With Bret Witter
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So many people helped me with this book that I couldn't thank them all in twenty-five pages, much less one. For that reason, I'm going to mention just three indispensable people: my editor, Chris Park, who pushed me to go back and make the book better (three times!); my good friend Mark Gross, whose insights and humor punched up the comedy and made most of the dull chapters interesting; and my writer, Bret Witter, who took the stories I've been telling for years and turned them into a book. And of course, I wouldn't be writing this book if it wasn't for you, the reader; thank you very much for caring. I truly appreciate it.
A Note from the Writer
My name is Bret Witter. I'm a thirty-five-year-old, six-foot-tall Caucasian male. I live in Louisville, Kentucky, with my wife, Elizabeth, and my three-year-old daughter, Lydia, who is the greatest person who has ever lived.
I love bluegrass music, straw hats, pepperoni pizza, Budweiser out of the can, and crawfish étouffée with hibiscus marmalade sauce.
I can jump over a John Deere riding lawn mower, swim the Ohio River (the short way), and kick the ass of a thirteenth-degree magenta belt in to-fu-yun (did it last week). I built my own house out of Lincoln logs. Colored every page of a Barney coloring book without once going over the line. Did I mention I was the original oboe player for Ronnie James Dio? And just this morning I baked the first completely vegan tiramisu.
But that's my personal life. In my professional life, I'm a ghostwriter, which means I help write books . . . for other people. I'm the guy that went to Rodney's house and helped him organize his notes. And every letter that appears on every one of these pages—I typed it.
Most authors pretend I don't exist. They say, "Thanks, Bret. We'll put your name in the acknowledgments." How many people read the acknowledgments? I thought so.
But Rodney is different. Rodney wants people to know I was involved. Of course, with great power comes great responsibility. Now I'm on the hook. Not legally or financially (that's in my contract), but morally.
So if you find anything in this book that is untrue, poorly written, utterly stupid, moronically trite, horribly unfunny, personally offensive, or just plain wrong—that's my fault, and I apologize.
Everything else—that's Rodney.
So without wasting any more time, let me bring out the man you've all come here to read, the headlining act, the singing cowboy, the guy who shot a guy who shot a guy named Fred, the funniest man you'll ever want to share a beer with, and the next president of the Hell's Angels, Tulsa Chapter . . . Mr. Rodney Carrington.
"If Sam Kinison and Hank
Williams, Jr., had a baby, he'd grow
up to be Rodney Carrington."
Bob & Tom
HANGIN' WITH RODNEY
Hi. I'm Rodney Carrington. I'm a comedian from Longview, Texas. That's in Texas. I live with my family in Tulsa, Oklahoma. That's in Oklahoma. Before we get too intimate, I thought it might be a good idea to tell you a little bit about myself. So put your panties back on and listen up for a minute.
I like George Jones and Frank Sinatra, but not necessarily in that order. I like a quiet night out with my family, just dinner and a movie. If I have a beer, it's no more than six, and usually more like two. If I have a fancy drink, it's a frozen strawberry margarita. I'm not ashamed; there ain't nothing wrong with it.
I like cowboy boots. I've worn them all my life. But I'm not a cowboy. I have 194 acres and four dogs, but I don't ride horses or know anything about cattle. I drive a truck, but that doesn't mean I'm hauling manure to the back forty. My favorite leisure activity is golf.
I don't like people who don't like things. I don't like people who like to talk about not liking things. Life's short. Why be negative? Of course, I hate beets. I don't even like people that like beets, that's how much I hate them.
People sometimes accuse me of being blue, meaning my humor is on the cutting edge. But I'm not blue, I'm true. People sometimes accuse me of being red, as in a redneck. But I'm not red, I'm suburban country. People sometimes accuse me of being white. But . . . well, that is true. I'm white.
The reason all this is even mildly important is that this book is about me. I'm not a comic that does observational humor. I don't say, "You know what's weird? Every time you go to the urinal in a public bathroom, there's piss on the floor. Who the hell misses the urinal?" (In case you're wondering, ladies, that is true. There is always piss on the floor in men's bathrooms. We are disgusting creatures.)
My humor is about my life. I tell stories about myself, my wife, my kids, and my friends. I figure if it's happened to me, it's probably happened to you; let's all drink beer and laugh at ourselves for a while.
