Robin Leach's Vegas DeLuxe
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With guitar in hand, stand-up comedian, actor and country singer Rodney Carrington is taking the stage at the Mirage tonight and tomorrow. A Las Vegas stage might be intimidating for some, but for Carrington, it’s just another opportunity to make an audience lose the ability to think as a result of excessive laughter. What was once a step to overcome fear has landed him a full-time career.
“I got started when I was in college. I was a theater major. I was trying all different kinds of things that I thought would scare me, to try and take any inhibitions I might have to help make me a better actor, and, in the process, stand-up was one of those pursuits,” Carrington said. “After many years, here I am 22 years later, and it seems like things have worked out."
In addition to touring as a comedian, Carrington has produced eight comedy albums, had had a starring role in his own TV sitcom and was a co-writer and co-star with Toby Keith in Beer For My Horses. His act typically provides his audience with a combination of stand-up and original songs.
“Playing the guitar was something I had picked up out of boredom on the road, and I learned a couple of chords. I was so proud of myself that I learned three chords that I took it onstage with me one night, and I got up there and told the audience, ‘Hey, look, I know three chords.’ ”
“The club owner told me, ‘Hey, dummy, if you’re going to take that guitar up there with you, you might want to think about doing something funny with it.’ And so began little bitty comedy songs, and over the years now they’ve turned into longer, more real songs.”
Through stand-up and song, Carrington’s routines are founded on personal experience, stories, reflections and lessons. The majority of his material is about marriage, kids and family.
“When I met my wife and we got married, it was kinda a buckle-down, like, ‘oh my gosh, I really better get serious about this if this is really what I’m going to do.’ I think if anything, getting married kinda focused me ’cause it wasn’t just about me anymore -- it was about us. It also provided me with a wealth of material because all my stand-up albums then became about marriage and kids and what that was like.”
Carrington is performing in the Terry Fator Theater at the Mirage today and tomorrow at 10 p.m. While this is a return visit to Las Vegas for him, it will be his first time performing at the Mirage. “I’ve heard nothing but great things about it; I’m just looking forward to being there and seeing it,” he said. “Fans can expect a big ball of hilarity.
“For me, one of the funniest things about comedy is the element of surprise. I never get tired of seeing people laugh hard, and that’s one of the things that keeps everyone going back. I know what it feels like to laugh really, really hard. When you’re laughing really, really hard, you’re in a mindless state, you’re not thinking of anything else.
“And today, with all the things that we’ve got going on, it’s good to have that, and I’m glad that I get to be one of the people that gets to do that.”