Rodney Carrington is brash, raw and has a bit of a mouth. But more than that, he’s honest.
The comedian is traveling next week from his home just outside of Tulsa, Okla., to the John Q. Hammons Center in Rogers for a night of stand-up that he calls “truthful comedy.”
“This act is all new, and everything I’m doing now is not on any previous records,” he says. “The show is just another chapter in my life, and I’m sharing it with the folks. How’s the audience going to take it? Hell if I know. It’s entertainment.”
His act may be new, but the Texas native says this isn’t his first rodeo.
Carrington has been performing comedy for the last 25 years, he says, beginning when he tried it on a whim one weekend while attending junior college in Kilgore, Texas.
“I was studying acting and tried stand-up … just for no reason,” he says. “I can’t tell you why I got into it, I just did. People laughed, so I just kept going back until someone offered to pay me. It just grew out from there.”
And grow it did. After releasing his first album in 1998, Carrington went on to release five more plus a Christmas album. He also co-wrote and co-starred in the feature movie “Beer for My Horses,” acted in music videos and starred in his own television show.
He says moving from stand-up to acting wasn’t much of a transition, but it did take some getting used to.
“For me, it was just a different kind of performance,” he says. “The television show was an ensemble. If you’re doing stand-up, you’re on your own. If it doesn’t work, you ain’t got no one to blame it on but yourself.”
Carrington says he doesn’t have much to blame on anybody, but heartache has had an impact on the direction of his comedy. Recently divorced, he’s decided to bring out what he’s learned from his experience rather than dwell in the pain.
“‘Here Comes the Truth’ is exactly what it says,” he says. “What I’m exploring right now in my life is what I’m going to talk about. I talk about what I know, of my own experiences. I take the heinous part of who we are, the secret part you don’t want anyone to know about, and I expose it. I find the humor in the hardcore truth of who we are as human beings.”
The father of three is no stranger to “real-life hurts,” he says, but it’s what he thinks sets him apart from other comics and makes his shows so accessible to audiences.
“My comedy comes from real places of deep pain, but it’s only when you come out of that dark place that you find the humor in what you’ve been through,” he says. “And that’s what has resonated with people. There’s people that identify with me because I identify with them.”
But Carrington’s show is not just about commiserating with an audience — it’s in support of a good cause.
The comedian created the Tulsa-based Rodney Carrington Foundation in 2010. The nonprofit organization developed out of a need to focus his charitable giving, he says, which now benefits the DaySpring Villa, a women’s and children’s shelter serving as a refuge for victims of domestic violence.
“I thought that I would find something I wanted to support and someone who needs it, and I found this little center here in Tulsa that needed more funding.” he says. “It’s a place for women and children. It kind of resonated with me because of my mother and her experiences, so we started a partnership with them.”
But regardless of the content or cause, Carrington is quick to return to the underlying purpose of his show.
“It’s entertainment,” he says. “And I’m just having a lot of fun, and I’ve got a lot to say. And at the end of it, if people come out and see me and learn anything — it’s an accident.”
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