Legendary Canadian comedian Ron James blows into Barrie on March 30 and brings with him his wide array of topics to laugh at, including stories from the road.
James, 65, has been a staple of the Canadian comedy scene for more than 25 years, performing on TV and stage as well as writing books.
Speaking over the phone while visiting his mother at her home in Halifax, James says while his tour is about to start, there's no real downtime.
“You don’t really take time off before a tour. I’ve been writing new material as the world continues to change. You know, reflecting on it," he said. "I don’t believe I've been back to Barrie since before COVID came calling.”
His last stop was indeed March 2019 and he’ll do it again on March 30 at the Georgian Theatre.
The comedian's performances are known for being a non-stop, quick-witted festival of laughter.
And he admits he isn’t someone who likes to sit still, even during the worldwide lockdowns.
“It was certainly a shift to the psychic paradigm, to say the least. But I’d be damned if a plague was going to scuttle the now 25 years next year that I put into stand-up comedy,” James said. “I did shows live from my living room when COVID first hit, one was called Hindsight is 2020.
"I did a few corporate gigs, which were weird, because you couldn't see anybody or hear any laughs. It was like my career had come full circle to my first year in stand-up comedy when the room would go quiet on a joke I thought would just kill," he added.
James has been on popular TV shows such as Royal Canadian Air Farce, Blackfly and even his own The Ron James Show that lasted from 2009 until 2013.
He also talked about writing his own book and being proud of being up for a prestigious award handed out annually in Orillia.
“I was nominated for a Stephen Leacock Memorial Medal for Humour and that kept me focused," he said. "Whenever I would meet someone and they’d say something, I’d write in my journals and my book, All Over the Map: Rambles and Ruminations from the Canadian Road.
"That book really reinforced to me, during the last three years, that moments matter. Those people were giving me a window into their world, or seeing me through a window of my little world here in the Maritimes," James added.
James staunchly defended Canadian humour in his conversation, citing a recent 100 best Canadian books list that had several different categories but left off humour.
“One of this country’s greatest exports — humour — never got a category. There you have at the 2022 Stephen Leacock Awards, myself up against several funny people, but in particular Rick Mercer, a man whose presence on television has been iconic for 25 years," he said. "He won the Leacock for his book. As well as the extremely funny Mark Critch, the runner-up.
“You’ve got people plying their trade coast to coast, from the stories of the big wide open and they’re not recognized? There was a pretentiousness to it.”
There are few in the country who haven’t seen James perform or know of him at least in passing, but for those who aren't aware of his shows, he explained what you’ll see.
“I talk about everything from the pandemic and the last few years, all the things we saw and endured," he said. "I talk about life across the country and even touch on the effect of the big orange mutant on the world."
That would be Donald Trump.
Never one to shy away from political humour, James calls himself an “equal opportunity offender.” James says the prime minister was "born with a silver spoon in his mouth" while the opposition leader is "smug" and "opportunistic."
The Barrie show begins at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are available by clicking here.