The globe-trotting Tom Rhodes will be at at J’s Bistro Wednesday night.
By HAP MANSFIELD
A funny thing happened to comedian Tom Rhodes on his way to the forum. He took the long route.
“I’m sorry I didn’t get back to you earlier,” he said last week after numerous calls. “I was in Japan last week.”
Rhodes’ career has been one long travelogue of adventures, some of which you can hear for yourself when Corridor Comedy brings him to J’s Bistro, 202 North LBJ Drive, Wednesday at 8 p.m.
It may seem more than a little odd that as an American comedian Rhodes has garnered such a world-wide audience until one considers that the world has had a taste for American observational humor ever since Mark Twain toured the globe in 1895. The image of Rhodes having hugely popular television shows in Amsterdam for four years is no less exceptional than picturing Twain standing up in Uttar Pradesh, India, talking about life on the Mississippi.
The Florida-born Rhodes has followed his own path through comedy and the world since he was 17 years old. He has come a long way from the early 1990s when he was a gentle, soft-spoken, long-haired spokesman for Comedy Central. A veteran of an NBC sitcom, “Mr. Rhodes,” and numerous HBO and Comedy Central specials, he continues to garner fans across the globe doing stand-up routines wherever the world needs comedy. As it turns out, that’s just about everywhere.
His career changed when he was regularly performing in London and started picking up engagements in comedy clubs throughout Europe. It was while performing in Amsterdam that he was spotted by the Dutch television network, Yorin, which offered him a late night talk show.
“Ah yes,” he responds when asked about his stint as a talk show host. “Its the magical relationship with the Netherlands. I was on TV for four years there.”
The talk show was so popular with the Dutch that he was then given a travel show, filming spots on Peru, Russia, France and the Dutch Caribbean. From thence comes his global appeal.
The globe, though, also appeals to Rhodes, and it’s obvious from his observations that he more than enjoys the travel.
“I was entertaining the Marines at different bases in Japan,” he said, speaking about his most recent global gig. “I was right at the base of Mt. Fuji, but it was foggy the whole time I was there. Then, the day I was going to leave, I saw the fog lift, like a curtain, and reveal this gorgeous mountain. It was awe inspiring.”
His audience runs the gamut from servicemen in Iraq to a variety of worldly comedy fans.
“My audience is usually international expatriates or just fans of English-speaking comedy,” Rhodes comments. “Later this year, I’ll be in Hong Kong, Australia, Beijing, Shanghai and maybe Kuala Lumpur.”
As he roams the world, Rhodes often photographs his Elvis doll, a Mattel toy to which he claims attachment because he is, as he terms it, a “white trash Southern boy”. On his website, Tommyrhodes.com, you can see the little plastic crooner posed in Chitzen Itza, Mexico, Beijing, Sicily, Barcelona, London, Berlin and even Oklahoma City. The doll has been more places in the world during the last couple decades than most people will travel in their whole lives.
Home, for the comedian, is wherever he hangs his hat, or sits his Elvis doll.
“I lived in L.A. for two years, ” he said disparagingly, “And that wasn’t happening.”
Since then, he’s really had no time to have a home.
“I’m always traveling,” he said, not unhappily.
Rhodes seems to enjoy the world as much as the world enjoys his humor, and it’s obvious that he wants to experience every place that he goes, no matter how small the town or where it is located. He’s looking forward to being in San Marcos the way most travelers look forward to a foreign vacation.
“I love Texas, and the Hill Country is really gorgeous,” Rhodes said. “It’s a great place. I’m planning to be in San Marcos early to enjoy all that it has to offer. I want to float down that river and really experience the place.”
Fresh from several gigs in San Antonio (via Japan), Rhodes’ gig in San Marcos is not just another club date in another town in an endless string of towns that he tours, because Rhodes doesn’t see the world that way. He genuinely enjoys wherever he is, and it shows in his attitude about comedy.
“Yeah, I’m promoting love and laughter in the universe, ” he said, quoting his website’s catchphrase.
For more information on Rhodes’ engagement in San Marcos, go to www.comedycorridor.com.Email | Print