Mr. James, take a bow. You earned it.
On the final Monday of April, a nearly packed house showed up at Kelowna Community Theatre and hooted and hollered their way through a comedy goldmine of one-liners and raucous storytelling courtesy of a feisty fireball named Ron James. Not to be confused with hoopster LeBron James, this hilarious (and much shorter and pudgier) Ron James has been heralded by some as “the funniest man in Canada” and a “comedic genius” by many others.
Every witty adjective works. This fella was delightfully devious with his delivery. This fella was fabulously fresh when satirizing modern culture. This fella worked for nearly two hours straight and only needed a few sips of water to fuel his rapid-fire repertoire on the third stop of his Pedal to the Metal Tour.
You get my drift. James hit the empty stage with a microphone in hand and took off into the Okanagan night like the mother of all bombs. He started strong, hit his intended target with maximum impact, and left an indelible impression. This was a polished act perpetrated by a polished stand-up who hadn’t appeared in Kelowna for about three years.
Making up for lost time, the 58-year-old wisecracker’s first few minutes were spent praising the beauty of the local region and a memorable trip to the nearby “pyramid” winery. Then he took a few shots at hockey mouthpiece Don Cherry and praised the Edmonton Oilers for advancing in the playoffs. Game on. No topic or person appeared off limits. James was just getting warmed up.
Over the ensuing 115 minutes, he veered all over the material-rich roadmap. He took jovial jabs at politicos such as Justin Trudeau, Christy Clark, and Donald Trump. He railed about wine snobs, fancy juicers, and Tim Hortons. He joked about his own snoring, being garden gnome-like in build, and how at certain times at home he “needs his glasses to find his glasses.”
He called Netflix a “digital crack house.” He opined about being back in the dating pool and the boudoir demands placed upon him by younger women as well as the digestive-system perils of being in a body-twisting yoga class. He touched on growing up with midget wrestling, hand-me-down hockey skates, and summer camp capers. Almost every bon mot was razor-sharp and got a rise out of the paying customers.
Did I mention the audience laughed a lot? I mean A LOT. And mostly non-stop. James’ roll-with-the-punches attitude and spot-on diatribes were infectious. Wife Elaine said her belly was sore from all the laughing she did. Our row chuckled almost the entire evening. The show was that side-splitting good!
Big Finish – I would be shocked if anyone in attendance didn’t go home happy. Nobody got gypped or wanted their money back. On this night, laughter indeed was the best medicine.