If it is New Year’s Eve there is the latest Ron James CBC comedy special. This is something I look forward to pretty much from the day after the last one airs. Ron James is a brilliant verbal magician and juggler. He is also a wickedly smart and funny comic. His annual special just confirms this. Manitoba Bound airs December 31, 2008 at 9:00 p.m. on the CBC. If you have Star Choice you can watch it three times in a row. This comedy special is that good.
Each Ron James New Year’s Eve special focuses on a region of Canada. There was Quest for the West and West Coast Wild, Back Home which focused on Nova Scotia and the Maritimes, and the Road Between My Ears about Ontario and TROC (all available on DVD by the way). The 2008 comedy special is Manitoba Bound and it is, of course and as expected, brilliant.
James gave himself the challenge of making the people of Manitoba laugh at the people of Manitoba. This certainly requires gonads. James’ are so large they do not shrink in Winnipeg’s usual balmy minus 35.
Of course Manitoba Bound is not just about the funny flatlanders. With his usual elegance the comedian segues into a funny as hell commentary on American politics and, of course, Canadian politics. This is but some of the topical comedy in this special. The best description of this is James’, “It’s not my job to ride in the apple cart. It’s my job to tip it over.”
There are a couple of, very relatively speaking, weaker good bits in Manitoba Bound. The Riel song is a stretch and James is obviously on very thin ice when he brings up the Maple Leaf tainted meat scandal. These are short and more than made up for with the snowmobiling bit.
Other excellent moments in Ron James Manitoba Bound include his take on modern times and viruses, the greening of the planet and composting, and Christmas.
My most favorite moment in this comedy special is the one on your last days where James verbal agility and word-picture painting talent are at their very best.
Always fun in a Ron James New Year’s Eve Special is the interstitial animation. This year’s definitely had a bigger budget and is visually superb but I was less amused than in the past.
Other Ron James Reviews
The Road Between My Ears: must have stand-up comedy DVD
Quest For The West CBC Special: now available on a comedy DVD near you
Ron James Full Tilt - 2007 Just For Laughs: This tax burdened ticket was well worth every tax gouged dollar I paid for it.
West Coast Wild: Brilliant, brilliant, brilliant.
Quest For The West DVD: Great comedy DVD from brilliant monologuist
Back Home DVD: Brilliant, great, wonderful, and so on stand-up comedy DVD by comic wordsmith
The Ron James Show CBC Fridays 8 P.M. Begins 09-25-09: Fun stand-up and sketch comedy show.
The Ron James Show New Year's Eve Special 12-31-09: One-hour special. Fun but not as much as James' stand-up comedy specials of yore