. You’re feeding off each other. As this world gets increasingly fractured and polarized, for the two yours you’re on that stage, everybody’s on the same page.”
Ron James Full Throttle
BY JEREMY APPEL ON NOVEMBER 30, 2017
Canadian standup comic Ron James has a lot to say.
“You’ve gotta have an opinion. You’ve gotta have content. You’ve gotta have a point of view,” James told the News. “All the great comedians did.”
Still, he seeks to appeal to the widest audience possible.
“You have to strike a balance between your own artistic needs and the expectations of the audience,” James said.
“I like to stretch a pretty eclectic buffet in my standup act.”
James is performing at the Esplanade on Sunday at 7:30 p.m.
The Toronto-based comedian and actor recently finished filming his ninth CBC special, but he said that taking his show on the road is his specialty.
“I wrote the first five specials myself, and then I had my series for five years, and now this is my fourth big major theatre special that I do each season, where I take a comedic but critical look at the world and Canada at the end of the year,” said James.
“These tours that I do across the country — I’m sneaking up on my 19th year — that’s really where I poured my foundation before the CBC even knew I existed.”
He’s been “in the game” for 38 years, beginning his comedic career at the Second City in Toronto, then went to Los Angeles for a few years before returning to Canada in 1993.
He kicked off his standup career in 1995 and has been touring since 1999.
“I wanted to have control over my own words, rather than (being) an actor,” James said of his decision to move towards standup. “I got tired of waiting for the phone to ring with news of an audition.”
When he returned from L.A., James put on a one-man show called “Up and Down in Shaky Town: One Man’s Journey Through a California Dream,” which he described as “a Canadian hitting the hard wall of reality chasing the American Dream.
“Ironically, an American Dream eluding me led to me discovering a Canadian one, which was to build a career in Canada touring the country … one kilometre at a time.”
His do-it-yourself approach is a reflection of his view that Canadian comedy is inadequately promoted both inside and outside the country.
James is particularly critical of Just for Laughs, the marquee Canadian comedy festival that he said doesn’t do nearly enough to promote Canadian comics.
“They have all this federal and provincial sponsorship, but they’re more interested in providing Canadians with American and British acts than they are introducing Canadians to an American market,” he said.
“I knew at the end of the day I could do much better on my own … I could be my own act.”
Ron will make jokes out of a lot of topics
- CARLIE CONNOLLY, Nov. 29, 2017 7:30 a.m.
Comedian Ron James is heading to Red Deer on his Full Throttle tour to get crowds laughing.
James will head to Red Deer Memorial Centre Dec. 1st and 2nd.
James, who hasn’t been to Red Deer in a few years, said it will be nice to get back.
“In three years, the planet has shifted clear off its axis,” said James, making a punch at Donald Trump, saying there’s lots of mileage to be had on him, along with other politicians that happen to get in his cross hairs.
He said in his shows he likes to have a little bit for everybody, whether he’s talking about people’s addiction to Netflix, frustrations with Bell customer service, our bodies breaking down at midlife, the legalization of marijuana, his dubious hockey career in house league hockey growing up and his adventures travelling the country.
He will also, of course, deliver his customized material on the province of Alberta.
“The show that really cemented my position as a stand up in Canada was Quest for The West,” he said.
Graduating from Acadia University in 1980 with a history degree, James made his way to Toronto to get into The Second City, an improv company.
“I was with those guys for 10 years and I had great people who I worked with in those days,” he said.
He later went to Los Angeles for three years. When he got back he wrote a one-man show about his time there called Up and Down in Shaky Town which premiered on The Comedy Network.
“I moved into stand-up exclusively in ‘95 and I put the days of doing commercials and going to auditions for movies and crappy sitcoms behind me and concentrated ‘Full Throttle’ on my stand up career.”
He eventually booked his first tour by himself back in 1998/99 and moved into Shantero’s orbit (Shantero Productions Inc.) and started with six shows in eastern Ontario in ‘99.
“And here we are almost 20 years into it, and we have built this career one kilometre at a time without a corporate logo on our poster. There’s no sponsors on it.”
James, who is originally from the Maritimes currently resides in Toronto.
