California dreaming leads to Canadian dream

NANAIMO – Comedian Ron James performs at the Port Theatre on May 12.

It took some very hard lessons south of the border for comedian Ron James to realize his Canadian dream.

“It was tough for awhile but I persevered like all of us do in this line of work,” James said.

It was extremely tough for James, who spent nearly five years in Los Angeles during the 1990s trying to make it big in the sitcom game and often experienced rejection.

“Whatever tries to kill you makes you stronger,” James said, laughing.

Although he struggled in California, James return to Canada and experienced a wealth of success as a highly respected standup comedian.

James will be in the Harbour City cracking jokes at the Port Theatre on May 12 as part of his Take No Prisoners tour. The Nova Scotian is looking forward to returning to one of his favourite venues.

“It’s always a great room for me,” James said. “I love it there. It’s almost like I am coming home … the Island was one of the first places beyond the great divide that came out large for me.”

Anyone who takes in the standup routine can expect a take-no-prisoners type of show, with James touching on a variety of topics, from Tim Hortons to B.C.’s fixation with liquefied natural gas.

“I look at the politics. I like to customize stuff about B.C. I like to connect the dots and try to make sense of the chaos we’re all walking through in the language of funny,” James said.

From 1990 until 1993 James spent his time getting small roles on television in L.A., but was mostly rejected and often broke.

He decided to return to Canada become a standup comedian, which turned out to be a prudent move.

“I saw what the world had to offer..” James said. “I wasn’t getting enough work as an actor and I was tired of depending on other people to feed my family.”

Over the past 15 years, James has gone on to win multiple awards and have his own television series, The Ron James Show.

“The hard and fast lessons that I learned down there chasing the sitcom grail were instrumental in me getting my Canadian dream,” James said.