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  • Writer's pictureDavid Reuben

Ron Vaudry

Intelligent, witty and sardonic, Ron Vaudry is the thinking man's comedian.

Ron is one of The originals in Canadian stand-up comedy both in terms of having been there right near the beginning and having a unique style and point of view. there were essentially three types of comedians at the time - entertainers, smart asses and silly guys.

Ron was something else. He was sharp as a tack but came from a much tougher and angrier perspective than most. Ron's act was a little darker than the standard of the time and he was totally unafraid to set the audience on edge in pursuit of a laugh to drive away the darkness.

It wasn't just about making the audience laugh, Ron wanted them to confront things and thoughts they may have been surprised they could laugh about. To this day, Ron maintains his edge and deals with the societal issues that plague us with some of the strongest and sharpest punchlines in the business.

–Simon Rakoff Comic/Writer

“Ron Vaudry was my mentor starting out in comedy. He showed me the ropes and I watched him closely every night we worked together. A true master of the craft. Have considered him a close pal ever since!”

– David Merry Comic/Writer/Producer

“I learned at least half of what I know about stand up from Ron. That’s a big statement to make, but it's true. Half from Ron, a quarter from Mike MacDonald, and the rest I picked up from other comics, or learned on my own.

Ron was an excellent teacher, but he was tough to impress. He had high standards. And he did not mince words. He wanted you to succeed - but by working at it, by observing the rules and respecting the craft.”

– Sherry O’Brien Comic/Writer/Blogger

“Ron is the perfect combination of rage and outrage.”

– Howard Nemetz Comedy Writer/ Producer

Mr. Ron Vaudry has been traveling the world doing his Intelligent, witty, sardonic, and thought provoking political and social comedy for forty-three years. Mr. Vaudry did not start stand-up comedy the traditional way by doing a five minute at a comedy club. On Sept 1st, 1979, Ron performed on a local Montreal Jerry Lewis Telethon, doing 12 shows in 12 hours. Half were stand-up and the other half were improv.

Ron remembers, “I auditioned in the booker’s office, and once I got the gig, I just wrote my act. And then wrote between doing the shows.”

This is not surprising to anyone who knows Ron because when they made Ron Vaudry, they broke the mold! Born and raised in Montreal to a blue-collar family with links to the Vaudry family that settled in Canada in 1654. In fact, his grandmother was an opera singer, and his grandfather was a stage manager.

Leaving high school just before graduation because he stood up for himself when a teacher physically assaulted him. Take into account, this was a different time in education, and Ron was a tough kid who stood up for what he believed in.

Ron is self-educated, and proud of the knowledge he has acquired throughout his life. “if I am interested in something then I learned about it!” When you watch his act, you can see the intelligence come thru in his premises and punch lines.

Longtime friend, Lou Eisen says, Ron is the consummate professional, he works constantly on writing for the times. He is passionate about freedom of speech and talks about topics others cannot make funny.”

Darryl Lenox first heard about Ron Vaudry when he moved to Vancouver B.C in 1994 from Seattle Washington. When Darryl saw Ron perform in BC for the first time his reaction was how can someone be this good and not be a household name. In 2000, Darryl and Ron toured together and became lifelong friends.

At age 23, Mr. Ron Vaudry was married with kids and was making a good living driving truck for "The Montreal Star" Ron states, “I was lucky to stumble through my first year of stand-up, in 1979 the night club circuit was the bastard child of vaudeville.”

By 1980 Ron had relocated to Toronto and started performing at the original Yuk Yuk’s in Yorkville. He was one of the “original 12 stand-up comics” at Yuk Yuk’s. Ron Vaudry was an in-demand MC and Headliner. Mr. Vaudry was on the first Yuk Yuk’s Comedy Tour across Canada in 1982 to promote stand-up comedy and the Yuk Yuk’s Brand. Not an easy first tour across Canada with 29 shows in 28 days. He was performing 2 shows a night 2 hours each show.

In 1987, Ron made his first trip to the United Kingdom. First the Glasgow Festival and then two weeks performing in London England. Who would have predicted the UK would become his home base for over a decade later in his career?

Stand-up was not enough for Ron Vaudry, along with friends and colleagues Lawrence Morgenstern, Simon Rakoff, and Howard Nemetz they formed the sketch troupe “The Needles”. They were a smash hit and performed every Sunday Night till the management decided to close the club Sunday Nights. A few months later Yuk Yuk’s reopened Sunday Nights but put traditional stand-up comedy in the club.

Mr. Ron Vaudry was the first comic at Yuk Yuk’s to lobby for fair pay and more opportunities for the comics. While this may have hurt his own career, he fought for what he believed was right.

Sherry O’Brien states, “Thing is, there are a lot of people in the comedy business - like any business - who are manipulative, exploitative, and just plain shitty, human beings. Ron has always stood up for what he believed in, even if he knew it would cost him in the end. He has a strong sense of integrity. And he is ethical. But this is often an unethical business and having the courage of your convictions has a price. Like Arthur Miller said, ‘no one wants the truth, if it’s inconvenient.’

Ron is the master of inconvenience…. lol

This has made it easy for some to paint him as confrontational. But let’s not lose sight of the fact that it is also a convenient way for them to shift responsibility for their own actions and behaviour, onto the guy who called them on it.

Ron wasn’t always right. But if he believed he was, he would say so, and stand his ground.”

