MARITIMES - Comedian Ron James is returning to his old stomping grounds to tour new material in venues across the Maritimes.
“How can you not love this work? You get to walk out on stage, sing your song for people who are ready to laugh.”
James lives with his family in Toronto and says that he’s eager to come home.
“There’s definitely a taste for life there,” said the famed comedian from Glace Bay. “That’s one thing you forget when you live in this fishbowl of media overload in Toronto.”
Finding a Voice
James’ comedy career really took flight in 2000 with the successful television show, Blackfly. Before that he received wide recognition for his standup comedy special Up & Down in Shaky Town: One Man’s Journey through the California Dream.
It was during his 3-year stint in Los Angeles where James first watched the legendary Scottish comedian, Billy Connolly.
“In 1991, I was church mouse poor, and I saw his special on HBO,” said James, who got to meet Connolly years later, and received some advice which he has taken with him everywhere since.
“‘Just sing your song’ he said. Sing your song. He meant life as it is. Its lumps, its bumps, bruises, failures and wonders. Just be you. That’s what he was saying. Just be you.”
Today the veteran funny man says that writing new material is still a challenge, but that 20 years in the business has given him a good sense of where to find gold.
“You know how to read the land. Like a geologist. He might not find gold every time, but he knows how to go looking for it,” said James in a phone interview.
“Talk about what you know, and what you feel. Talk about what’s wrong, and what can be made right.”
“So many young comedians want to get the right people to see them and they want the right doors to open. When, really, what you want to do is concentrate on getting good,” he said.
James is the first person to point out that he hasn’t got it all figured out, but he hopes that his blunt satire and down to earth style will appeal to everyone who comes out to see him.
“As the world gets increasingly heavy, it behooves the comedian to carry the knap-sack for a while and lighten the road,” he said.
“If you want a sermon, go somewhere else,” said James.
“My mandate is the same as any performer. Give them a show. I think that’s what keeps me going. That, and a couple of Red Bull.”
The venues include:
Th’YARC in Yarmouth on Nov. 20 (902) 742-8150
Astor Theatre in Liverpool on Nov. 21 (902) 354-5250