If you like my comedy, you're going to like this book. But since reading is a lot harder than listening, I've thought long and hard about the best way to make this experience as painless as possible for both of us.
My first idea was a coloring book. I'd color in the pictures, then you could just cut them out and stick them on your refrigerator.
Then I thought of a bunch of naked pictures of women, but I found out they already have those kinds of publications. They're called porno magazines.
Next I tried "Rodney's Pamphlet." Fifteen pages long, so it should only take you five visits to the shitter to get through it.
Finally, I came up with this book, which has a lot of words in it, but at least I've kept the chapters short. Since you're going to be wasting a lot of time reading, I even included an important lesson. But just one. And near the back. Anything else you learn from this book is completely by accident. I apologize in advance.
My father always tells me, "I cannot believe you get paid to drink beer and give people your opinion on things. I've been doing that all my life, and nobody's every paid me a dime."
My sixth-grade teacher put it a different way. One day, I decided to turn in an English test without answering any of the questions. Instead, on the bottom of the test, I drew a picture of a donkey with a human head and a big turd coming out of its behind. Underneath the picture I wrote: Shit a brick.
I did it because I was bored, and I thought it would be funny. Apparently I was wrong, because Ms. Anderson wasn't laughing when she jerked me out of class and said: "You cannot always be a disruption, Rodney Carrington. You cannot just do what you want all your life. You cannot make a living entertaining people with crude humor."
Fortunately, Ms. Anderson was wrong. I've made a living out of entertaining people. And the reason is you. All you people who have seen my shows and bought my albums and even bought this book—you've given me the greatest gift in the world: your time.
So thank you to my fans—all two of you. Larry, Curly, I really appreciate it. And from here until the end of this book, I'm going to try as hard as I can to tell it like it is and make you laugh.
"When you write a book, they tell you to start with something truly important and meaningful, so here goes nothing . . . "
THE BEST THINGS IN LIFE
There are a lot of great things in life, but there are two that really stand out for me: boobs. I like boobs. I'm a man, I like titties, I can't help it, that's how we are.
If you don't want to read about titties . . . well, I'm not sure why you chose this book. But just in case there's been some misunderstanding, I'm going to make it easy for you. I'm going to get the titty discussion out of the way right here in this chapter. If you don't like it, just skip right ahead. There's some good shit up there, too.
The story starts in the summer of 1992. I was in Orlando, Florida. I'd been on the road awhile, didn't have much money, didn't have much to do, and the hotel owner told me there was a place down the road where they kept the boobs. It's called a titty bar. You go in there, sit down, they bring them out a few at a time and show them to you. You can compare makes and models, see the new colors, check out the hood ornaments. It's kind of like a used-car dealership, except when you choose a few you like they tell you, "Sorry, sir, they're not actually for sale. We're charging you just for looking and that will be four hundred dollars."
I jumped in a truck with some stranger from the hotel bar and headed over. We came over the hill and suddenly there it was—the blinding light of glory!—a building in the shape of two big old titties. I've never been so happy to see a building in all my life. It was like the Wizard of Oz for grown men. You come up over that hill and, "My god, Johnny, there it is, just like the little people said it would be."
We got out of the truck, held hands, skipped up to the door. A little midget answered and said, "Can I help you?"
"You damn sure can. We came to see the wizard. Is she here?"
Well, that's not exactly how it happened. Actually, I skipped up to the door and said, "So . . . is this the doughnut shop?" The big bouncer rolled his eyes. He'd heard them all before. I went in, sat down in the left titty . . . and somehow spent my whole paycheck in about two hours.
Which in those days was $158.23. Yep, I tipped her with pennies.
That's the problem with titty clubs. You stare at titties for two hours, you get dumber than a box of shit. But that doesn't mean you don't like it. I've never met a titty I didn't like. Get me around titties, I'm like a woman in a shoe store. "I want to see every pair of them sonofabitches, get them out here. Yes, even the mismatched pairs."
Titties are a temptation, I'm not going to tell you they're not. Did you know there are two of those things for every woman on the planet? That's a lot, lot, lot of temptation.
On the other hand, titties make you honest. You just cannot lie to your woman when you've been to a titty bar. You come in the front door, smelling of cheap cigarettes and even cheaper perfume, and she's waiting for you.
"Where you been?"
Hee-hee. "Titty bar."
"How much did you spend?"
