After an almost two year hiatus from performing, stand-up comedian Ron James is raring to pace the floorboards of stages across the country again.
“I’m like a Labrador retriever the first day of duck hunting season,” he said. “Let me out of the house and put me in the boat, man.”
On Nov. 3, James performed in Sydney, Nova Scotia for the first time since the pandemic began. After a whirlwind tour of the Maritime provinces, he will stop off in Toronto briefly before making his way west to B.C. for a number of stops, including five on Vancouver Island, one of which is at the Cowichan Performing Arts Centre in Duncan on Nov. 23.
Expect James to be needling his Vancouver Island audience fondly. Show-goers can expect a good-natured teasing about their lifestyle.
“It’s not like I’m perpetuating stereotypes, but there is a sensibility that you’re walking in the elven fields of nevermore, milking your unicorns,” he joked.
As he is wont to do, James will interject his funnier material with commentary on issues he deems important.
“I’ll certainly be making some comments on Fairy Creek and the protest there on one of the last great stands of old growth,” he said. “I care about issues like that.
“As much as I’ll have fun with the audience, I think it’s also my job to rock the apple cart and hold power to account.”
That being said, he realizes people come to his show for a measure of relief.
“I like people leaving the theatre a hell-of-a-lot lighter than when they walked in. I don’t think it’s my job to put another brick on their back.”
While taking a break from making folks laugh in-person, James took the time to put some of his thoughts on paper.
Published in September, All Over the Map: Rambles and Ruminations from the Canadian Road, is already a national best seller.
“It allowed me to find an emotional arc for a lot of my stories that my stand-up act didn’t allow,” James said.
“I was able to give my fans and newfound audience members a soul note of the country that has been so good to me, and that I have enjoyed travelling all these years.”
Don’t expect James to ease back into what made him famous, however.
“When you come to the show, wear your laughing pants, because if the ushers aren’t wiping the seats down after I’m done, I haven’t done my job.”
The Ron James Back Where I Belong tour includes stops in:
• Victoria’s Royal Theatre, Nov. 20
• Campbell River’s Tidemark Theatre, Nov. 22
• Duncan’s Cowichan Performing Arts Centre, Nov. 23
• Nanaimo’s Port Theatre, Nov. 25
• Courtenay’s Sid Williams Theatre, Nov. 26.