Comedian Rod Man bringing the funny for first Naples visit
June 19, 2018 at 3:08 AM
Growing up the youngest of three brothers, Rod Man says he couldn't help but develop a quick wit.
The Georgia native — who also has a younger sister — said he honed his stand-up skills at a young age.
"I was always talkative. And I had to have a few battles, a few fights along the way," explained the comedian in a recent telephone interview.
He performs standup June 14-17 at Off The Hook Comedy Club in North Naples.
"Even with my mom, when she tried to whup me, I said, 'Pretty mama, you don't want this on your record.' "
Rod Man (born as Rod Thompson) enjoyed studying comedy legends as a youngster.
"Eddie Murphy and Richard Pryor were the kings," he said. "I've always had different tastes.
"Comedy is like boxing to me. I like styles, and styles make the fight and style makes comedy to me."
He also grew up watching "The Tonight Show" with Johnny Carson and followed Chris Rock and Martin Lawrence, whose show in Atlanta was the only time he spent money to see a stand-up comedian.
Rod Man eventually performed at open mic nights, becoming a regular on Tuesday nights at the Uptown Comedy Club in the Buckhead area of Atlanta.
"You would sign up and put your name on a list," he said. "You'd hope they call your name. You weren't guaranteed they called your name."
When they called his name, one night in 1995, he walked up to the microphone and began his career.
"The first time I done it, I was, 'This is where I want to be,' " Rod Man said. "They say public speaking is people's biggest fear. Once you get past the stage fright out of you and people out there like your jokes, you think, 'I'm on to something.'
"It's a high that you get and you live with each show."
Rod Man became more well-known when he competed and won on NBC's "Last Comic Standing" in 2014, introducing him to America.
"It was a frenzy right after the show," he said. "It was bigger than I had anticipated being after the show."
Soon thereafter, he was in demand and toured for months, he said.
"You go build it from there," he added. "It was a tremendous boost to my career. Busy is good."
He said he's working on an hour special that he hopes a streaming service or network will pick up, such as Netflix, which offers numerous comedy specials.
And he's never visited Southwest Florida, so he's looking forward to it, noting that it is the home of his favorite athlete of all time, college and pro football legend Deion Sanders, who played at North Fort Myers.
"Florida is always a great market for me," he said, pointing out that he plans to weave in some Naples jokes once he understands "the vibe of the city."
"Be present, that's what I tell people, and you're going to enjoy yourself," he said about his show. "Put your phones down and we'll deal with that later.
"And don't get your daddy socks and ties, get him some Rod Man tickets. It's Father's Day weekend, so we're gonna have a good time."