By Caroline Fontein
Texas native Rodney Carrington has been making audiences laugh with his unique brand of stand-up comedy for almost 20 years. He doesn’t just tell jokes. A singer and songwriter, Carrington incorporates his repertoire of hilarious songs into his act.
Carrington released his debut album “Hangin’ with Rodney” in 1998. Since then he’s released seven additional albums including two certified gold albums, “Morning Wood” and “Greatest Hits.” In addition to touring the country with his comedy act, Carrington starred in his own sitcom “Rodney.” He also co-wrote and co-starred with Toby Keith in the award-winning movie “Beer for My Horses.”
VEGAS.com had a chance to talk to Carrington about his upcoming show at the Mirage on June 17 – 18 and why he loves performing in Las Vegas.
Q. So what can fans expect to hear from you at your upcoming show in Vegas?
A. “Well the material I’m working on now is all brand new. I just filmed a special recently. I don’t have any plans yet of when it’s going to air or where it’s going to air… After 22 years and I don’t know how many comedy albums I’ve made, hopefully they can expect something funny. They’ve been laughing at it, so they can expect a good time is what I’m expecting them to have.”
Q. Is your new material similar to what you’ve done in the past?
A. “A lot of my material now is a reflection of marriage, kids. I’m 42 so obviously I don’t think the same way as I did when I was 25 years old. So things are changing. My brand of humor is still the same, but my thoughts are different.”
Q. What do you like to do in Vegas when you’re not performing?
A. “I play golf. I love Shadow Creek, that golf course out there. It’s awesome. I also love Las Vegas. I love Sinatra, and I love the old Vegas. To me that’s what Vegas is. The tragedy is that a lot of those old hotels are gone. It would have been nice for them to keep places like the Sands and just restore them and have them there because they’re such a part of history. But I know that the landscape changes, and the almighty dollar rules the world, but I do love Las Vegas.”
Q. How old were you when you first came to Las Vegas?
A. “I was maybe 25 or 26 years old. The first time I ever came there I opened for Carrot Top, many years ago at Bally’s. That was the first place I ever worked. I remember, I got there, I saw my name on the marquee, and I was all excited. I was like, ‘oh my God.'”
Q. How did your style of telling jokes and singing come about?
A. “Well when I started, I was 20 years old. I didn’t have the luxury of working in very nice places. You kind of go wherever they’ll have you. When you end up in front of a crowd of 300 drinking crazy marines, they don’t necessarily want to hear a joke about a squirrel. So, really it was about survival. Since then it’s been a little bit easier because I have audiences that come out and know who I am… When you start out in comedy, it’s really about how much humiliation one can withstand because the first five years are really awful. You’re just trying to figure it out. Apparently, I had a really high tolerance to it, but over time the things that I talk about have become very personal. I can’t obviously talk about anything that I don’t know anything about because then I don’t have any sort of emotional connection to it… I’m a story teller. I’m not a joke teller.”
Q. How did you decide to combine music with your comedy?
A. “Music has always been something that I’ve been interested in. I bought a guitar out of boredom early in my career, and I taught myself three or four chords. I remember showing the audience one night. I was so proud of myself that I had learned three chords. The club owner came up to me afterwards and said, ‘Hey dummy if you’re going to take that on stage with you, you might want to think about doing something funny with it.'”