December 2014 - Cover Story: ROD MAN
Who would think that a comedian could create a set discussing the length of a receipt from a grocery store? Ladies and gentleman, meet Rod Man. Winner of Season 8's Last Comedian Standing, Rod Man proved to be a strong competitor and a hilarious individual. New Mexico will get to witness his gift when he come out to perform at The Stage at Santa Ana Star Casino on December 11th. Teresa Ewers of New Mexico Entertainment had the opportunity to interview him and learn more about this talented comic.
Let's step back to your childhood. What was your FIRST influence that turned on your interest to comedy?
I guess my first influence was when Def Comedy Jam came out in the early 90's. I’d seen Richard Pryor, Eddie Murphy, Bill Cosby - to see people that looked, dressed, & sounded like me, making people laugh, that was mind-blowing!! I immediately knew that’s what I’m going to do.
I had a feeling that your namesake may have came from Dennis Rodman. Do you still have the jerseys that lead to your stage name? How does it feel to know that you may surpass D. Rodman on the internet? People are talking.
I was a fan, but I wouldn’t say the name totally came from him. There were a lot of "Mans" signing up for Open Mike (Zoo Man, G-Man, Face Man, T-Man), and, at the time, I was a fan of Dennis Rodman “The Worm”, not the North Korea Dennis, and I had a Bulls & a Spurs Jersey that had Rodman on the back; that was the beginning of Rod Man, not which, by the way, people messed up the spelling of it all the time (it’s Rod Man with a space). No, I don’t not have the jerseys anymore. I was a jersey hoarder for a long time.
Influences are always big in an artist's life. What other influences drove the start of your career?
I knew I was not a 9-5 guy when I got fired from all my jobs, I always wanted to do something outside the norm.
They say that when it comes to writing a book, giving a speech or doing stand-up, talk about what you know. What do you dive into to create your sets.
Everyday life - my family, I talk about myself, I love to observe people. I love to ask questions about people, places, and things.
Your first gig. Tell us about it.
First gig - Uptown Comedy Club in Atlanta Open Mic on a Tuesday. I remember being extremely nervous, so I tried to calm my nerves by taking a drink on stage, because I saw all the other comedians doing it, but I ended up knocking my drink off the stool and breaking the glass, so I learned pretty early that I was not a prop comic.
So I know it's been said that you felt awesome when you were crowned the winner of Season Eight's Last Comedy Standing. What I would like to know is what was your drive to appear on the show?
I always thought it was a good vehicle to get your career started and, in my household, we believe in vision boards. That was actually one of the things on my vision board before I had ever got the call about the show, so, in my mind, I was exactly where I was supposed to be.
Reality shows always seem to have a shock factor - the "drama" moments to get people to watch. LCS didn't seem to have that. Why do you think the show is so successful?
I never looked at Last Comic Standing as a reality show. It was more of a competition show, so drama was not going to win, you needed funny, and a lot of it. I think the show did a great job of changing the format from previous seasons where anybody could audition to having working comedians with some experience doing stand-up. We had a little drama on voting days when we had to go in the booth and say “I think I’m funnier than ”_____". Those days were always a little stressful.
What did you learn from each of the judges of Last Comedy Standing?
I learned from Keenen to not be so wordy in my stories - “trim the fat” - and black men need to wear color sometimes! I learned from Roseanne about humility and being humble - remaining true to my comedy self and Russell - my take away was treat comedy like a boxing match - jab jab jab, then go for the knockout.
Who would you say you learned the most from when it came to the special guests who appeared on the show?
They all had something of value to offer. Wanda Sykes was always there on set, so she was great in offering little nuggets. Jay Leno talking about when a joke is old, when they’re not laughing anymore. Howie Mandel told me to just use my Improv skills on the tram challenge. I lost that challenge, but I thought that was sound advice.
When you won, what was the first thing you did?
There was really no time to celebrate, I had to fly to New York and tape The Tonight Show and The Today Show, so I was alone in a hotel room in New York City with no one to really celebrate with. So the first thing I did was make sure my door was locked - lots of crime in New York.
You were quoted saying "Stand- up is the tree, and whatever grows from this tree, I’m open to pursue. I would like to (share) my funny in a lot of different places." So, what avenues are you looking to expand into?
Television avenue is the main goal right now - developing a successful show. I think I would make an excellent late night talk show host, so if something like that came about, I would listen.
I know you would like to see yourself in ten years with a successful TV sitcom. What would your sitcom be called and what would the premise be?
We’re still in the develop stages, but I can say it will have a lot of "That Good Funny" in it.
What ahead for Team Rod Man?
Work, work, and more work. I’ll be touring most of 2015, so check out my website for schedule - rodmancomedy.com. I’m filming a DVD special next year in Atlanta and hopefully we develop that sitcom just right and serve up some funny in America's living rooms every week.