2014 kicked off in a major way for funny man Rodney Perry. Making his presence known in Atlanta, the comedy vet has a brand new show on deck, “Off the Chain”, featured on the “Bounce TV”network, a comedy showcase the first Wednesday at ATL chill spot “Acoustix Jazz Lounge,”and an eight-week comedy improv class. Rodney is all about the business of comedy.
“I’m going to be honest, I am a fool! I come from that school of comedy that I am not happy unless my audience is bent over, grasping for breath. My style of comedy is energy, and gut busting funny.”When approached to host “Off the Chain”, Rodney made sure to infuse his style and brand, and provide a platform for the new school of talent. He explains…
“There is a disconnect between what is on television and what is in the comedy clubs. “Off the Chain” has allowed me to bring that comedy club energy. I have given leeway to crack jokes off the cuff. That is why our show feels like a comedy club.”
Putting the jokes and laughs aside, there is a science to comedy. Let’s be honest, getting folks to laugh is harder than most think. “Well, first, a real deal laugh comes out of left field. Our job as comedian is to disguise the joke; you’re not supposed to see it coming. We say the things the audience is thinking, but would never say. We address the elephant in the room.” Coming up in the game, Rodney was exposed to comedy royalty like Richard Pryor, Red Foxx, LaWanda Page and Moms Mabley. However, in the early days of Rodney’s career, it was Eddie [Murphy] that he most connected with. As Rodney puts it, it is “taboo” to mimic another comedian. You can identify with another comic, but you have to stay in your lane.
When asked what is the difference between “White” comedy and “Black” comedy, Rodney breaks it down,
“Comedy is comedy, but culturally, there are subtly differences. We can laugh at the same stuff, but our urban lexicons and colloquialisms our unique to us. As comedians, we have to bridge those gaps. Here is the big difference, White comics can go their whole career without making a black person laugh. As a Black comic, I don’t have that luxury. I have to know the nuances of Black folks and be able to entertain White Folks.”
What else is in the works for Mr. Perry you ask? Totally on the other side of the spectrum, he is working on “Ravenous”, a horror movie where he plays the role of a detective. “As an actor, you need to be open to different opportunities. As an actor and as a comedian, you get type-casted in comedy roles. So, I’m always looking for roles outside of comedy.” He also will be producing a game show and of course his comedy special, “No More Mister Nice Guy”.
By Danielle C. Richardson