Canadian comedian Ron James is an enduring entertainer in his home country, but that doesn’t mean he’s not above touring the United States with a show booked on Jan. 26 at the Bear’s Den in the Seneca Niagara Casino.
It also doesn’t hurt to visit the warmer states this time of year for a break from the cold Canadian winter.
“I’m pretty good at freeloading when you have a friend in Naples, Florida,” he said during a recent phone interview. “You just have to make sure you’re a good guest.”
James often has found work in the United States – in addition to his stand-up tours, he had a deal with Ron Howard’s Imagine entertainment company in Los Angeles – but he’s found his greatest success in Canada. He was a player in the famed Second City troupe for 10 years and appeared in several feature films and sitcoms, as well as writing for the comedy satire show, “This Hour Has 22 Minutes.” He created and starred in two television shows on Canadian networks, and recorded nine New Year’s Eve comedy specials for CBC.
“It’s remarkable what staying in the game does for your sense of satisfaction,” James said. “Life is all about the long haul. I came from working-class roots, and I think that’s what my sensibility is. Even with the benefit of the university education, I’ve always been able to relate to the every man.”
One of the things on his mind lately is getting older. James turns 60 at the end of January, and his father died last year. The topic has become a theme in his latest stand-up routine.
“A lot of my show involves Baby Boomers, whether the body is breaking down or we’re trying to make the best of the years you’ve got and a certain nostalgic deference for days gone by,” James said. “It’s all about change. (We’re) trying to find a balance of what we’re supposed to do and what we can do. We’re just trying to find the balance in the every day, so we can have the sun on our face and the wind at our backs.”
James also is looking forward to talking about the changes in society as people become addicted to binge watching and social media.
“We’ve never been more connected, but never been more apart,” he said. “Look at the average evening of family viewing: Mom’s in the living room watching her program, Dad’s in the kitchen watching his, Betty is texting Mary, and 12-year-old Billy is in the basement playing ‘World of Warcraft’ with a 47-year-old pervert from Belgium. It’s been a far cry from yelling, ‘Bonanza’s’ on everybody! You can have 20,000 Facebook friends and still be alone on a Saturday night. Nothing beats being called mediocre on Twitter by somebody who can’t spell mediocre.”
Jokes about the current state of United States politics and Canadian health care also may find their way into his performance, but ultimately, James is looking to appeal to the entire crowd.
“I hope people leave the theater a little lighter than they did going in,” he said.
8 p.m. Jan. 26 in the Bear’s Den Showroom at Seneca Niagara Casino in Niagara Falls. Tickets are $55-$65. Visit senecaniagaracasino.com