Put in your time, hustle hard, promote endlessly, and pray to be noticed are some of the basics when it comes to "making it" in stand-up. Oh, and a little TV face time doesn't hurt either. Rod Man practiced all of that for 20 years and got huge recognition by nailing down the big win on season eight of Last Comic Standing. If you liked him on the tube, you'll love him live when he takes his talents to the Brea Improv this Friday through Sunday. Before he hits Orange County this weekend, we hit him up to find out where his head was during the taping of the show, to see what he did with that glorious prize money, and to get his thoughts on the current state of comedy.
OC Weekly (Ali Lerman): I'm sure you're getting this a lot now but I'm going there anyway. Did you indulge in anything major with the prize money from Last Comic Standing?
Rod Man: Nothing! I need new places to stay so, no. And, I have a daughter in college so that's extravagant right there! That's where the funds go right there. And I got a wife. There's really nothing left for me to do something like that yet, that's all I'm saying. [Laughs.] That's why I'm working so hard! At the end of day though, the money is cool but my thing is really the work people see. I've been at it 20 years so I'm happy to get in front of people. And there's actually people in the seats when I get there so that's more rewarding. That's the main thing. I worked for free for a long time so I don't need to indulge. We'll buy as we need but it's more about the experience for me.
I get that completely. I hear about comics getting drinks as payment. Not cool.
Yeah you can get paid to drink and there are days you drink your check up! So you don't want to overdrink at a club either because you can end up working the week for free!
No bueno! So in your season of Last Comic you had to perform an extra set because the judges couldn't decide the winner. How confident were you before that second set?
Throughout the whole season we knew it could happen so I was prepared. Anytime you're doing comedy on a show like that, you only have about four minutes. And I'm a storyteller so it's like, OK are they going to get right on board or are they going to take a minute? So it's never an issue of your confidence, it's more so, I hope we connect in time. There are a lot of moving parts so at the end of the day, they have to build a little drama for the people at home. I was focused during the whole thing and I thought I did well on it. You never know how you're being received. We got judged on stage every night but you're doing this going, I know I'm doing well and they're laughing but, I really want the people to catch on. It takes a while but I'm like a crockpot. You gotta season me so I'm delicious to the people!
Hey, everyone loves a good crockpot meal! Do you think doing the show renewed your determination for your craft as well?
Oh course! With anything you do you are gonna need some victories so you feel like you are on the right track and not chasing a pipedream. The people around me gave me a lot of energy too. It was like being in school. Comedy school. And I've never been to comedy school so I'd never been around all of this different information so that was really, really good!I'm glad it worked out for you, very well done! OK off of that subject and onto the rise in backlash against comics these days. Thoughts?
I mean, we're in a hypersensitive society. We're in a society where we have to now buy bags for the store and I have a trunk full of bags without knowing how that even happened! There is just too much stuff out there now. I blame it all on social media because everyone has an opinion they can put out there and everyone always thought they were funny anyway. Sensitivity is heightened now so we call it your "comedic sensibility." People have different comedic sensibilities so what's funny to me may not be funny to you but, I'm going to find my group of people that think it's funny and you go find your group that think it's funny. So we're all laughing but we're on different roads of laughter. People dip into things and get sensitive about certain things but as a comedian, you have to just say it. So if you can't take it, unfollow that comedian and don't watch his stuff because they're not for you. It's all subjective. It's comedy! It's just not that serious.
Right? It almost seems like the days of being able to "take a joke" are over.
[Laughs.] Whether people watch it live, on the computer, or read it, it's just your taste. They don't have to go see it or support it. I always say, don't take it too serious because it's just comedy. I talk about my mama, my wife, and my kids. But do they get mad? No! They don't get mad because they can take a joke!
Exactly, I'm on your side with that!
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[Laughs.] You got me all riled up with that one because I hate when people take it too seriously. A comedian is never not trying to be funny so they're not trying to offend. If it doesn't go well, that's when the criticism happens. As a comedian I now know if they don't laugh properly I could get some backlash. There are certain topics I choose to stay away from but really, it's an open market for anything. It's like, I don't want to watch baby's twerking but it's out there! And their parents are just there egging them on! That's not good parenting! Baby's twerking? I don't want to see that!
Check out Rod Man at the Brea Improv April 17th through 19th, 120 South Brea Blvd. Brea, CA 92821. (714) 482-0700. For tickets go to www.Improv.com and for more info and to see where he'll be next, go to his website www.RodManComedy.com and follow him on Twitter at @RodManComedy.