Toronto Mike'd Podcast Episode 296: Ron James

Toronto Mike'd Podcast Episode 296In this 296th episode, Mike chats with stand up comedian Ron James about moving to LA, returning home to hone his craft and finding his voice. This episode is exactly 2:04:56.

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Great episode!! Love Ron's name for one of the dives where the Second City Road Company
lodged: "WANKING MANOR!!!" Haven't personally visited that particular palace, but more than a
little bit familiar with the milieu!! His stories about Jim Varney were also a real eye-opener. And
wasn't surprised to learn that Mike Bullard's TV audience was largely made up of attendees of the
nearby English as a Second Language academy!! I went to a taping of his show once, and the main
guest was Jacqueline Stallone, the psychic mother of Rocky Balboa!! Is it any wonder that Bullard's
show failed when he made the unwise choice to leave the Comedy Network for Global?!?

December 28, 2017 @ 11:06 AM

James Edgar

Great episode ! I love his take on making it here in Canada

I've always liked him even back in the lumberjack jacket days, I'm one of the few who liked firefly
And i love the Baron von Sketcch show , We just watched both seasons on the CBC app for apple TV Fantastic.

December 28, 2017 @ 2:44 PM

Rick C in Oakville

I know H&F riff on him, but he is a beloved Canadian comedian. Glad you had him on.

December 28, 2017 @ 7:49 PM

Toronto Mike Verified as the defacto Toronto Mike

@Rick C in Oakville

Even if he's not your cup of tea, you have to respect what he's done in this country. And after my two hour chat with him, I respect him even more.

December 28, 2017 @ 7:53 PM


Oh yeah, I'd forgotten about seeing him on an episode of Get A Life. That was Chris Elliott's goofy sitcom on the Fox Network after he'd left the Letterman show. I liked it, but it seemed most others (of the few who saw it, apparently including Fox executives) hated it.

@bsmntdwllr73 -- I also went to tapings of Stalky McGhee's talk show (it was free). I recall going a couple of times to 888 Yonge, once when comedian Todd Barry (and I think one of women from The View) was a guest, and another when Killer Dwarfs was the music act, and then once to the other place when he was briefly on Global, and Deep Purple was the music act. I can't say I noticed much of the crowd being ESL classes, but I suppose it could have been possible during the first year (which I think was at Gretzky's restaurant) or two. Later, in his last couple of years on CTV there was often some percentage of the crowd from Ohio, Michigan, etc., you had to make a reservation two weeks ahead of time, and he was largely getting many of the same guests as the New York shows (Letterman, Regis) on the day before or after.
I think he left CTV for Global because they offered more money, and he was frustrated that CTV would put the show on hiatus all through the summer including September when he thought he was missing opportunities at getting big name guests in town for TIFF.
It's unfortunate that what had become the first successful show of its type in Canada also became the last. You'd think some Canadian TV Network (maybe CBC?) could have continued with some kind of similar late night talk show.

December 28, 2017 @ 9:02 PM


I guess I didn't watch Bullard regularly enough as I'm pretty sure that I missed the
Killer Dwarfs and Deep Purple episodes. Sure sounds like they were the best
musical acts that were ever booked! BTW: About 20 years ago I was a regular caller into Jim Richards' Night Side program, and managed to bait Bullard with a call in which I lay an immense amount of praise on a near-racist comic who had
guested the previous evening. You could hear the steam coming out of his ears!!

December 29, 2017 @ 11:38 AM


Far better episode than I expected. I honestly didn't expect Ron to be Into the #realtalk as much as he was. Loved the Port Hope shoutout (my hometown)

December 29, 2017 @ 3:57 PM

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This one'll sneak up on ya. It was so much fun.

December 29, 2017 @ 3:59 PM

Stephen in Niagara

That was a fast 2 hours.
The man is funny. Always enjoy his shows.
Used to see him at Milwaukee's and the Amsterdam pub, post Laugh Resort gigs.
Not surprised he's a Billy Connolly fan, styles are similar.
Maybe RJ puts a word in for you on future guests like Mercer and Jennifer Whalen

December 29, 2017 @ 9:21 PM


This is definitely a Toronto Mike'd first -- a guest firing a pre-prepared 7-minute monologue every time Mike opened his mouth. What an onslaught. Not to mention all the Dennis Miller style soliloquies and sermons, oh my.....

This wasn't #realtalk so much as well-rehearsed-and-tested-on-audiences-all-over-Canada talk. At least you were able to get a two-hour nap, Mike!

After all the local and national radio and TV broadcasters, having an actor-comedian is a bit of departure for you, and judging by this episode I'm not sure I like it. As much as mixing it up a bit is welcome because some guests from the world of Canadian broadcasting have nothing of consequence to say, I wouldn't want the TM podcast conversations to turn into this generic talk show host-&-comedian, I-set-you-up-and-you-run-with-it-by-yourself dynamic either.

As for the things discussed, can't tell if it's a case of punctured oversized ego or just being asked "how come you spent 3 years down in the States and didn't make it" one too many times, but Ron seems bitter with a capital B. If he was truly content with being "only" well-known in Canada, he probably wouldn't spend so much time harping on about it.

January 6, 2018 @ 3:10 PM

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I enjoyed this one. Sure, it was different, but I do enjoy mixing it up once in a while. :)

January 6, 2018 @ 3:23 PM

Pete Richards

Glad to hear him mention the Home Hardware commercials. He was in one with my mom as my parents used to own a Home Hardware at Kipling and Dixon. In it, he says to her, "Hey Petra, nice window!" I'd love to find a clip of it somewhere.

January 31, 2018 @ 7:30 AM

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