Rodney Carrington Biography
Last updated: 07/31/2014 07:22:43 AM
Rodney Carrington is back with a new album entitled “Nutsack” that’s as wild and uninhibited as ever. One of the most popular comedians on the road today performing to sell out crowds in large venues, he is a favorite at morning shows like Bob & Tom & John Boy & Billy, and receives extensive airplay on formats spanning country to classic rock and rock.
As usual, Carrington doesn’t hold back in his routines on marriage, women, men and drinking. Cuts from the album, which hits the streets on Feb 11th, are already receiving adds on many radio stations, and looks like it will join Carrington’s last three albums LIVE, two Morning Wood and Hangin’ With Rodney which have consistently been at the top of the sales charts since their respective release dates.
Carrington is also working with ABC Television developing a 30-minute situation comedy based on his stand-up routine. The projected time frame for the pilot is spring of 2003.
Born and raised in the East Texas town of Longview, Carrington does indeed look and sounds like the stereotypical country singer, except, of course when he imitates to perfection one of his favorite crooners, Sinatra, as he does on the new cut of Letter to my Penis on the Nutsack album. But his material definitely breaks the rules of the typically family oriented country artist. He is not a “country comedian” – no Jeff Foxworthy or Bill Engval. Indeed, Carrington talks and sings about subject matter that had previously never seen the light of day on a country record label. His first major label release on Mercury Nashville in 1998 (“Hangin’ With Rodney”) required the very first explicit lyrics sticker ever issued by a country music label. Wildly successful, it has been at the top of the charts continuously for over 244 weeks.
Carrington’s second major label album on Capitol Nashville, Morning Wood, contains more of his trademark knock-em, sock-em, in your face stand-up comedy and songs. Round by round, Carrington breaks down our defenses with a jab to political correctness, an upper cut to forbidden topics, and a left hook to our funny bones. It contains more of the high octane, hilariously raw and aggressive East Texas humor that has set him apart from the crowd and gained him thousands of fans. Morning Wood debuted at number one on the comedy charts, where it has consistently remained in the top three for over 129 weeks. However, Carrington, now competing with himself for chart position released the album “LIVE”, which was actually recorded in 1995, but was re-released in October 2001 on Capitol debuting at the number one slot on the charts and has remained in the top ten for over 67 weeks.
"I don't have any hidden agendas, or any malicious intent," says Carrington. "I don't consider my act 'dirty'. I am simply relating what I hear people say and what we all think about, whether we want to admit it or not. I tell the truth about the way we really are and bring out the honest, inside, no-holds barred thoughts of everybody in this country. I don’t care if you’re an evangelist, or if you own a bowling alley, there are thoughts in your head that you don’t say out loud, but you think them. And that’s where I go.”
Plenty of folks follow. So many in fact that Carrington has graduated from comedy clubs to one-nighters in large venues, where he regularly plays to sold-out houses. His show has also expanded; he now travels via tour bus and Lear jet and unlike many comedians who show up with only a microphone, Carrington’s show now rivals many of the major rock acts on tour. The entourage now includes major production including two very large video screens, tour staff, keyboardist, opening act, concert style lighting, and props, which include two giant inflatable penises.
Fueling his popularity are Carrington’s appearances as a favorite guest on such nationally syndicated radio shows as Bob & Tom, John Boy & Billy, and Mancow.
Atypical of most other comedians in this genre, Carrington’s songs and bits can be heard on a consistent basis across the country on rock, classic rock and country radio stations. This type of cross format radio airplay has earned him an ever increasing, wildly diverse demographic of fiercely loyal fans. In addition, three music videos She’s More Of A Man (from Morning Wood on Capitol Records), Dancin’ With A Man and Fred, (from Hangin’ With Rodney on Mercury Records) have enjoyed heavy rotation on the television music channels.
If Carrington had just one recommendation for his audiences it would be:
‘Let yourself go - it is OK to laugh at this.’
Granted, some of his material may be considered edgy, occasionally even graphic in nature. But Carrington’s intent is not to offend or to shock us; it is simply to entertain. It is tempered by his extraordinary "likeability", and delivered with a playful "ain't that just how it goes" style that audiences readily identify with. He's the little voice in your head that says, "Wow, that's exactly how it is, but is it OK to laugh out loud at such things?" However, resisting the urge may be difficult, if not impossible, because what Carrington talks about is real life, the kind of stuff that all of us really think, talk and joke about in our most unguarded moments with trusted friends. And it is hysterical.
