James Madge did not dream of becoming an actor. Like all Canadian boys of his age, he wanted to play in the NHL. He settled on a career in journalism instead.
One day, having graduated from college but unable to find a job at a newspaper, a friend suggested he check out classes at The Second City. “I think you’ll really like it,” she said to him. So he did. And she was right. He did like it.
Though James did eventually manage to land a job in his chosen profession and was soon editing stories for a national newspaper, while also covering the Toronto Maple Leafs as a freelance hockey writer, he fell out of love with his occupation. He got laid off. Twice.
Improv, however, did not give up on him. It just kept giving back. Soon, James had graduated all the way through the ranks of the The Second City program and decided that, maybe … just maybe he wasn’t supposed to be a journalist. He was supposed to be an actor instead.
So he got an agent, one who told him: “Hmmm … you’re not fat, but you’re not fit either. And you’re not a model. But this headshot makes you look gay.”
Though asked to re-take his headshots, James quickly became a serial pitchman, having now appeared in over 80 national commercials, for everything from cars (Nissan, Ford, Toyota), banks (BMO, RBC, Scotiabank), and bacon (Maple Leaf), to fastfood (McDonald's, Tim Hortons, Pizza Pops), insurance (GreyPower, Desjardins), and xxx.
He once allowed himself to be covered in Skittles, just to make a buck.
James has also made several television appearances, having worked on "Suits," "The Handmaid's Tale," and most recently with Cate Blanchette in "Mrs. America."
Not content to simply wait for the right role to come around, James is one half of sketch-comedy duo "Madge & Peck," which recently won the right to attend the Just For Laughs! Comedy Festival in Montreal.
The siren call of stand-up comedy recently caught his ear and James began appearing on various small stages around the city, as well as the odd charitable gig.
Originally from Ottawa, James lives in Toronto with his wife, son, and a dog named Bob.