Comedian Rodney Carrington says he had to take a class when he got divorced in Oklahoma.
“They want you to understand just how wonderful your life is about to become. ‘Ladies and gentlemen, welcome back!’” he said.
“Everybody feels like Mandela in there: ‘Oh my God, we’re free!’ And then they tell you that over the next 12 months, many things are going to change. You’re going to meet up with people you never knew before, drink too much. You’re going to act a little crazy because you don’t know how to be. And then you’re going to gain a lot of weight and then you’re going to start pulling back. ‘Wait a minute, I’ve been acting like a (expletive) teenager for about 12 months and I should probably act my age.’ And that’s where I am right now.”
The Texas-born comedian, who plays a show at Desert Diamond Casino on Saturday, figures he’s gained 20 pounds since he and his wife of nearly 20 years divorced in 2012.
“I’m in my fat boy pants. I don’t like it. I’m fatter than I’ve ever been,” he lamented during a phone call from home in Oklahoma last week.
“You know how you’ve got like three sets of pants in your closet: You got your skinny pants for when something happens catastrophic and you’ve lost so much weight. Then you’ve got your regular pants where you’re kinda cruising’, life’s pretty good. Then you’ve got these pants where you say, ‘Man I have let myself go.’
“Then you have those pants that you keep in a box and never pull out that have just a drawstring on them. Yea, I’m in Oprah’s pants right now,” he said.
“I do work out. I’ve been trying to. But at 45 it’s just a little bit harder to keep it off,” he said.
The father of three occasionally takes his youngest son George, who’s 15, to the river near his Oklahoma home to go running. Actually, George rides a bike while Carrington huffs and puffs his way on foot. “I almost died,” he said of a recent run.
But the solitude of running has gotten him thinking about life and relationships. He’s convinced that 50 percent of adults have been divorced and the other 50 percent are heading in that direction.
“I never thought that I would ever be (divorced). I was that guy who was going to be there forever, until death do you part,” he said.
After two years of freedom, you would think that Carrington would be a dating machine. Not so much.
“I would never date. Dating means I would actually have to go pick somebody up,” he said. “And if I didn’t like you after 10 minutes, I would have to take you home. … Look I can talk to anybody, but once you realize there might be a hint of crazy, which I can spot in about 10 minutes, I just kind of get out of there.”
When he steps on the Tucson stage — his first show here since he played Centennial Hall in 2009 — he’ll go to that place in comedy that’s adult-themed, raw, honest and definitely not for ears under 18. And even though he wears a cowboy hat — it’s the preferred headwear of his native Lonestar State — don’t try to lump him in with the redneck, country comics that crowd satellite’s Blue Collar Comedy network where Carrington also is a regular.
“What is a country comedian? What is that?” he said. “What am I talking about squirrels or (expletive) raccoon hunting? I don’t hunt. I drive a Lexus. I like Frank Sinatra. I like cigars and red wine.
“My comedy is raw, but I’m as honest as I can be. I really draw from the honesty and pain and hurt of my own life, and I think that has been the key to my success for the 25 years that I have been doing this.”