Comedian Ron James Delights While New CAA Benefit Excites Crowd at CARP AGM
Canadian comedian Ron James delighted the standing-room only audience at Zoomer Hall for CARP's Annual General Meeting. Photo: Darryl Jonckheere
A lively crowd ignored severe winter-storm warnings and crammed into the ZoomerPlex Wednesday in order to attend CARP’s (an affiliate of ZoomerMedia) annual general meeting.
Unlike previous general meetings, this year’s session didn’t feature a big-name politician delivering the keynote address, a departure from the norm that CARP president Moses Znaimer explained during his address.
“In the past, we’ve had prime ministers, premiers, cabinet ministers and leaders of the opposition. But this year, I thought we better get someone who knows what they’re doing,” quipped Moses, introducing popular stand-up comedian Ron James, who he referred to as “the funniest man in Canada.”
James delighted the standing-room only audience at Zoomer Hall (along with thousands who tuned in via livestream) with an unexpectedly lively set, drawing on his familiar East Coast brand of humour, which made the Glace Bay, N.S. native a household name in the 1980s.
He also regaled the audience with his experiences from travelling across the the country, holding gigs in cities big and small. The veteran funnyman is still working the comedy circuit; his “Back Where I Belong” tour is running across Ontario starting in March.
Having just turned 65, James also focussed his material on the darker side of aging or, as he put it, “getting t-boned at the crossroads of life.” The gags that poked fun at aging, often mixed with penetrating observational (and uncensored) humour, drew the biggest laughs, whether it touched on family, religion, sex, partying or travel.
Before James’ appearance, Moses announced a major new benefit for its members: CARP will be partnering with CAA, which will provide members with auto, home, life and pet insurance.
Moses praised the new insurance partnership, which will be rolled out across the country by May, promising that it will offer CARP members “unmatched insurance products and insurance products pricing that will save you big money.”
Moses drew a big cheer when he noted that “CAA won’t judge you by your age and will, in certain situations, only charge you for the mileage that you use while driving.”
Jay Woo, president and CEO of CAA Group, noted in his taped video message that CAA insurance will offer “compelling programs custom-tailored to members of CARP.” He explained that CAA can beat its competitors on price because the company’s “not-for-profit thrust” — meaning it doesn’t have to answer to shareholders.
While the comedy set and big CAA announcement understandably stole the show, the CARP executive updated members about advocacy, community and membership.
Bill VanGorder, CARP’s COO, explained how CARP’s advocacy efforts would focus on health-care reform, financial security, delivering the best medications and vaccines, improving home and long-term care and focussing on your own fitness.
David Cravit, CARP’s chief membership officer, related how the group was spreading the new vision to new audiences, through ZoomerMedia’s print, digital and broadcast channels.
And Anthony Quinn, chief community and benefits officer, noted that member engagement was up, whether through in-person or virtual local chapter meetings.