He said looking back, there’s been so many great moments in his career.
“Every night I’m onstage where people are laughing is as good as it gets. One room isn’t better than the other room,” he said.
One of the nicest moments he recalled was when he created a show years ago called Blackfly, which he said had a great deal of potential.
“It was a comedy that was set during the Canadian Fur Trade in the 1700s.”
He did his episodes on CBC, where you were allowed to have a b-roll, which he wrote as a parody of the Canadian history moments at the time and managed to sell it as a pilot. The pilot then got picked up with 13 half-hour episodes.
“We thought okay, we’re going to have to keep this in a fort. I remember thinking about the fort in my head and it was the first day, and I walked up and lo and behold, what had been percolating in my imagination had been made manifest by carpenters and set designers and it was a fort,” he said.
He added that was where he realized that one’s imagination can be made manifest if you stay true to your dream.
When asked what advice he would give to others, he said nothing happens overnight.
“The road takes no prisoners and comedy does not suffer fools. There are absolutely no shortcuts. Just work hard at your craft,” he added.
Headed for a swing cross the Big Wide Open with all new material for my first Western Tour in 3 years! Beginning in Saskatoon on November 2nd, I continue through Manitoba and Alberta until December 3rd.
For the full article head to http://www.fifty-five-plus.com/
RING IN THE NEW YEAR WITH AWARD-WINNING COMEDIANRON JAMES IN HIS LATEST CBC SPECIAL,
RON JAMES: TRUE NORTH
Friday, December 30 at 9 p.m. (9:30 NT) on CBC
(For immediate release – December 16, 2016 – Toronto, ON) – Look back and laugh at the year that was on Friday, December 30 at 9 p.m. (9:30 p.m. NT) with award-winning comedian Ron James in his ninth one-hour comedy special, RON JAMES: TRUE NORTH, filmed in one of James’ favourite towns, Kingston, Ontario. An encore broadcast of the much-anticipated special will air on Sunday, January 1 at 9 p.m. (9:30 p.m. NT) on CBC.
TRUE NORTH finds Ron James and his poetically charged brand of funny searching for slivers of sanity in a year so categorically ‘cuckoo’ that he watched dumbstruck as just about every nation on earth but Canada went “to hell in a hand cart.” James sends up Britain and their ‘Brexit’ decision and also shares his comedically-candid views on the results of the US presidential election.
As Canada approaches its ‘sesquicentennial,’ James examines why the country’s international reputation has never been more stellar with particular focus on Mr. Sunny Ways himself, Justin Trudeau.
Looking at the year in review, James weighs in on an eclectic tableau of subjects from the legalization of marijuana to Pokemon Go; ridiculous bathroom laws in North Carolina to indigenous water rights; the Rio Olympics as well as the role certain figures in Canadian history have played in forging Canada’s national identity.
James also addresses what he considers the ‘elephant in the room’ for 2016 – the ascension of Donald Trump to the most powerful office in the world – sparing no mercy as only Ron James can.
Ultimately, TRUE NORTH is a rollicking, impassioned and sometimes ribald celebration of Canada at its 150th year.
For further information, interviews or a screener:
Jill Spitz, Publicist (416) 482-1370 email@example.com
Simon Bassett, Publicist, CBC (416) 205-8533 firstname.lastname@example.org
A wicked hat-trick of shows in Fredericton, Saint John & Moncton kicked off my Maritime swing of 'Pedal to the Metal' Tour. The dominion of KC Irving & his capitalist clan might be draped in November grey but I'm digging the colours found in places & faces on a road called home. See you in Nova Scotia next week!
Thanks for filling the Fredericton Playhouse to capacity last night Fredericton! Had a stroll this morning by that ancient artery of a Saint John River, where First People's plied their trade since before the wheel was a rumour, where sits a memorial overlooking those waters, to that dark shadow of our colonial past. Smiling faces greet me in town. A cool coffee shop serves a great Americano. The flag of the Acadians flies over the legislature and Victory Meats serves to satiate the hungry carnivore. The Road keeps giving. Thnx Freddy. On to KC Irving's capital of commerce...Saint John.
