CAMPBELL RIVER — Ron James knows why he made the cut.
“It’s not because the prime minister loves me,” says one Canada’s favourite comics.
While other CBC-TV shows got the ax when the federal Conservative government decided to hatchet away the Crown corporation’s funding, James’ half-hour bucket of laughs The Ron James Show survived.
Here’s how in his own words, “We’re cheap.”
Of course there’s far more to that than just a “cheap laugh.”
“And we deliver!” he adds.
James, of course, is referring to laughs, not pizza.
But just in case the bean counters change their mind and ask James to deliver hot pies on Friday night, he’s getting the heck out of Hogtown.
James leaves Toronto will kick off his latest tour of B.C. on Thursday in Campbell River at the Tidemark Theatre before shuffling south to Courtenay for a Friday night engagement at the Sid Williams Theatre.
The Island crowds have always been big fans of James thoughtful, insightful and rapid-fire style of humour. He returns to the Island every couple of years, but he’s usually so busy he doesn’t have to time to have his own fun.
That’s changing on this trip west. He has a couple days off, so he’s planning to hire a salmon fishing charter, just to cast a line and chill out on the water.
He’ll need the down time because James is still hot with the feds for slashing arts funding.
“You know, all we artists do is bring $11 billion into this country,” He says with a sigh during the phone interview. “A lot of people lost their jobs…I think the cuts were personal and vindictive.”
But on a completely different note, the Toronto Maple Leafs fan was glad to see the Vancouver Canucks bounced in round one of the playoffs. And, no, it’s not because James despises the ‘Nucks, it’s because if they kept winning, game seven probably would have been played on Thursday night when he opens his first show.
“They sure gave us some wiggle room,” he says with a laugh. “I believe in the Leafs which is like believing in the immaculate birth … both are a bit of a stretch.”
He’s rooting for the Ottawa Senators know (“because they’re Canadian”) but hasn’t embraced this year’s style of anything-goes hockey.
“Am I watching hockey or a cage match?” he wonders aloud. “And you’ve got a guy like Chara out there who’s 7’2″ on skates. It’s like having a villain from a James Bond movie!”
James’ standup routines run fro 90 minutes to two hours, providing an “eclectic buffet of choices for everyone.”
Ron James…Live opens Thursday at the Tidemark Theatre in Campbell River and Friday at the Sid Williams Theatre in Courtenay. Tickets are $51 at the box offices and both shows start at 8 p.m. Call the Tidemark at 250-287-7465 or call the Sid at 250-338-2430, ext. 1.