An Akron native, James III is back in town for this cabaret-style show. Currently living in New York, James III has worked in T.V., with appearances on Law and Order and Late Night with Seth Myers, as well as comedy. Over the last few years his focus has been on comedy. “I do stand-up, sketch comedy and improvisation. I’ve been touring for the last nine months or so with the Upright Citizens Brigade Touring Company doing improv for colleges and universities.”
His newest show at the Civic will utilize the awkward moments that most people would rather just forget about. “I will talk about parts of my life that are kind of embarrassing. Things that could’ve gone to the grave without anyone ever knowing,” chucked James III. We recently caught up with him to chat about the show and what it’s like performing in his hometown.
How would you describe your comedy?
I am an awkward sort of man-child. I feel very uncomfortable in my own skin, so the show is about how I’m uncomfortable in my own skin. [This impression show goes through] scenarios that I’ve lived through and what it would have been like if someone else were living this. Like a famous person. We look at them and they’re so confident, but how would they have experienced it?
The show is going to be cabaret- style. Do you like this set up?
It is very intimate. In thinking about the Civic – you’re just closer to the audience and they are more of a part of it. They are closer to you.
What’s your favorite thing about performing?
It feels cheap to say this, but the instant gratification. I love being on stage and feeling the energy of the audience. Live performance especially is great. It’s great hearing laughter. Laughter is such a wonderful sound. I just love to pretend and play pretend. I’m a 29-year-old child.
You have played the Civic before. What do you like about performing at the Civic?
It’s just a beautiful space. I really love the backdrop of the theatre house behind me. The architecture is so great. There is just so much life and history in the room and you feel it when you walk in. I’ll never forget, after the show I walked out the way the audience came in – which was not a way I had gone out before – and just to see the main lobby hallway and all of the architecture and the swooping tall ceiling. It was like; I’ve been missing all of this?
For me, what’s great about coming back to Akron in general is that it’s definitely my home. I grew up here and it feels great to be around friends and family and a familiar community that’s very different from New York. It’s a different audience.
For ticketing information, visit http://www.akroncivic.com/site/page.php?id=422&eventid=1869.