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Canadian comedy veteran keeps on evolving

Ron James plays Fraser Auditorium June 4
Canadian comedy vet Ron James will perform at the Fraser Auditorium in Sudbury on June 4. Supplied photo.

To last in show business as long as Ron James has, you have to be willing to adapt and change.

That was the message from the Glace Bay, Nova Scotia native ahead of his tour stop in Sudbury during his “Pedal to the Metal” tour that will hit the Fraser Auditorium on June 4.

“You have to set a standard for yourself to constantly be feeding the audience new material,” said James.

“In a world that is constantly changing, your material should be changing as well.”

James played the first leg of the Ontario portion of his tour during the first two weeks in May, and he will kick off the second leg in North Bay, before making stops in Sudbury, Waterloo and Picton.

The Canadian comedy vet has been in the business for the better part of three decades, working at The Second City back in the 1980's.

He is a two-time Canadian Comedy Awards winner for Best Stand-up (2000) and Best One Person Show for his stand-up show The Road Between My Ears in 2004.

Life on the road and touring is a major source of inspiration as far as James' act goes, which evolves and changes throughout the course of every tour.

“I keep 25 different journals in front of me and I'm constantly going over new material and trying it out,” said James.

“I'll mix in some of my old stuff in there as well, but there's times where I'll go back and look at my journals and I'll have written down that I leaned a bit too much on older stuff, so I'm always trying to make tweaks. I really go from page to stage.”

James is also in the process of writing his first book “All Over the Map”, which will be released in 2017 by Random House.

He will also be performing his eighth comedy special with CBC this November, and the special will air on Dec. 30.

Timing was very important for James' next standup special as he wanted to have it after the United States election and give himself the time to write new material. Political humour is something that the 58-year-old has never shied away from, though his material has taken on a lighter tone of late.

“I got quite a lot of mileage out of the 10 years of Stephen Harper,” said James.

“It seem like the country was under the cloud of Mordor for 10 years, but now with Justin (Trudeau) the country as a whole seems to think a bit lighter of ourselves, but I'm working some stuff in about Justin as he starts have his issues.”

True to his mantra, James doesn't keep his material stictly political and he works constantly to keep up to date with the latest news and trends, while staying true to his distinctly Canadian style.

“I cover everything from playing house league hockey growing up, to my frustrations with Bell customer service and to a canoe trip in Killarney, I've got material on travelling in the Yukon, it's all rich in Canadiana but it's also about this rapidly changing planet we're on,” said James.

“I'm talking about everything from iPhones to juicing fads, and every day it seems you open the paper and there's something new that's going to kill you. Really what the show is about is an attempt to find balance on ground that's constantly shifting beneath your feet.”

For more on Ron's tour check out his website.

For tickets to the June 4 show at Fraser Auditorium, click here.


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