Ron James is no stranger to Chatham. The iconic Canadian comedian has been to the city before, and he returns to the Chatham Capitol Theatre on Thursday (March 22) for an all-new show. But this doesn’t mean he’ll soon forget his most memorable performance in the city when he played The Kiwanis Theatre in the Chatham Cultural Centre.
“I had a bat chance me once, that was something you don’t forget,” James told YQG Rocks just before he left Halifax to start his new tour. “It was one of my first gigs in the old theatre. After 45 minutes of being chased by the bat, I came back out and told everyone the bat isn’t around anymore. This gave a guy in the third row a heart attack. I know a comedian wants to kill, but there’s a limit to everything.”
For the last 20 years, James has hit the road across Canada from coast-to-coast and has amassed a rather large amount of trivia about this great country.
“I’ve been in the business for 38 years and I’ve been in stand-up comedy itself for 25,” James said. “I think I know more than any Canadian comedian out there, because I’m the only one stringing my trap line from Coast to Coast for the last 20 years. We really struck the template that Just for Laughs eventually followed and I’ve done nine National Specials. My first five one-hour specials were customized around different regions of the country, but my last four had to deal with Canada and the world at large.”
He’s currently making his way across the 401 and deep into Southwestern Ontario:
“I have encore dates up and down the 401 this month. In fact, I have seven encore dates, so this has been amazing ride. I’ve sold out in 90% of the markets I play and I’m grateful for that. I really want to tip my hat to the Canadian audiences who come out to support my work over the years, because it’s those guys who have built the brand together with me.”
That “Ron James” brand is well-known throughout the country. He’s been anointed Comedian of the Year at the Canadian Comedy Awards, created and stared in two television series, ‘Blackfly’ on Global and ‘The Ron James Show’, that ran for five years on CBC. He’s also widely known for his past New Year’s specials on CBC and for movie roles in films such as Tommy Boy and Ernest Rides Again.
“Even after all I’ve done, I still look forward to hitting the road every year,” he said. “They say that comedy is a young man’s game, but that couldn’t be further from the truth, because you really don’t hone your perspectives until you have some years under your belt. You really don’t get comfortable in your own skin until you follow your craft for a while and apply it to your show.”
James is excited to return to the little city on the Thames and perform at a bat-free Capitol Theatre on Thursday, March 22 at 7:30pm. Tickets are $55 and are available online or at the Chatham Capitol Theatre box office.