On Friday, Canadian comedian Ron James takes his talents to the Vic Juba Community Theatre in Lloydminster, as his Pedal to the Metal Tour carries on.
“I’ve got a simple mandate,” James said. “If the ushers aren’t wiping the seats down after I’m finished, I haven’t done my job.”
The Nova Scotia native is nearing the end of the Western Canada portion of his tour. He’ll make one final stop in Yorkton, Sask., following his show at the Vic Juba theatre. James, who has won multiple comedy awards throughout his career, has also enjoyed success in television. However, he thrives on-stage, where the weight of corporate standards are absent.
James prefers his own standards, which he says include two straight hours of comedy in which he covers a wide range of topics without any breaks.
“Humour that relates to everybody,” he said of his act. “I like the plumber and the professor sitting side-by-side to be laughing at the same thing, so I try to have a little bit for everybody.”
Nearly 60 years of age, James has sold out many theatres in North America over the last 15 years. Despite his status as a headliner in larger markets, James said he enjoys touring through Canada’s less populated cities.
“I’ve sold out the Winspear Centre with 2,000 seats two nights in a row. I’ve sold out the Jack Singer, I’ve sold out thousand-seaters just as much as I’ve sold out the small theatres. And everybody matters. That’s why I’m coming to Lloydminster. Because everybody likes to laugh,” he said.
It’s been a while since James performed at the Vic Juba Community Theatre. He said he’s looking forward to gracing its stage and audience once again.
“Every place has its own unique sense of personality. Every place has its own way of walking through the world. And I guess when you’ve got a theatre on a tour – I haven’t been to Lloydminster in quite some time – you want to be able to try to get a feel for whatever it is that makes the place tick. That’s why I’m coming, because it’s got a wonderful little theatre.”
He’s accumulated enough experience in the entertainment industry to have seen it all, yet the award-winning comedian still finds himself admiring others in the business he shares.
“I look up to anybody who’s funny,” he said. “I was just in New York, I saw a comedian by the name of Dave Attell and I laughed so hard at his act that he bought me a drink. So yeah, I look up to great ones. Anybody who’s good and proficient at their craft gets my respect; anybody who’s lazy, doesn’t.”
“Lazy” is the one name James refuses to be called, as the name of the Pedal to the Metal Tour intimates.
“Just like I put the pedal to the metal on the highways, I put the pedal to the metal on stage and give the audience a two-hour show without a break. So when I hit the stage, I’ll be putting the pedal to the metal. No commercials, no nothing and it’s so different than my television show because I can say what I want without the CBC rapping my knuckles.”