Rod Man featured in Pittsburg Live
RodMan wants to hit you with 'that good funny'
Rod Man wants to hit you with 'that good funny'
By Tom Scanlon
Wednesday, Aug. 5, 2015, 9:00 p.m.
If you think making people laugh is a tough way to make a living, try selling vacuum cleaners door to door.
Rod Man has done both.
While he knows how to sell a joke onstage, as evidenced by his victory in last year's eighth season of “Last Comic Standing,” he says he could bring it cold-knocking on doors as well.
“I was pretty good at it,” he says, chuckling at the memory. “It was all about the leads in the morning — you had to work to get those good leads.”
David Mamet fans might be thinking a low-budget version of “Glengarry Glen Ross.” If so, Rod Man is the Al Pacino character (Ricky Roma), taking his time, slyly winning trust as he beats around the bush with a web of tales before going in for the kill.
Rod Man's meandering stage persona is a likable guy who is somewhat befuddled by the nature of the world, from his wife's changing figure to self-checkouts.
“I went to the grocery store,” he says, launching one bit, “and they gave me a job …”
With Rod Man, the material really doesn't matter, it's the way he spins it; he's a master weaver of tales who gets even funnier as the audience falls into his rhythm. Unlike many aggressive comics who blast away with rapid-fire jokes, Man is in no hurry onstage, more rocking chair than machine gun.
His career is peaking, thanks to the hard-fought victory on the televised competition, but Rod Man says he has been the same for 20 years in comedy.
“It's always been that to me,” he says, with his Atlanta drawl. “When I get there onstage, people are like, ‘What is he saying? What's with that rhythm and what are these stories about?' ”
Rod Man, who has a brief appearance as himself in the 2009 movie “Funny People,” uses Twitter to send out advice for mellow living. Samples: “Be Sure to taste your words before you spit them out” and ‘Worrying is like a rocking chair. It gives you something to do but doesn't get you anywhere.”
Told he sometimes sounds like a preacher, and asked if he was raised in the church, Rod Man laughs. “I was exposed to it, but I don't know if I got any of that in me,” he says. “But if you see a preacher command a room — I wouldn't say I'm a preacher … but I get the comedy Holy Ghost sometimes.
“When people are laughing I can go anywhere with that — pass the plate.”
If you plan to see Rod Man live, beware. When he gets on a roll, the laughs start stacking up on each other, and audience members have been known to beg for mercy.
“I've had people catch the coughs where they can't stop coughing from laughing say, ‘Stop it, man, you're hurting me!' Or, what the ladies like to say, ‘Aw, Rod Man, you good for my abs.'
“When comedy hits you, it makes you feel good. That's what call it, that good funny.”
“I'm always trying to outdo myself,” he says, reflecting on being an “overnight sensation” — after two decades of doing stand-up. “I still don't think I've done that great show yet. It might happen in Pittsburgh.”