Tickets go on sale today at the remarkably cool KINGSTON GRAND THEATRE for the November 12th and 13th filming of our 8th CBC comedy special, airing 9PM December 30th, 2016. It's an entirely new 90 minute show covering the koo-koo year of 2016, where every nation in the world except Canada seemed to be going clear off the rails. From that carnivore’s arena of American politics, where democracy was hijacked by a bullshitting, pumpkin faced demagogue, to Justin and Sophie’s selfie-struck-post-nation state on the Rideau, we cut a wide satiric swath from past to present, coast to coast and all points in between, looking to connect the dots in the chaos of a year that heralds 150 years of being us. Head to the TOUR SECTION to get your tickets. Pre-sale starts at 12PM September 20th and general tickets go on sale September 23rd at 12PM.
New Atlantic Canada tour dates have now been announced! Check out the Tour section to find out where Ron is heading next. Hope to see you there!
Head to the TOUR section for newly listed Ontario Tour Dates!
MAY 12th - Pembroke, ON
MAY 13th - Cornwall, ON
MAY 14th - Port Hope, ON
MAY 15th - Owen Sound, ON
JUNE 3rd - North Bay, ON
JUNE 4th - Sudbury, ON
JUNE 9th - Waterloo, ON
JUNE 10th - Picton, ON
I am psyched to announce two very prestigious dates in Ontario this April that went on sale / were announced yesterday: Casino Rama in Orillia & Caesars Palace at the Windsor Casino! Big rooms for a big gig! Thanks a million to these great venues for booking this Canadian comedian.
Tickets Now on Sale:
Join RON JAMES at CASINO RAMA on Saturday April 23rd at 8:00PM!
TICKETS SOON TO BE RELEASED:
RON JAMES takes the stage at THE COLOSSEUM AT CAESARS WINDSOR on APRIL 15, 2016!
PRE-SALE: JANUARY 27
PUBLIC SALE: JANUARY 30
RON JAMES AT GRAND THEATRE NOV. 5
By Joe Belanger, The London Free Press
Wednesday, October 21, 2015 7:25:49 EDT PM
Ron James knows a thing or two about getting laughs.
When it comes to politics, the award-winning comic is especially adept at getting the last laugh.
“I hope (outgoing Prime Minister) Stephen Harper has a lot of recipes for crow because he’s going to be eating it for a very long time,” said James in a telephone interview.
One of Canada’s best-known stand-up comedians, who’s bringing his new Pedal To The Metal tour to London Nov. 5 at the Grand Theatre, said it’s too early to say how the new Liberal government under Prime minister-designate Justin Trudeau will perform.
But it’s not too early to celebrate the departure of the Conservatives, whose supporters didn’t appreciate James’ jokes and rants about Harper and his “right wing, neoconservative dogma.”
“I’ve been in this business a long time and the Liberals could always take a joke, but the Conservatives never could,” said James.
“All the meanness and Islamaphobia . . . I’d tell a joke about Harper and his trolls would be all over me on Twitter and Facebook. It’s going to be nice to get back to being a lighter Canada. It’s also going to be nice to see our scientists being able to do their work using empirical evidence and people not living in fear of losing their jobs because they disagree with neo-Con dogma.”
Of course, one could forgive James for his vitriol. It was also the Conservatives whose funding cuts to the CBC resulted in the cancellation of the Ron James Show in 2014 after five years on TV.
But don’t expect the Nov. 5 show at the Grand Theatre to be all about politics.
James said it’s the job of comics to take hard looks at politicians, but also the rich, the famous, the corporate elite and others.
“I think it’s our job to be looking up (for targets) not down at the working people,” said James. “It’s our job to connect the dots, to be the everyman trying to find his balance on a rapidly changing planet, to poke at the person in the ivory tower.”
James said his new show is all new material since he was last here about 18 months ago.
“It’s all new, but if you hear something old it’s because I’m 58 now and I forgot the new stuff,” said James.
His favourite topics include technology and the entertainment options inundating society.
“Netflix is like a digital crack house,” said James. “People go on a Netflix binge watching something like The Walking Dead and after 72 hours, forget about watching — you’ve joined the walking dead.”
