*Best known as the winner of NBC’s Last Comic Standing Season 8, Comedian Rod Man has captured the attention of audiences around the globe with his unique delivery and his laid-back style with a twist of southern charm.
Since winning the talent competition show, Rod Man tells EUR/Electronic Urban Report that his act is ever “evolving” to suit his diverse audience.
“My subject matter has always been universal (and) I always knew my act travels but I didn’t know how far. So ‘Last Comic Standing’ allowed me to say, “Oh, this is for America.” My comedy touches a little bit of everybody. It’s evolved into a universal show.”
Rod Man got his start in comedy at a young age — working open mic nights at Atlanta’s Uptown Comedy Club, hosted by the hilarious Earthquake. Since then, he has become an award-winning entertainer and he credits Last Comic Standing for taking his career to the next level.
“It put the comedy on a bigger platform. Anytime you win something, that’s a pretty good thing. I’ve had other things that I’ve said, “Okay, that’s going to put me out there.” But that (LCS) actually did put me out there. So I’m out there.”
Most recently, Rod Man appeared on CONAN where he did stand-up live from Apollo Theater.
“Conan is always good to do a late-night set. That’s kinda like you’re checking in with the people. I’m three years removed from ‘Last Comic Standing’ and I haven’t been on TV. I’ve been all around the country just providing that good funny, but I haven’t been back on TV since then. So it’s always good to do a late-night set and let people know, “Oh, he’s still alive. He’s still funny and I’m gon’ go see him,” he says.
“It’s kinda like your late-night set is always checking in, you tease the people with what the new act is kinda looking like and stuff you’re thinking about. People ask me to do political material a little bit, so I was able to touch on a little Trump stuff. So it’s always good to do a late-night set.”
Peep Rod Man’s appearance on CONAN via the clip below.
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The funnyman notes that “the goal of any comedian is to find the funny.”
“I’m always looking for the funny. So even if it’s serious, I gotta dissect that and say “Is there any funny in this seriousness of it all?” It’s always some funny in there. It’s just timing when we’re going to put the funny out there. Like now we’re dealing with all the harassments and the different dudes so you might have something on that but the waters are not ready for that right now, so you back off and introduce that later. The goal of any comedian is to find the funny and the only reason you get in trouble is when it ain’t funny,” he explains.
The actor/writer says his shows remain pretty consistent from city-to-city and he makes it a point to “tackle some of the local stuff that’s going on in the city.”
“I always say that as a comedian your jokes have to travel city-to-city. Some people just do local jokes. Their comedy is just for their city and they vibe with their people. But if you wanna be big-time and go to the next level your jokes have to be able to play an hour or play in Atlanta, play in New York or Chicago. My jokes travel.”
His jokes have taken him from open-mic nights to numerous appearances on the small screen in shows such as The Bad Boys of Comedy for HBO, Martin Lawrence’s First Amendment for Starz, Nick Cannon’s Wild ‘N Out for MTV, One Mic Stand for BET, The Funny Spot for TV One, and The World Stands Up for BBC America. Rod Man even co-hosted a morning drive-time show in Los Angeles on Stevie Wonder-owned KJLH Radio/102.3 FM. He’s also known for his roles in Funny People (2009) with Adam Sandler and Seth Rogen, The Big Black Comedy Show, Vol. 2 (2005), and The Chocolate Sundaes Comedy Show (2013).
“I grew up with a single momma with four children so you have to have fun within that because you’re gonna have some struggling days. In struggle, you have to find funny. So I was always the funny child. I was always the “It’s gonna be alright, momma. Don’t you cry.” If they were having a party I was the kid like, “Put the liquor on the table!” So I was always not afraid of people. My momma always say I never met a stranger. I’ve always been able to communicate and talk to people. And that’s all comedy is, a big conversation.”
When it comes to tackling certain social issues in his stand-up, Rod Man prefers to keep it “fun” because “you paid money to enjoy a show not to be lectured to,” he says.
