Television is always good for a laugh.
But nothing compares to the thrill of live comedy, says comedian Ron James.
Ron James returns to Chilliwack May 14 with his Take No Prisoners show at the Chilliwack Cultural Centre.
“I genuinely enjoy the work,” he says.
He poured the foundation for his TV success by logging the miles over the years, living the “road warrior” show-biz dream.
Criss-crossing Canada for the comedic good, James has been “travelling this land mass for 15 years.”
Yet he tells the Progress from his Toronto home that he never despairs when it’s time to “step around the big curtain” to make the audience laugh in person.
He’s known for his poetic panache, and rapid-fire delivery. He adores the grunting, wheezing and knee-slapping of his fans.
With six comedy specials, and the Ron James Show TV series entering a fifth season, he’s busy doing what he does best.
“It’s like pulling gold from straw,” he says about comedy writing. “You don’t know where the funny comes from. It’s alchemy.”
He points to longstanding success of Canadian comedians like Rick Mercer and the cast of This Hour Has 22 Minutes.
“I tip my hat to them. Longevity is the mark of a good one.”
Some new material is what he’ll be bringing to B.C. this time around.
“The exciting thing about this particular tour is that it was inspired by the likes of George Carlin, Chris Rock, and Lewis Black,” he said.
They’re comedy writers who have grown into their comedic maturity with a strong point of view.
Over the years on the road, James has been transformed from a “wide eyed troubadour” to offering the “quintessentially Canadian” perspective on things.
“It’s still my job is to tip the apple cart, not ride on it. Gotta be the iconoclast.
“I think the TV show has encouraged me to mature in that way.”
He tries to keep it fresh.
“It’s important not not to allow yourself to become too gentrified, or doing cookie-cutter shows.”
Topics he takes on include everything from family to the federal government, customer service and professional sports, to what it’s like on the elusive pursuit of happiness.
One of his favourite rants is about hitting the wall at middle age.
“I’m trying to make the best of this long journey. But I’m always shocked at how everything changes in a nanosecond.”
He also riffs on visiting pandas, international conflict, trash TV, religion, sex, Hell or even apocalyptic weather. Whatever it takes to lighten the load of the daily grind.
Ron James ‘Take No Prisoners’ show, May 14 at the Chilliwack Cultural Centre, 7:30 p.m. Tickets 604-391-7469 or at the box office.