‘Mo’Nique Show’ co-host Rodney Perry to perform at Fat Fish BlueWritten by Jeff McGinnis | | firstname.lastname@example.org
Rodney Perry is a familiar face to viewers of almost any medium. He has appeared extensively on television in the past few years, as both the co-host of BET’s “The Mo’Nique Show” and as a guest star on sitcoms such as “Meet the Browns.” He is breaking into movies with a role in the recent “Madea’s Big Happy Family.” But for Perry, who will appear at Fat Fish Blue beginning May 13, it all comes back to his true passion — stand-up.
“I’m super-duper excited about coming in,” Perry said of his Glass City appearance in an interview with Toledo Free Press Star. “I mean, I’ve been blessed over the last couple of years to get some opportunities to do some television and to do some film. But, you know, stand-up comedy is my roots. I love to just perform for people who have never seen my act before.”
To watch Perry onstage is to be bowled over by his energy. His passion for his artform can be seen in every moment. He describes himself as, “Knock-down, drag-out, energy for an hour straight. I’m a kinda thick guy, but I move around the stage like I’m 98 pounds.”
Perry first began to hone his onstage persona nearly 20 years ago. He began performing while serving in the military.
“During that time, from ’90 to ’98, I was in the Navy, but I was performing the whole time, I was never stationed on a ship. I like to tell people — I was a yeoman in the Navy. And what a yeoman is, for anybody that doesn’t know, when you watch ‘Star Trek’ and Captain Kirk and the Doctor, they all go down to the planet — the yeoman is the one who always gets killed,” Perry joked.
“It was a great time. I made some lifelong friends and cut my teeth. My first times onstage was when I was in the Navy.”
After leaving the service, he began focusing on his performing in earnest, spending years working clubs with the occasional televised appearance. “If you’ve seen a comedian on television, or on a DVD, or whatever — you haven’t seen them yet. If you haven’t been in the room with a comedian, you haven’t seen them perform. There’s something about the connection you get inside of a comedy club, and that’s why I love to play clubs.”
It was while working clubs, in fact, that Perry made the connections that got him his highest profile gigs, such as when comedian/actress Mo’Nique attended his show.
“I got a random call, like, maybe three days later. And it’s Mo’Nique. I didn’t recognize her voice, I’d never talked to her on the phone. And she was like, ‘You were hilarious!’ And we began to have this conversation, as two comedians,” Perry said. “And she was like, ‘Now, don’t take this the wrong way. Can I take your wife on a shopping spree?’ Now, this was the lean years. This was my first encounter with this woman. And she wanted to take my wife on a shopping spree. So I was, like, totally taken aback.
“And I was like, ‘How do I pay you back for this?’ And she was like, ‘You don’t. Someday, you’ll be able to help some young comic the way I’m helping you.’ And so, that’s my initial meeting with this lady.”
Their connection would lead to a gig as co-host on Mo’Nique’s radio show, which in turn led to Perry becoming co-host of her hit talk show on BET. “I consider myself my Scottie Pippen to her Michael Jordan. My job is to assist her in any way I can, and to provide an atmosphere.”
Perry, who is based in Atlanta, has also made strides in film, particularly via Tyler Perry (no relation) Studios, such as his appearance in “Madea’s Big Happy Family.”
“Now, apparently, they’d been looking to fill this role for like, two months. So, I went in on a Thursday, I auditioned, didn’t hear a thing Friday. By Saturday, I’m like, it’s not gonna happen, because I know they’re shooting on Monday. So, I’m talking to one of my best friends on the phone and I’m like, ‘Dude, this is not gonna happen’,” Perry said. “And just as it came out of my mouth, the phone rang. And it was them telling me, ‘Congratulations.’”
But for Perry, it all comes back to his first love. “I love film, I love television. But when it comes to stand-up, I’m the end-all, be-all. I write, produce, direct; I’m the final word on what I end up saying. I’m kind of a control freak, so because of that, I think — and, you know, I love making people laugh.”
Email Jeff at PopGoesJeff@gmail.com.