Don't look now. Rodney's got a Greatest Hits collection! After over fifteen years of bustin' guts and leaving a trail of dust behind him on his non-stop stand-up comedy tour across America, four chart-topping CDs (which have collectively sold over a million copies), and his first television pilot scheduled to be filmed by ABC this spring, Rodney Carrington has firmly carved out his niche in the history of comedy.
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With Carrington's two-disc retrospective set, he takes a moment to reflect on his career and the milestones he's achieved. The collection is chock-full of his most famous stand-up bits and songs from his Nut Sack, Morning Wood, Hangin' with Rodney, and LIVE CDs. He's also added two new tracks, a surprisingly serious song called "Things We Didn't Know," originally written as a tenth anniversary gift for his wife, and included on Greatest Hits at her suggestion. The other brand new song is an ode to the naked truth about women called " Put Your Clothes Back On".
Catapulted from obscurity by the massive exposure he gained from his appearances and airplay on syndicated morning radio shows like Bob and Tom and John Boy and Billy , Carrington has steadily won new fans, and kept old ones coming back for more with his hilarious (and often "bawdy") songs like "Don't Look Now," "Letter To My Penis," "Little Things," and "Fred." Fans old and new are treated to the best of Carrington's best on Greatest Hits , and they'll get a lot of bang for their buck with a total of 42 cuts.
How Carrington got from his childhood beginnings in Longview, Texas as a shy kid who didn't think much of school to the stages of arenas full of people that pay money to hear him sing a duet with his genitals is a tale that could fill volumes. Although the story is a dream come true for him, Carrington never set out to be a comedian. While he was in junior college, he became involved in the theater program, and he realized that he not only liked acting, people actually thought he was good at it. From there it was a random whim that made him jump on stage at an open-mic night at a comedy club, and the rest, as they all-too-often say, is history. Acting was put on the back burner in favor of stand-up comedy, but not permanently.
As if Carrington's rigorous schedule of sold-out shows and his catalog of successful CDs weren't enough, he's been working on developing a television pilot, currently entitled Rodney. David Himelfarb, whose most recent success is the hit series "My Wife and Kids," is heading up the production team. Veteran writer and Executive Producer Ric Swartzlander ("8 Simple Rules," "Ellen") is set to adapt Carrington's unique brand of stand-up comedy and music to television . ABC has picked up the pilot, and the network has committed to film it for possible inclusion on their fall 2004 schedule.
"There hasn't been anything like we're doing on television in quite some time, since Roseanne and Home Improvement ," Carrington says of the show "It's geared toward Middle America, and it's reflective of the people and situations I've encountered throughout my life and career."
Carrington will be spending much of his time in Los Angeles this year casting and shooting the pilot, but he says he'll still be on the road a lot on the weekends performing live, in true Rodney Carrington "overachiever" fashion.
For most people, keeping such a rigorous work schedule and trying to balance it with family life would be impossible, but Carrington has managed to do just that. His home life in Tulsa, Oklahoma is surprisingly serene these days compared to the cussin' comic in the cowboy hat he portrays on stage at his shows. His three sons, ages 10, 8, and 6, don't even know what he does for a living. In fact, family trips to take him to the airport have become such a part of everyday life, they think he lives there!
"I like my time with my kids when I'm at home. A down day for me might start off with an early morning run, then my boys and I might drive out to my getaway ranch and go fishin' or ride four-wheelers," says Carrington . "My wife and I always make sure we take time together, too. Once a week for the past six years, regardless of whatever's going on, we have date night. We realized early on that we need to make that time for each other to be the best parents we can and be the best we can for one another. That one day a week gives us the opportunity to do that."
It's not just seasoning as a performer and the stability of his family that keeps Carrington grounded these days. On November 9 th , 2003, after a show in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, Carrington's best friend, fellow comedian and opening act of fifteen years Barry Martin died suddenly in his hotel room of a heart attack.
"He was the greatest human being that I ever knew. If you find a friend besides your wife that you can confide in with your most intimate concerns, you're lucky. That's what Barry meant to me," says Carrington, reflecting on Martin's memory. "It's made me reassess what I want to do with my life. Losing Barry has changed me forever."
While Carrington's fans eagerly anticipate his network sitcom debut, they can rest assured that his mature outlook on life doesn't mean he has any plans to slow down in the near future, and they can expect a lot more great material from him.
"There are a lot of things I'd like to do. I'd like to perform in a play. I'm looking forward to That's Just Rodney . Stand-up has always been fun for me, and I'd never abandon it," says Carrington . "Its all comedy, keep in mind, not brain surgery. I just want 'em to laugh, and outside of that I'm happy with whatever happens."
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