Living & Entertainment

‘Last Comic’ winner Rod Man to make Tacoma laugh

Rod Man’s comedy is easy on the ears.

Maybe it’s his Georgia drawl. Maybe it’s his mission to “spread more funny.” Whatever his secret is, it’s working for the winner of the most recent season of “Last Comic Standing” on NBC.

Rod Man will be appearing at Tacoma Comedy Club for three nights next week. His numerous other appearances include HBO’s “The Bad Boys of Comedy,” Martin Lawrence’s “1st Amendment Stand Up” for Starz, Nick Cannon’s “Wild ’N Out” for MTV, and “The World Stands Up” for BBC America.

He also appeared in the 2009 feature film “Funny People” with Adam Sandler and Seth Rogen. The newspaper caught up with him by phone in New York City.

Q: How do you describe your comedic style?

A: Observational, conversational comedy. I’m just up there weaving my stories and stuff I have observed on the way.

Q: Did open-mic nights get you hooked on comedy?

A: That’s always the beginning for a comedian — you’ll find out whether you love it or not. You can get booed … not be funny. At my first open mic, every comedian who went on stage had a drink in their hand. So, I tried to have a drink in my hand. Somehow the drink fell and broke on stage. Somebody had to come and clean it up, and I had to get back in to my set. Not a particularly good opening night. But I learned from that not to drink on stage.

Q: On stage you come off as a slightly bewildered man just trying to make it through the world. Do you have to go looking for absurdities or do they come to you?

A: They are everywhere you look.

Q: Your piece on self-checkout stations, like at Safeway and Home Depot, and how they turn us into de-facto store employees, is funny and astute. They are turning us in to unpaid workers.

A: You just don’t have a uniform. That’s the only difference. We’re being trained. Without a handbook. That’s the world we live in.

Q: How has winning “Last Comic Standing” changed your career?

A: It’s made more people aware of my comedy. People want to know more. More people coming out. It’s been a whirlwind. My audience has broadened.

Q: Do you mean in terms of color?

A: Funny doesn’t have a color. But I had started off on the urban side. In Atlanta, the audiences are all black. I did the “Def Comedy Jam,” “Showtime at the Apollo,” BET “Comic View” and then I started broadening my comedy because I thought it has to be bigger than this. Now I have people who supported me from the beginning and new fans. It’s a beautiful marriage.

Q: Did broadening change the tone or content of your material?

A: Not really. I find that mainstream audiences are more into listening. So you can set up a story. But my style has always been the same. I do need to enunciate a little better. I have an accent. I’m from the South. I work on my vernacular every day.

Q: You’ve been on comedy stages, TV, film. What’s next?

A: One of the things from winning (“Last Comic Standing”) is a development deal with NBC to bring me to television. That’s what we’re working on: a sitcom. I’m just here to spread more funny and spread more love. Funny love. That’s what I’m going to do in Tacoma.