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 axe 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 left Toronto April 25 and kicked off his latest tour of B.C. in Campbell River before shuffling down the Island and making stops in the interior and on the Lower Mainland before ending the tour here in Victoria on Sunday, May 13.
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 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 a phone interview. “A lot of people lost their jobs. … I think the cuts were personal and vindictive.”
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 7 probably would have been played on the opening night of his tour.
“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.”
James 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 from 90 minutes to two hours, providing an “eclectic buffet of choices for everyone.”
Tickets start at $52.50 at the Royal Theatre. The show starts at 8 p.m. Call the Royal & McPherson Box Offices at 250-386-6121 or 888-717-6121.