Umm. "About nine thousand."
"Where's your truck?"
"They got that, too."
"Where's your clothes?"
"I'm not real sure."
"Hell, honey, I thought she was you."
Whatever you got coming to you then, it's fair. You deserve it. That's another great thing about titties: no bullshit. A man and a woman will always get right to the important issues when titties are involved.
Another important thing about titties, at least when the conversation isn't about how you screwed up and touched the wrong one, is that they're calming. I realized that one day while I was out with my good friend Mark Gross. We were walking down the street, having a conversation, and suddenly a gorgeous woman in a tight white T-shirt walked by. We both just stopped talking and started smiling. Whatever we were saying, it just went right out of our heads—and in came happy.
When there are titties around, you can't think of anything but titties. You start planning how to get closer to them. Look at them. Touch them. Maybe even lick them. Then you realize you're in Sears with your wife and kids, those are somebody else's titties, and it's never going to happen.
Which is one of the reasons I think titties are underestimated. I just can't see a bunch of men sitting down and deciding to go to war if there are titties in the room. I'm not talking about women, because they can get just as wound up as men; I'm talking about titties. How can you stay mad when there are titties around?
And banana splits. There is no way to be angry when you are eating a banana split. If you called a meeting, and that meeting had titties and banana splits, there is no way you would come out of that room wanting to hurt somebody. Not going to happen; can't be done.
You see, it's not the presence of titties that's the problem—ever. You can't ever blame the titties. The problem is what happens when someone takes them away. Anger is what happens when the bar closes, you're cold, you're drunk, you're all alone, and they just took you for the baby formula money.
Which is why, to tell you the truth, I've never really been a fan of titty bars. They aren't a big part of my life, and they never have been. If you like them, and you can look responsibly, then have at it. I'm not judging you. But, personally, I haven't been to a titty bar since . . . actually, I can't remember the last time I went to a titty bar. I love titties, don't get me wrong, I just do not have a desire to pay to see them on display.
I'm a husband now. I'm the father of three boys. I try not to go anywhere or do anything that would be embarrassing in front of my kids. What if my oldest boy came into a titty bar and saw me staring at a barely dressed twenty-year-old? That's when the excuses would fly.
"What's going on here? Where am I? I thought this was the doughnut shop."
"Titties? I didn't even notice those titties. I was just having a beer."
"I think I've been abducted. I was on the way to the store for milk and . . . well, something must have grabbed the wheel."
I'd point to some bald-headed pervert and say, "It wasn't my idea. He made me come. I hate it in here."
"Hey, wait a minute. What's a ten-year-old doing in a titty bar?"
I'd look around real fast. "Where's your mother, Zach? Oh no, don't tell me. Please don't tell me. She's at it again, isn't she? She's at the bingo parlor. With the church ladies. Knitting sweaters for orphans. She's so selfish."
About that time I'd probably start thinking, Hell, we're all here now, what's the harm in one more beer?
Then I'd see my son staring at those titties, and my dad instinct would kick in. I'd put my arm around him and say, "Come on now, son. Get in the truck. I'll buy you some chicken wings and curly fries. And if your mom ever asks what we did tonight, you tell her I took you down to a construction site to strip copper wire for scrap."
SLIP 'n SLIDE
I grew up in Texas in the 1970s. It was a more innocent time. It was a time when an eight-year-old could still ride his bike down to the Dairy Queen and buy a pack of cigarettes from the vending machine. Which I did.
For two months, I'd ride down every week and sample another flavor. "Hmm, I think I'll try the brown ones. Kool. That sounds good." I'd take the cigarettes up to my room and smoke them with the window open. Then one day I got cocky and walked into the kitchen with a box of Laughy Taffy and a cigarette hanging out of my eight-year-old lips. All I remember is the sound of the phone dropping out of my mother's hand and hitting the floor.
It wasn't just the cancer that bothered her; it was also the waste of money. Because we were poor. I didn't know that then, but I know it now. Actually, I wasn't poor, my mom was poor; she just dragged my ass along with her.
You remember slip and slide? Big yellow piece of plastic, hurts on gravel. I didn't have a slip-and-slide. I had two Hefty garbage bags taped together. You'd slide two seconds, do a face plant in the dirt. "All right! That was a good 'un. Your turn, Billy!"
