Ron James & Dick Drew
Somehow I cannot imagine Ron James, Canada’s number one comedian, attending Acadia University and graduating with a BA in history. By his own admission he was not the best of students. When I asked him if he was the class clown, he replied, “Dick, most definitely and my marks in math were proof of that. Apparently, proficiency in algebra requires one to sit still and keep quiet to solve the problem.”
Anyone who has seen his laugh-a-second performance will know this human dynamo was not meant for sitting still.
Born in New Glasgow, Nova Scotia and raised in Halifax, Ron James has been on the go since joining Toronto’s Second City touring company in 1981. He stayed with them for eight years. Since branching out on his own he has performed his one-person shows all across Canada and the U.S. Television viewers best remember him as “ Blackfly,” the humorous character with the three corner hat in the series of the same name. He is likely to show up on any number of TV specials. Watch for him this New Year’s Eve on his CBC-TV special.
There is an old show business saying — “Dying is easy, comedy is hard” — and I can only imagine the strain it must place on a comedian to stand on an empty stage, not knowing how or if the audience will react. I suffer similar anxiety each time I speak publicly. I take out insurance by having a lectern to hide behind.
When asked his advice to others wishing to achieve, Ron becomes quite serious: “If you are going to chase this grail for money and fame, do yourself a favour and get out now. The arts, and comedy in particular, are all about the craft. The learning curve is life long. The reward is in the journey, not the grail at the end of the trail.”
Yes, with responsible advice like that I can imagine Ron James graduating from Acadia University. He is another Canadian Achiever.
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