rod_man_tonight-show.jpgWith a slightly nervous drawl and relaxed demeanor that sets him apart from hyper comics Kevin Hart and Katt Williams, and a slowpoke delivery that recalls the stoner cool genius of Mitch Hedberg, Rod Man plays his first club date in San Antonio this weekend.

The winner of season eight of NBC’s “Last Comic Standing” has been here before when the touring edition of the show arrived at the Tobin Center of the Performing Arts about a year ago.

The Southern accent is real. Rod Man (born Rod Thompson) grew up in and around Atlanta, Georgia.

He has a sitcom development deal working with Wanda Sykes, he said, “to just do me,” and he is well aware that the glow from “Last Comic Standing” only goes so far. He says opening night in S.A. will be a crash course.

“A club is right there, intimate, everybody is hanging on your every word,” Rod Man said. “You might have some drunk people, a little bit of everything. Each room has it’s particular feel. Each town you go to has got a certain vibe. That first show is always a fact-finding show.”

He’s not an overtly political comedian. Nor does he bash. But he does, at times, get at racial stereotypes and ethnic humor with a subtle touch. He is an astute observational comic and truth seeker.

“Some people are just brutally, ‘Boom!’ In your face, aggressive,” he said. “Whereas, I wanted to be digestible. I want to bring light to it but at the same time I want it to be funny and make you think a little bit on it, bring a light on the stereotypes or on the differences we have as human beings and then find the funny.”

His philosophy is that everyone wants to laugh.

“Nobody’s against laughing,” he said.

What is the secret to the Rod Man cadence?

“It’s a nerve thing, and I just kept talking,” he said about developing his style. “When I first started comedy, I used to be nervous. I would just talk, talk, talk, talk. Then, it became my style. People are like, ‘Is he gonna take a breath?’”

Though “Last Comic Standing” was fun, gave him some exposure and earned him $250,000, Rod Man said the experience wasn’t particularly enlightening or different from what he’d observed in comedy clubs.

“Comedians are naturally competitive. We’re a little selfish,” he said. “The mic is the drug. So we all want that microphone. We all want to get up there and do our thing. I always get charged up when I’m working with other funny cats. It’s ‘Here we go. It’s started.’” Rod Man said it never felt like he had “Last Comic Standing” in the bag.

“No, you never think you’ve got it,” he said. “There’s other variables that go with it. It’s also a television show and a production. That was never lost on me.”

While he’s amused by what he called the “crazy stuff” surrounding presidential candidate Donald Trump, he doesn’t particularly want to bring it into a comedy club. Prudence is the best policy.

“Politics, religion and sports is a quick way to divide a room,” he said. “I always try to mix it up and make it make sense to me before I throw it out there.”

What’s something that fans may not know about him?

“Well, I’m a sports fanatic. If you can get me some tickets to the Spurs, I would appreciate that. That would be beautiful. I go back with the Spurs with ‘The Admiral,’ and Dennis (Rodman) was there for a minute. Sports is my No. 1 thing.”

Rod Man performs Friday through Sunday at Laugh Out Loud Comedy Club, 618 N.W. Loop 410. Showtimes are 8 p.m. each night, with 10:15 p.m. shows Friday and Saturday. Tickets are $22.50. Call 210-541-8805.


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