A funny thing happened to Ron James on his way to becoming a teacher.
Born in Glace Bay, N.S., and raised in Halifax, James attended Acadia University with the goal of becoming an English teacher. The siren’s call of comedy proved too strong, however, and upon graduation he moved to Toronto and signed up with famed Second City improvisational troupe.
Following brief spots in filmed-in-Canada TV shows ( SCTV, Night Heat) and films ( Head Office, Goofballs), James relocated in the early 1990s to Los Angeles, where he appeared as a guest on shows such as Get A Life, Wings and Sisters. He came home for good in 1993 and promptly turned his L.A. experience into the one-man stage show Up & Down in Shaky Town: One Man’s Journey Through the California Dream, which played to acclaim at theatres across the country.
James also starred in the short-lived TV series Blackfly and was a regular on the CBC comedy Made in Canada. Most of his creative energy these days goes into The Ron James Show, also on CBC, with the occasional break to watch certain TV programs, like these three current favourites.
I’m a western fan from way back, and I love how this series brings the form into the modern age without using spaceships or killer robots. The show so brilliantly portrays an amoral world where anything goes; it always makes me look back fondly on the times I’ve played Fort McMurray.
Louis C.K .
Louis C.K. is the comic’s comic. The man is fearless and his show is the most unique thing on television today. Louis stars, directs, writes every script, edits, produces and makes all the meals for the crew from scratch. All right, I made that last part up but my point is, the guy is inspiring.
The Nature of Things
You can’t go wrong with this classic. For years I’ve admired what David Suzuki has done for television and the planet. I just wish I wouldn’t keep running into him at the CBC Broadcast Centre every time I’m holding a foam cup or non-recyclable juice box.
The Ron James Show returns Sept. 16 at 8 p.m. on CBC.