‘Last Comic Standing’ winner Rod Man finds the funny in everyday life

By Monique Jones

The Birmingham Times

Rod Man is bringing his talent back to the StarDome this Friday through Sunday. He had headlined in 2014, and he's excited to return. (Provided photo)
Rod Man is bringing his talent back to the StarDome this Friday through Sunday. He had headlined in 2014, and he’s excited to return. (Provided photo)

Comedian Rod Man is no fan of losing, even if it’s just betting on The Super Bowl.

“I’m still recovering from the [Atlanta] Falcons,” he said, commenting on the team’s devastating overtime loss against the New England Patriots. “I grew up a Falcons fan,” he said.

However, the Atlanta comedian, now residing in Los Angeles, knows the thrill of victory. In 2014, he was the winner of NBC’s “Last Comic Standing.”

For Rod Man, born Rod Thompson, the win was “good validation.”

“It’s always a sense of accomplishment,” he said. “…You need some wins along the way when you’re doing entertainment and I had been doing it for a while. Last Comic Standing launched me into America’s consciousness…I’m excited about my future because it was a good thing.”

Rod Man is bringing his talent back to the StarDome this Friday, Feb. 10 through Sunday, Feb. 12. He had headlined in 2014, and he’s excited to return.

“It’s always exciting to come back,” he said. “That’s when you know you were well received the first time. It’s always a good thing when people say, ‘You know what? I want you to come back over.’ I’m excited and [there are] a lot of new situations to talk about, a lot of situations going on in my life and in the world.”

Rod Man’s inspiration comes from everyday life. “I think comedy should be relatable,” he said. “If it’s not relatable, it’s not going to be good.”

“I’m always on the lookout for anything,” he said. “If I wake up and there’s a guy outside blowing leaves…I’ve got to check up on that.”

Many of Rod Man’s jokes hit at a place most people can identify with, such as getting cash back from your debit card at the cash register or using the self-checkout line in the grocery store.

“We all go through that,” he said. “…Why am I checking myself out at this register? I don’t work here, I ain’t been to no kind of training—why would I be on the register? I don’t understand that. But we all conform to whatever is going on. …[Or], like when I go to the convenience store, and they have ‘Have a Penny, Leave a Penny.’ If I leave pennies, how many pennies can I get back? How do I keep up with how many pennies I have left?”

Rod Man’s love for life has propelled him a career that began at Atlanta’s Uptown Comedy Club. Back then, the scene was fast-paced.

“When I started, it was around when ‘Def Comedy Jam’ [and ‘Comic View’] was really hot,” he said. “…[C]omics were getting into television at the time…Everybody was hungry. The African American scene was just starting to get really, really big…everybody wanted a comedian.”

The appeal of comedy included “seeing people that look like you, talk like you, and dress like you,” he said. “You’re like, ‘Where they do that at?’ I started and fell in love with it and ain’t stopped since.”

Rod Man’s love for comedy has allowed him to become a film, television, and radio star. He said others who are working on their dreams should find what they love as well.

“Find that thing, your gift,” he said. “Standup is my gift…it’s my baby. I take care of that…God gave you that gift, so use that. Hone in and find your voice, and you’re going to get [your] opportunity; that’s just how it goes.”

Currently, Rod Man is working on a new sitcom concept and is preparing for his first hour-long special. “A lot of the stuff you’ll see this weekend is stuff I’m working on for my hour special,” he said.

He also hopes to reunite with Wanda Sykes, whom he worked with for a 2015 NBC comedy pilot. The pilot fell through, but Rod Man said Sykes is “always in my corner.”

“[She’s] like my auntie,” he said. “…[W]e’re definitely going to do some work on some other stuff down the road.”

But, while being excited for the future, Rod Man’s upcoming StarDome performances are chief on his mind.

“It’s Black History Month and I’m a black man, so support black people,” he said. “[Support] all the time, but especially during Black History Month.”