James, a native of Glace Bay, has been a part of the Canadian comedy scene since the early 1980s when he joined Toronto’s Second City.
He then moved to Los Angeles in the early 90s for a few years trying to break into television comedy. He returned to Canada a few years later and used the experience to create the successful stage show, Up & Down in Shaky Town: One Man’s Journey through the California Dream.
It was in stand-up comedy James found his niche and he’s been touring for the last 20 years, with the occasional stop for television, such as The Ron James Show, not to mention a series of successful CBC specials, such as the one he’ll be taping in the coming days that will be aired on CBC on New Year’s Eve at 9 p.m.
James said he’s also working on a book.
“It’s not an autobiography,” said James. “It’s a series of short stories linked by a common theme of a love of people and place, the experiences I’ve had over the last 20 years.”
An interview with Canada's funniest man, who performs at Showplace in Peterborough on October 25 and 26
by Bruce Head
Published October 17, 2015
Comedian Ron James performs at Showplace Performance Centre on October 25 and 26, which will be recorded as part of a New Year’s Eve special on CBC Television
Ron James is one of a rare breed: a successful comedian who chose to stay in Canada to pursue his dream. On October 25th and 26th, Ron will be performing two shows at Showplace in Peterborough as part of his “Pedal to the Metal” tour, and both will be recorded for a New Year’s Eve special to air on CBC Television.
When: Sunday, October 25 and Monday, October 26, 2015 at 8 p.m.
Where: Showplace Performance Centre (290 George St. N., Peterborough)
How much: $52
These performances will be recorded for a New Year’s Eve Special to be broadcast on CBC Television on Thursday, December 31, 2015.
Tickets are available at the Showplace Performance Centre box office, by phone at 705-742-7469, or onlinewww.showplace.org.
Most of us know Ron from his work in television, whether from Blackfly, Made in Canada, The Ron James Show, or his seven one-hour comedy specials. Ron has won two Canadian Comedy Awards, a Gemini Award for writing onThis Hour Has 22 Minutes, and a Genie Award nomination for best supporting actor.
He’s also made guest appearances on TV shows and in movies, done voice work for animated shows, and he’s even writing a book to be published next year by Random House.
But all that belies his many years of hard work as a stand-up comedian. As he tells me in a telephone interview from his home in Toronto, he built his career in this country “one kilometre at a time”.
Born in 1958 in Glace Bay in Cape Breton, Ron’s family moved to Halifax while he was growing up. After graduating from Acadia University, he moved to Toronto in the early 1980s where he joined Second City. In the early 1990s, he moved to Los Angeles to pursue an acting career. After three years in California, he returned to Toronto where he stayed to raise his two daughters while touring the country to earn his reputation as “the funniest man in Canada.”
I ask Ron whether growing up in the Maritimes gave him an edge in his career as a performer.
“I came from a very humorous tribe,” he says. “They were great storytellers, my relatives. On my father’s side were Newfoundlanders and on my mother’s side were Cape Bretoners. As kids, we were always encouraged to stand on a chair and sing a song or tell a story.”
“That’s where I was funny: in the kitchen or in the classroom or in the schoolyard. I came from that world of black-and-white TV with one channel, so TV wasn’t a predominant force then — which is ironic because I’ve made my living from it.”
Despite his innate talent for comedy, Ron’s family didn’t encourage him to become a comedian.
“Thirty five years ago, becoming a comedian wasn’t something that was encouraged, trust me,” he laughs. “I might as well have said that I was joining the circus to become a fire-eater.”
Perhaps that’s one reason why Ron chose to study political science and history at Acadia University in Wolfville, Nova Scotia.
As it turns out, he was fortunate to have studied at Acadia during the tenure of the late Evelyn Garbary, a Welsh-born theatre artist and writer. Garbary, who was the university’s Director of Drama at the time, was known for instilling the love of theatre arts in her students and she inspired many of them to pursue professional careers in the field.
“She encouraged me,” Ron says. “I got into theatre and did a couple of plays. I had this ability to riff and to perform. I’d have these verbal jam sessions in the evening.”
