July 16th, 2024

Ron James hits Lethbridge for post-restrictions comedy tour

By Al Beeber - Lethbridge Herald on November 19, 2022.

Submitted photo Comedian Ron James will be performing at the Yates on Nov. 22 and 23.

LETHBRIDGE HERALDabeeber@lethbridgeherald.com

It’s been said that laughter is the best medicine and comedy fans can expect Ron James to prove that adage right when he plays two shows at the Yates Theatre this month.

The irreverent Canadian funnyman will be performing at the downtown venue on Nov. 22 and 23. He’s looking forward to returning to the Yates where he hasn’t appeared since before the massive renovations at the theatre.

A star not only of the comedy stage but also television, James is back on the road and loving every minute being face-to-face with audiences again.

“What I wanted to do in this next show, I wanted to encourage people to laugh at this backburner of anxiety that seems to be simmering on everybody. Everything’s a little bit of out of control and to find some kind of balance, that’s been one of the great things about doing standup over the years. And I’ve been on stage during some very volatile times. Shortly after 9/11 I was on stage, I was on stage during the last referendum when I was a young comedian. I was on stage during the Afghan war and all those things and then of course during Trump’s ascension, and now during this schism in Canada where we inherited the rancid effluvia that flowed north from Washington. And there’s climate change and the war overseas and then there’s of course rising inflation,” said James in a telephone interview from a roadside stop in Quebec.

“There’s just so much to worry about I want to get people laughing again.”

As soon as COVID restrictions lifted, James was back on the road. He was in B.C. shortly after the massive floods there and “I would have worked for free I was so happy to be out there. And everybody else was happy, too. They were just sitting shoulder-to-shoulder, laughing their worries away and this is what we missed more than anything. Just being together and recognizing how human we are. Because everything else we realized during the pandemic, it was a time for recalibration and re-evaluating what matters most.

“And what matters most is our collective humanity, not our differences,” said James.

“Everything else is just a spoiler on a Dodge Neon,” he added.

James has a huge fondness for western Canada and southern Alberta, in particular.

“I love the West. I’m not just saying that. I find driving through southern Alberta, that will get the most rabid of atheists singing hymns for God,” said James who loves going to the Writing-On-Stone area calling it “magical, haunting, beautiful country. And to go further south from Lethbridge of course, to Waterton, that’s where the wind is born. That’s incredible country.”

A huge geography fan, James said he gets “really stoked” about the subject as well as climate and the history of people and place.

During COVID, he wrote a bestseller that was just released Nov. 1 on paperback called “All Over the Map: Rambles and Ruminations from the Canadian Road.”

Alberta is featured “an awful lot” in the books, says James, calling the province the promised land, adding it meant so much to so many Atlantic Canadians and was instrumental in helping him build a house in Toronto.

During the pandemic, James did three shows from his living room, one called “Hindsight is 2020” which had 3,700 viewers from across the world.

“People made an effort to tune in and laugh. We had some great jokes, too,” added James.

“I adapted to it (the pandemic) and I was glad I did. As I say, the pandemic was a recalibration of our value system, I think. I loved how in the beginning we were all in this together then we watched America self-destruct with so many deaths – over a million – and the divisiveness.

“Then I had an epiphany – when ‘me’ trumps ‘we’ everybody loses. I loved the sense of community when people would have these block parties and keep their distance and how we were so supportive of nurses and doctors and front-line workers,” added James, recalling how people banged pots and pans to show that support.

“Those are the things that we should remember before we got exhausted and emotionally spent by the length of the pandemic because by all reports, it’s not going to be the last one,” said the 65-year-old James.

“It’s so wonderful to see people smiling again,” he said of audience reactions to his tours.

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