“I have a responsibility to be funny. I’m an entertainer. People come to my show to escape the craziness of it all. So at the end of the day, my goal is to be funny. We may tackle some social stuff and it may be funny and it may not be funny but it’s going to be my point of view and my goal is to find the funny in that but I don’t feel I have a responsibility. I just tackle subject matter that I find some funny stuff in. I always say if I’m having fun, you gon’ have fun. So the goal is to have fun. Let’s not make it too heavy ‘cause if I get caught up in Republican/Democrats/police shootings — we have to find the funny in those subject matters. I tackle those things but I don’t choke you with that.”
With so many trigger topics flying over all of heads 24/7, Rod Man says he finds inspiration through his curiosity.
“I like to joke about everyday life. I’m kinda of a commoner, so my comedy is inspired by curiosity. I’m curious about a lot of things. If I don’t understand something I ask questions. I hear triggers words all the time with Trump. Inspiration comes from everywhere, from television, from life, from my momma, my brother, my wife might say something, so I’m always wired. You might say something and it’s going to trigger something, so I stay present and I stay woke.”
But he also acknowledges that “some stuff ain’t for me and I’m cool with that. I let somebody else do that.”
“Comedy is about taste,” he adds. “It’s almost like going to a buffet and you sample different stuff. And I compare it to boxing — different styles appeal to me. Different people appeal to me. I don’t have a favorite one, I just like comedy. I’m a fan of comedy.”
When we touch on how the Internet is making it easier for aspiring comedians to get on, Rod Man notes that on his “Instagram or Facebook, every third person is “comedian such-and-such.” But when you start comedy, you don’t call yourself a comedian first. You say, “I’m doing comedy.” When you do open mic, you’re not a comedian yet. It takes a while to be a comedian,” he explains.
“You can be a comic or a funny person but “comedian” is a whole ‘nother level. Everybody says they’re a comedian but they don’t really do stand-up. They do internet comedy and that’s a different thing than calling yourself a comedian. It’s definitely easier to get your name out there, your face out there and your comedy out there but I don’t consider that stand-up. I consider that YouTube sensations or Facebook sensations or Instagram following sensation. That’s your world, you’re great at that. But some of them do stand-up, like a guy name Tony Baker. He’s funny to me. He does voiceover a lot on his Instagram but he’s also a good stand-up, so I respect that part of the game. He works on his stand-up craft and then he say, “I can kill you online too.” Now you’re just building your fanbase so more power to you.”
If Rod Man could put together his own sketch comedy show or national comedy tour, we imagine the line-up would include the comics whose style he most admires, such as the Kings of Comedy, “all those guys are great,” he says, along with Kevin Hart, Chris Rock, Dave Chapelle and maybe even Seinfeld.
“I like George Carlin. I like Richard Pryor. I like Eddie Murphy and cats you don’t know. The funniest cats are people you may not even know yet,” he adds.
So what’s next for Rod Man? Hopefully a Netflix special next year.
“In 2018, look for the Rod Man Special. My first one-hour special we’re going to do live from New Orleans. Netflix is the goal because that’s where comedy lives so we’re going to shoot it and shop it, that’s the goal. I’m a fan of ownership so we can find distributors but I’d like to own a little bit and control the creative flow of it all and make some money if I can.”
Adding, “And on the acting side, people think because you do stand-up, “Why you ain’t in movies? Why you ain’t been on TV yet?” Well, that’s a whole ‘nother muscle. I got to learn my acting muscle. I’m working on that. So you should see a few projects, movies as well as television. I do a thing online, Timeout with Rod Man, so we’re trying to develop that into a full-form show where we’ll have guests and music and all that good stuff. So 2018 is lining up for me — stay on the lookout. We had to build from the show (Last Comic Standing). Fame hit me fast so I gotta build from the show.”
To find out if Rod Man will be serving his act in your city, visit his official website for tour and ticket info.
Watch Rod Man on CONAN below: