Scott K. Brown
By Tony Castleberry
You have to love Rod Man’s confidence, mainly because it isn’t overconfidence.
Rod Man, a veteran stand-up comedian from Villa Rica, Ga., who got his start in Atlanta clubs, won what was arguably the best, and almost certainly the most competitive season of “Last Comic Standing” in 2014. The final decision in Season 8 wasn’t made until the comics competed in a double-elimination final that was supposed to feature two comedians going head-to-head, but Rod Man, Nikki Carr and Lachlan Patterson were all so good that the judges brought a trio to the finale instead of the usual duo.
Rod Man won, and he felt good about his chances prior to taping, but that good feeling didn’t stem from ego or buzz from outside sources. He liked where he stood because he had put in so much work before he was ever on TV that once he was, not much was different. He did his act for a huge TV audience mostly the same way he does it for a few hundred people in a club and that, along with how funny his jokes are and his unique delivery, led to him grabbing a much-deserved win.
During a Jan. 6 phone interview, Rod Man and I discussed our similar Southern upbringings, why tea in Los Angeles sucks, the value of paying attention to seasons and much more.
Tony Castleberry: Going into your season of “Last Comic Standing,” did you think you had a good chance of winning?
Rod Man: Yeah. When I first went there, I was like, “I think it’s my time.” I had been doing it for a while and I felt good. Not knowing who else was on the show, I said, “I’m going in with my blinders on.” I felt good about the whole thing. It was time.
TC: They bring in people who have been doing it for a long time and in that respect, you probably figured that the competition was going to be pretty good too, didn’t you?
RM: Oh yeah. I knew from the caliber of comedians I’ve worked with around the country (that) there are some funny cats out there.
When they had it previously, I didn’t really like it because they made (the comics) live in a house and I wasn’t with all that. But this one, I know they selected only 100 comedians. It was like invitation only so I knew they were gonna get the best of the best. When I got there, I was like, “Man, this is going to be a good season” and it turned out to be the best one yet.
TC: I agree 100 percent. Did your life change dramatically after winning?
RM: My wife always says it was night and day, so I’m in day now. I was in night then, but now, it’s a lot of light. It’s going good.
TC: Do you still talk to some of the comics from your season of the show?
RM: We were on the road right after the show for like 55 cities. I see Lachlan every once in a while. I see Joe Machi every once in a while. Nikki shouts me out every once in a while, but mostly everybody’s working. Me and Rocky (LaPorte) did two tours together, so Rocky’s always been cool with me.
TC: Was it difficult adjusting to life in Los Angeles?
RM: People always say the weather is warmer here, but the people are warmer in the South. I always say, you can find warm people anywhere you go if you just seek those people out.
… I still go home and keep my roots, but (in L.A.) I just try to find cool people that I like and like me and keep doing my thing.
They ain’t got no sweet tea though. All the tea, no sugar. You’ve gotta do packets but you know, once you put ice on tea, you can’t really use those packets. Nobody wants no Splenda. I don’t really want fruit tea. I don’t want raspberry tea. I don’t like my tea flavored so yeah, you’ve gotta get used to that. Not a lot of biscuit places either.
TC: The thing I think I would miss the most (about the South) is my grandma’s home cooking.
RM: They opened up a Sweetie Pie’s by my house (and) you’ve got a few soul food restaurants, but yeah, I grew up like you did probably, with a can of grease on the stove.
TC: Always, (one each for) bacon, fish and beef.
RM: Yeah, you can fry anything in that grease. I grew up like that. I just came from home for the holidays and when you go in somebody’s house, you’re gonna smell something frying. Some frying is gonna be going on.
The food culture is a little different, but you’ve got to bring your own culture to wherever you are.
TC: I was looking at your schedule and man, you’ve got shows booked at great clubs through most of 2016. Do you look ahead a couple of weeks or months to certain cities or do you just take it day-to-day, week-to-week?
RM: It’s day to day. If I look ahead, I lose track. I try to be present, Tony, if I can. I know I’ll be at Caroline’s in March, but I don’t know the weekend. I’m not like “Oh, I’m gonna be in New York this weekend.”
When we book these dates, I try to make sure I know what season it is. You can’t just pull up into New York in the wrong season.
TC: That’s smart.
RM: I’m big on seasons. I got caught in Chicago in January with 19 inches of snow and I missed the Super Bowl. I didn’t like that at all.
TC: You vowed then to never do that again, right?
RM: Chicago is a summer or early fall. No winter shows in Chicago. They’ll say “That’s the best time to do it” and I’m like, “It’s not the best time for me.” Maybe that time is the best for you, but it’s not for me.
Contact Tony Castleberry at firstname.lastname@example.org, 252-329-9591 or follow @tonycastleberry on Twitter.Login or register to post comments