We'd be out with no shirt, no shoes, just our Toughskins jeans. If there is one thing that says country boy, it is wearing Toughskins jeans with no shirt.
I don't know if you remember Toughskins, but in 1976 they were every kid's worst nightmare. They were thick, dark blue, and hot as hell in the summer. It was like wearing a carpet on your legs. The only good thing about them was that they were the closest a poor kid could ever get to body armor. You couldn't burn a hole in those jeans. Believe me, I tried lighters, firecrackers, kerosene, cat urine, just about everything to get out of wearing Toughskins. Those jeans were indestructible. I believe if President Kennedy had been wearing a hat made out of Toughskins jeans he'd still be with us today.
I hope that one didn't turn you off. I told that one a few times in my stage show and people actually booed. I still can't believe it. The man's been gone forty years, and some people act like you went fishing with him yesterday.
Whether or not Toughskins would have saved a president's life—and I think at the very least Lee Harvey Oswald would have misfired he'd have been laughing so hard at those jeans hanging off the back of Kennedy's head—they did save many a kid from horrible injury. No matter how hard you slid off the end of that Hefty bag, and no matter how much gravel ended up embedded in your forehead, your Toughskins would come away looking just like they did the day your mom bought them at Sears. Which basically means that no matter what you did, your Toughskins always looked like shit.
I wasn't just poor when I was growing up, I was also country. I lived in the kind of place where your neighbors are always having Vietnam flashbacks. And they'd never even been to Vietnam. "Get down. I can smell him."
"Of course you can. You're lying in deer shit."
We had guys that would come to school bragging about the hunt. "Killed a deer this weekend. He snuck up on me, I couldn't get to my gun, so I beat him with a stick. Rode him three miles, chased him another two, finally broke his antler off and stabbed him through the heart with it three times."
I'm not a hunter. I do not like the idea of getting up at four-thirty in the morning in the middle of winter, just so I can sit in a tree for six hours hoping an animal walks by. If I have to kill a deer, my instrument of choice is a Buick. You paint it camouflage, hide it in the bushes, turn on the radio to easy listening, and wait.
"There he is, Rodney. We got him. Just start her up real slow."
I've been all over the United States now, so I know the country isn't just in Texas, it's everywhere. You should see them down in Mississippi; they don't even touch their lips together when they talk.
You walk into a convenience store in Mississippi, the guy says, "Kin a hep yu."
"Get your finger out of your nose and you might. I'm taking these here Cheetos and no thank you, don't bag it for me, that's all right. And keep the change. I don't want to touch that either."
Then there are the empty states, like Nebraska. There ain't a tree, there ain't a lake, there ain't a bush. They've got sleds but no hills, it don't make any sense.
All they've got in Nebraska is a bunch of tractors and some nice thick women. It's not their fault; they're just wearing their winter coats—on the inside. I'm pretty sure some of them played football for the University of Nebraska, we just couldn't tell they were women because of the mustaches.
Oh, and corn. There is corn everywhere in Nebraska. There is corn where there should never, ever, be corn. Believe me, I've seen it. Once or twice, I've even thought about trying it. But it's so damn bumpy.
All you can do in states like Nebraska is drink and farm, farm and drink, and then go to the comedy club and make fun of some boy from out of town. I think those Nebraska farmers come to the club just to see if they can make you cry. They say, "I'm pissed. You pissed? Good, let's go down to the comedy club and humiliate some poor bastard."
And Nebraska's not the only state like that. There are a lot of small towns out there in America, and I've visited most of them. I'm talking about towns with one airport: Ed's airport, which is an old Wal-Mart with a grass runway out back. They've got a tube sock hanging off a pole to tell which way the wind is blowing. The only airline—Ed's airline—makes you sit in lawn chairs. The only hotel in town—Ed's hotel, the same bastard that flies the airplane—is a trailer. The shower only has one stream of water coming out of it. It's like a dog peeing on your back, which is like a horse peeing on your back, only softer.
If you've never had a horse pee on your back, well then, you're not really from the country.
Denny's—now that's a terrible restaurant. Every time I go to Denny's, it's like going before the judge to be sentenced. I'm pretty confident that I am about to lose three years off my life.
There used to be a Denny's in every small town in America, so I went there a lot when I was on the road. I'd walk in alone and the hostess would say: "How many?"
- On Sale
- Sep 12, 2007
- Page Count
- 240 pages
- Center Street