The Ron James Show – Ron talks about pest control and zombies
When I suggest that history and political science are the polar opposite of comedy, Ron disagrees.
“The arts are all about expression, the arts are all about satire — they all come from that place”, he says. “My political science and history degree were very important for what I ended up doing. It’s all about tipping the apple cart. Satire is always about looking up. You never look down and satirize, you always look up. It’s about speaking the truth to power.”
During our conversation, Ron keeps coming back to the idea of the comedian tipping the apple cart. He characterizes this as the “rebel soul”, and his own soon emerges when the conversation turns to the federal election.
I love looking down at the front row and seeing three generations of one family laugh at the same joke. That's an achievement, and I'm proud of it. It's my job to bring them all together.
“We’ve never been under a stronger Orwellian jackboot than we have been for the last eight years,” he says. “Just look at how the election has polarized this country. But you can’t chastise Stephen Harper for not being honest. He said ‘You won’t recognize this country when I’m through with it.’ There’s a politician who told the truth. Because he did, and he changed it irrevocably.”
“You have to make a decision. What do you want? Five CUPE members arguing about changing a light bulb in Mulcair’s office or five Tory stormtroopers in short pants reading your email?”
While Ron clearly has strong opinions on the matter, he doesn’t see his function as a stand-up comedian to be primarily political.
He tells me that American comedians — like Dennis Miller as the voice of the right or Bill Maher as the voice of the left (“the condescending voice of the left, quite frankly”) — can afford to alienate half of the U.S. population and still appeal to 160 million people. Not so in Canada, with its population of 33 million.
“Something I’ve learned on the road is to get the room on the same page,” he says. “You try to find subjects that can make everybody feel that we’re in this game together.”
“It’s the comedian’s job to negotiate the minefield of opinion and polarities and connect the dots in the chaos we’re all walking through, in the language of funny. For the two hours somebody is in my audience, it’s my job to make them feel at home, not to make them feel alienated.”
Like many Canadian performers before him, Ron did leave the country at one point to pursue the elusive American dream. In the early 1990s, he moved to California to become a cast member inMy Talk Show, a daily parody talk show created by members of Second City.
But the dream didn’t last long: the show was cancelled after 59 episodes and Ron found himself living the cliché of a struggling actor trying to make it in L.A.
“To make a long story short, our picture was in Newsweek on Tuesday, we were cancelled on Thursday, and on Monday I was pulling a tree out of Robert Ulrich’s front yard with my buddy’s pool-digging company.”
While Ron did find other acting jobs while in L.A., it was a struggle both professionally and financially. After a year, he decided it was time to pack it in and return with his family to Canada.
“It took a long time to shake it,” he recalls. “Sometimes in the cold days of February or March when I’m travelling the flatlands of the Prairies and it’s minus forty with this windchill coming down from the Arctic, I remember California.”
“But there’s a price to pay for paradise. I didn’t want to raise my daughters there. My kids started calling George Bush’s wife their grandmother. I said no, you’re grandmother is a sweet little lady who lives in Halifax. We’re going home.”
Still, the historically aware comedian has respect for the United States when it comes to the rebel soul.
“America was sired from two revolutions, the Revolutionary War and the Civil War, as well as a myriad number of contentious civil rights movements,” he says. “It’s a country of contention and it’s a country where the rebel soul has a place.”
“Canada had one rebel, Louis Riel, who the Conservatives hunted down 140 years ago. Neither the Liberals nor the Conservatives have ever pardoned the man. You know you’ve got to be doing something right when Ottawa hates your guts that long.”
I ask Ron whether he thinks a comedian’s job is easier or harder these days, given how blurry the line has become between satire and reality.
“It’s harder to a certain degree, because there’s just so much information out there,” he replies. “People have so many choices on how to spend their time and money. When it comes to the world, I’m just as confused as the next person. There’s so much information coming down the pipe, I expect to look out the front window and see one of the horses of the Apocalypse having a dump on my front lawn.”
“What I’m looking for, like anyone, is some semblance of sanity and quiet amidst the cacophony of voices coming down from that Tower of Babel called cyberspace.”
Ron relates what his friend, the late author Farley Mowat, once told him about satire.