From the moment he hits the stage, Carrington grabs the audience and won't let go. "I like the show to flow at a really fast pace," he says. "If I'm up there for thirty minutes or if I'm there for an hour, I want them laughing through the whole thing."
That's exactly what happens on Nutsack. The stand-up portions were taped live at The Victory Theater in Evansville and the album contains the same type of unadulterated, outrageous and sometimes sexually charged material that has become Carrington’s trademark and the crowd loves it.
"Sex is funny because it's so real," he says. "We all do it. Everybody has an emotional and physical connection to it. So they can relate. If you talk about Eskimos to people who have never been to Alaska, I'm not sure you'll do real well. It all comes down to being honest and real."
Amazingly, this wasn't Carrington’s original plan. He stumbled across his nascent comedic talent while appearing in a junior college production of the play Noises Off. “It was then that I discovered how great the feeling of laughter from an audience was,” he recalls. “I started ad-libbing my lines during the play. The director was kind of irritated with me, but at the same time he was laughing.” At that point, Carrington realized that he wanted to stretch as a performer, wanted to write his own material, wanted to reach another level. On a whim he jumped onstage during open mike night at a comedy club and saw a path open up for him. "I got started doing comedy because I thought, 'what a great way to free up any inhibitions I have and what a great way to make a living on my way to becoming an actor,'" Rodney says. "I didn't realize that it would get this out of hand."
Early on, Carrington saw that comedy suited his personality. He hates planning ahead, as reflected by his spontaneous comedic style, which leads to something new every time he goes onstage. “ I never sit down and write anything, “ he explains. “I start by taking an idea up on stage and kicking it around and end up going in whichever direction with it. I have a tendency under pressure to become more creative. When I’m on stage it’s almost like being a boxer, “ Carrington adds eagerly. “Boom-boom-boom-boom! You hit ‘em and jab ‘em and stick ‘em and kinda toy with ‘em a little bit! When it’s happening, man, when you get the crowd rockin’, there’s nothing like it! It’s an unbelievable feeling!”
Eventually Carrington added songs to his show after picking up a guitar at a pawnshop. He brought it onstage one night to show off the only three chords he knew, and the club owner suggested that if he had a guitar with him he should do something funny with it. He did - sweetly singing country songs about such subjects as the dialogue between himself and his private parts (Letter to my Penis), the wildly popular song about his mom’s embarrassing behavior ( Don’t look Now), and That Awful Day, (when his wife met his girlfriend).
"My show just evolved out of what makes me laugh and what makes me feel good about doing what I do. Nothing was ever by design," says Carrington. "I'm still learning every time I get onstage. I have no idea what the next idea, the next thought will be. I simply try to think of things that are funny, of what makes me laugh - which are the most embarrassing inner thoughts of somebody, or of myself for that matter.”
Originally from Longview, Texas, Carrington now makes his home in Tulsa, OK with his wife and three little boys. At home, he is just “Dad”, and his kids don’t even know what he does for a living. “They think I live at the airport,” he says of his boys, ages 9, 7 and 5. They drop me off and pick me up with Mom. That’s their concept.” In addition to spending time with them, Carrington enjoys golf, a favorite pastime that he pursues both on and off the road. “I’m a golfin’ idiot,” he said with a chuckle. “I like to think that golf is something I do for a living and this comedy thing is just something I have to do on the side.” Too bad there’s no professional tour for bad golfers, Carrington said, or else he’d be in.
Again and again Rodney Carrington, in his own weird, shoot-from- the-hip, hilariously demented way, manages, for better or worse, to bring us face to face with public posturing and pretense. It darned sure ain’t always pretty, but it’s darned sure real, and it’s a whole lotta fun. It’s the kind of humor that’ll sneak up on you and sucker punch you, have you roaring with laughter before you even know what hit you.
So, before you jump into Carrington’s comedic ring, leave your pre-conceived ideas and political correctness outside. Break some rules. And as you give him a lighthearted listen, please heed his advice: “Lighten up! Don’t be so serious about stuff! Enjoy yourself, for God’s sake! Life is entirely too short!”
Now, let’s all shake hands, and come out laughing!