In 2004, Mr. Vaudry decided to take his talents to the UK and toured throughout Europe, the Middle East, and Asia. Each year he would return to Canada for a couple of months to work the Canadian Circuit. In 2016, Ron moved back to Canada while dealing with the new rules for work permits in the UK. Ron Vaudry culturally adapted his act to wherever he toured. This seems so simple, but many comics find it difficult to adapt to different environments.

Ron’s numerous television, radio, and podcast appearance include CBC's "COMICS!”, "Friday Night with Ralph Benmergui", "Comedy @ Club 54", and "The Late Show" with Arsenio Hall. He has also been featured on several radio programs including CBC's "Madly Off In All Directions" and "Definitely Not The Opera”. Many other television, and radio shows throughout Europe and Asia.

A five-time performer at the prestigious “Just For Laughs” comedy festival in Montreal. Again, Ron Vaudry had to make his own breaks to get JFL. His management at the time did not recommend him to the festival, so Ron went to Montreal on his own dime and contacted the producers of JFL and asked to showcase of them. Mr. Vaudry was quickly added to the JFL roster.

With the advent of Podcast, Mr. Vaudry has been a regular guest both in Canada and internationally. His biting wit, brilliant off the cuff comments, and candor is made for podcasts.

The author, David Reuben, asked Ron where his favourite place to perform, and without missing a beat he said Edinburgh, Copenhagen, and Japan. This from a man who spent his early years of comedy working every province and city in Canada, and many in the USA.

So, how did the author, David Reuben, meet Mr. Ron Vaudry. On Monday September 7, 1983, I did my first set and the original Yuk Yuk’s, and guess who was the MC? Ron was the MC, and I was 15th out of 15! Wow did I bomb. Five minutes of total silence.

Mr. Vaudry was a frequent host on Yuk Yuk’s amateur nights. I personally learned so much about professionalism, how to manage a heckler, and not going over your allotted time from Ron. As a stand-up junkie, I was lucky enough to spend many nights a week watching and leaning from the professional comics in Toronto and visiting touring acts.

I think Ms. Sherry O’Brien sums up Ron gift for teaching “A lot of the newcomers were terrified of him. But we learned the ropes. We paid our dues. We earned our stage time. Ron saw to that, and it was a lesson that served us well professionally, in later years. No decent comic would go over their time and end up bumping another act. Not unless they were a total dick. No pro would dare to go long on Letterman or any TV spot. It wasn’t professional. You needed to be tight. You needed to be exact. Ron taught us that.”

David Reuben states, “in my 39 years of doing stand-up comedy, I have never gone over my allotted time. Always 30 seconds short. Treat the other comics with respect, tip the waitstaff, and treat them kindly, always have a kind word for the management, these are lessons learned early on from watching professional comic like Mr., Vaudry.”

Ron was so respected by Yuk Yuk’s Toronto management that in early 1990 the golden ticket to stand-up comedy in Canada “Yuk Yuk’s Amateur Night” in Toronto was put in the capable hands of Mr. Vaudry. He changed the name to “Crash & Burn” booked the acts, ran seminars before each show and then critiqued the comics sets after the weekly show.

Many of todays veteran Canadian touring comics owe their start to “Crash & Burn” under the tutelage of Ron Vaudry. He spread the spots between up-and-coming amateurs and newbies. Everyone was treated fairly and if you wanted to learn Ron was there to help.

While many comics sat at home doing Zoom Shows and ordering Uber East at the beginning of Covid -19 in March/April 2020, Mr. Vaudry was taping his first album just after Covid -19 hit the world. The album was taped over 2 nights in Florida to a very enthusiastic crowd. Ron’s good friend Mr. Darryl Lenox was at the album taping and says, “Ron should be very proud of the Album.”

Many comics get their albums edited by producers, but not Ron took this challenge on to himself. When Ron and the author met for coffee in September 2022, I asked Mr. Vaudry why he took the job of self-editing the album? As always Ron had the answer. “I felt that the best person to edit the album was me as I wanted a certain feel to the tracks, and since I wrote it, I was the best one to edit it.”

“Talking On Thin Ice is available on all major steaming services.

The author, David Reuben asked Ron’s closest friends and colleagues how Ron has changed as a performer his lengthy career. They all said as a performer Ron is at the top of his game. His writing has evolved, he has the unique ability to dissect the most complex issues a find the funny.

Mr. Darryl Lenox was kind enough to take some time to talk with the author, David Reuben, while he was on Tour. Darryl states, “Ron is one of the most underrated stand-up talents in Canada. Hie is intelligent, his premises are concise, and you never know where the punchlines and tags are coming from. Darryl continues, I always have time to talk about V, Ron may have got a bad rap in the past because he is consumed by the jokes. It has always been about the work for V. He is the consummate professional, a comedy lifer. The business is not always fair.”

The author, David Reuben sates, “Ron still has one of the quickest minds in comedy and can read a crowd faster than most comics. His material is relevant to the times, and having performed with Ron in September 2022, he seems to enjoy performing more than ever. I think all this comes with decades of experience and nothing left to prove.”

Fundamentally Mr. Vaudry has not changed as a person. He remains ethical and has a strong sense of integrity. Ron took up many causes in the past that he felt unjust to the Canadian Comedy Community. Having spent some time with Ron in September 2022, he seemed more settled with his place in comedy, more compassionate, yet no regrets for the past. And when a young producer disrespected him, the young producer got the full rage of Mr. Ron Vaudry!

When you see Ron Vaudry at a comedy club say hi!

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