“I used to visit him when I was down in Peterborough,” Ron recalls. “He was a cantankerous sage who did not suffer fools, so I felt honoured he would let me sit and have lunch with him and his lovely wife Claire. I talked to him one day and he said, ‘Ronnie, Canadians don’t trust satire. So you gotta sneak in the back door and be sitting at the kitchen table before they even know you’re in the house.'”
The Ron James Show: Wii Fit
I ask Ron why he chose to record his New Year’s Special at Showplace Performance Centre in Peterborough.
“It’s the theatre in the country that gave me a hat trick of sold-out shows,” he explains. “It’s a wonderful, intimate room where I’ve always heard the soul note singing.”
“Because of the content of this show, there’s going to be an intimacy. What Lynn Harvey and her company [Enter the Picture Productions Inc.] and the set designers and the production team are going to do at Showplace with visuals is going to knock your socks off.”
“Peterborough is a great town,” he adds. “It has the best demographic: it has rural close by, it’s got Trent University, and it’s got a downtown core. I’ve always had great shows there.”
Ron tells me that his performances at Showplace will cut a wide swatch through contemporary culture.
“We’ve got everything, from whatever’s going to happen in the election to the experience of Canadians during the election,” he says. “They call it the election of the century, and that’s appropriate because it’s taken that long. It’s about my experiences in the land and the country — I rafted through the Yukon in the summer, down the Firth River to the Beaufort Sea, surrounded by Americans who couldn’t say enough good things about the country.”
“We look at the American election, too. We dive into the Middle East. We take a look at the fraudulence of celebrity culture, and about the state of the country as a whole. It hits mid life. I tip my hat to the Me Generation as the future.”
On the last point, Ron refers to his own two grown daughters.
“My eldest runs a human rights film festival in Glasgow,” he says. “She got her masters in film and television. My youngest is at Guelph. They’re such wonderful young women. They’re inclusive, proactive, enlightened. This generation gets short shrift as being entitled from condescending Baby Boomers — the most entitled generation of all time. We spent the best years of our youth toked up and coked out while boogieing beneath a disco ball in a perm and super-wide flares and platform shoes.”
As well as the rebel soul, Ron says the show is about embracing change.
“It’s about moving forward, taking a look at the right things, and shirking fear,” he says. “You don’t want to be defiantly walking backwards to the wrong side of history, proud of your ignorance. But I want people leaving my show with a spring in their step and a smile on their face, rather than thinking the world has gone to hell in a handcart.”
Ron James: Road Between My Ears (computer rant)
My final question for Ron is what motivates him to keep touring, now that he’s in his late fifties.
“A mortgage, alimony, and the life force,” he laughs.
“I’m so fortunate to actualize my calling in a country where I chose to make my living. I built a career in the country one kilometre at a time. I didn’t do it chasing the American dream. I found it here in primal corners of the country. Whether it’s around the tip of Lake Superior when some freight train of a wind chill is rattling across the Canadian Shield, or in corners of Victoria B.C., or up in Newfoundland, face to face with 1200 kilos of nostril-drooling ungulate in Gros Morne National Park.”
“Or in Peterborough in winter, when I looked out the Holiday Inn window and saw a clown dancing on the sidewalk on a minus thirty day. I watched that clown for a half an hour and I thought ‘Ronnie, sure the road can get tedious, but you have no room to complain.'”
But his true motivation is the reaction of the audience as he embraces his rebel soul.
“I love looking down at the front row and seeing three generations of one family laugh at the same joke,” he says. “That’s an achievement, and I’m proud of it. It’s my job to bring them all together. At the same time, you’ve got to tip the apple cart. You can’t be all things to all people. It’s important to embrace the rebel soul without losing the room.”
Bruce Head is kawarthaNOW.com’s managing editor, lead developer, and a contributing writer.
When he isn’t editing or developing, Bruce enjoys making music, exercising Tess the border collie, and working on his elusive first novel.
NOW ON SALE!
brockville: october 17, 2015 @ 8:00PM
PETERBOROUGH: OCTOBER 25 & 26, 8:00pm live cbc taping for broadcast
MISSISSAUGA: OCTOBER 29, 2015 @ 8:00pm
LONDON: NOVEMBER 5, 2015 @ 8:00pm
BURLINGTON: NOVEMBER 7, 2015 @ 8:00pm
ottawa: november 12, 2015 @ 7:30PM
RICHMOND HILL: NOVEMBER 13, 2015 @ 8PM
milton: november 14, 2015 @ 8:00PM
GUELPH: NOVEMBER 15, 2015 @ 7:00pm
brantford: november 17, 2015 @ 8:00PM
KINGSTON: NOVEMBER 20, 2015 @ 7:30pm
BELLEVILLE: NOVEMBER 27, 2015 @ 8:00pm
banff, alberta: january 30, 2016 @ 7:30PM
LEDUC, ALBERTA: FEBRUARY 4, 2016 @ 7:30pm
FORT SASKATCHEWAN: FEBRUARY 5, 2016 @ 7:30pm
ST. ALBERT: FEBRUARY 6, 2016 @ 7:30PM
MORE SALE DATES TO BE RELEASED SOON...
Arctic char, caribou antlers, fossilized coral from a Devonian dawn, with a view of The Beaufort Sea atop 'Egigitsiak'. Missing the clear air and the primal hum of Ivvavik National Park, during the 'dog days of summer' in the Big Smoke.
Last post found me on Canada Day, waving my flag from Inuvik, NWT headed for a two week trip down the Firth River through Ivvavik Nat. Park. Its 10,662 square kilometres of primal country home to the 150,000 strong Porcupine Caribou herd, who cross that many kilometres of unforgiving terrain to drop their calves in Spring, through weather that would turn a Yeti back! Its where the haunting cries of peregrine falcons ride the wind and arctic wildflowers, defiant with colour in their shamelessly short shelf life, carpet a rolling tundra that's seen fellow travellers traverse its hills and valleys since a Beringia buffet had wooly mammoth on the menu! 'Ivvavik' means 'birthplace' in Inuvialuit, the tongue of the people from Canada's Western Arctic who won its preservation from oil and mining interests in a land clams settlement. There's some historic irony for ya: the people we stole the country from are the ones who are saving it! Rafting with Neil Hartling's class act of a company, Nahanni & Canadian River Expeditions, this 'bucket list scratch' had me sitting in 10,000 year old tent rings listening to the wind sing a holy soul note while gazing cross a vast and mighty plain where people once pulled a living from with nothing but bone, stone and sinew. That being said, I'm glad I had a couple of Mars bars to stem the 'growlies' cause if I had to depend on filling my stomach that way, I'd of eaten my own thumbs for supper. It was worth every penny and I'd do it again tomorrow.What odds by'?! Life is short. Get out there and marvel cause Canada is some cool!
I kinda look like a French foot soldier on the Plains of Abraham in this outfit but given such a day, wearing the 'funny hat' was a small price to pay for such a humbling and prestigious honour.
During all those years spent chasing a living cross the Big Wide Open, I never EVER figured a boon such as this was on its way. I always felt the greatest reward of 'the work', was having an opportunity to do ‘the work’ and take it seriously enough to get good at it. Actually making a living doing what I wanted to do, in the country I chose to live, was victory enough.
That being said, I guess its official: I'm a 'doctor' now. So, when someone yells out in a crowded restaurant, subway, or plane- 'Help! Is there a doctor here?! This man is having a heart attack!' I'll be able to say- 'As a matter of fact, I'm a doctor'…and then because I have the skills, I'll run like a monkey.
So here's to all those people I worked with in the 'trenches of funny' over the years: the agents, actors, comedians, writers & producers, particularly Terry McRae of Shantero Productions & Lynn Harvey of ETP. Here's to every audience member seated in the dark, who came to ‘lighten their load’ and coughed up the coin to fill those rooms that fed my own... here's to friends and family here and ‘back home’, who kept the faith and ‘had my back’ in times of need. But most importantly, thanks to my daughters Cayley & Gracie and their mother June, who weathered so many winter nights alone when I was ‘on the road’.
Link to Ron's speech to Acadia's Graduating Class of 2015: http://livestream.com/45north/events/4037216/videos/86772031