Rodney Carrington got divorced two years ago and found a whole new act.
“That throws a big wrench in your life, your business and your bank account,” he says of the split. “I was married 18 years and got laid off.”
Instead of riffing about life as a dumb husband, he now talks about life as a new single.
And? “It isn’t all that great,” he says. “The grass is not greener. There’s nothing out there but young and dumb and old and crazy.”
Carrington made the discovery when he met women who played out much of their lives on social media. “If she’s taking a lot of pictures of herself and throwing them up on Facebook, get in the canoe and paddle away. She’s looking for immediate gratification.”
Conversations, he says, provided more clues. “If she says, ‘I need you,’ watch out. You don’t want someone who’s needy. You want someone who’s strong, who can hold her own and have complete autonomy. If she ‘needs’ you, she’s going to ride you to the end.”
While the comedian still believes in love, he realizes now he doesn’t need a marriage to provide it. “I thought I was going to be married forever. If you do anything for 18 years, you’ve done it well. But then you realize they don’t need you anymore. My kids are grown and I’m dipping my toe in the dating world.”
His conclusion? “A guy in my position should never get married. It’s horrible, bad business.”
Even worse, friends don’t know what side to take. “After you’re divorced, there’s the displacement. It’s like you’ve been helicoptered out over the ocean, dropped 150 miles from shore with a lifejacket and no compass and you float for a while. You see land. You have nowhere to go. You don’t know how to live your life. But eventually you arrive among the native people and start to reintegrate.”
Carrington, 46, says work kept him going during his drifting period. He admits some bitterness might have crept into his act but now he’s on the other side, drawing from the new experiences he’s encountering.
The result? New routines.
“It goes back to when I started,” he says. “I’m not looking for everybody to think that I’m funny. I’m just looking for somebody.”
Fans have responded positively. Carrington’s audiences have grown, his CDs are selling well and he’s finding new reasons to make people laugh.
“That hour and a half that I spend with the audience is my favorite part of the day,” he says. “When I see someone doubled over and laughing, he’s not thinking about serious stuff. He’s just enjoying himself.
“For me, change has been for the better. As you get older, you don’t feel the need to win. You just enjoy the moment.”
Two new CDs were produced on Carrington’s own label – another positive move. “I fulfilled my obligation to Capitol Records and realized I didn’t have to give 80 percent of (the profits) for administrative work, which was nothing. So now I can record something whenever I want. I had total freedom (with the label), but I was paying them when I didn’t have to.”
Another lesson learned.
Reality television has always loomed but don’t look for Carrington, a father of three (ages 16, 18 and 20) to sign up to be “The Bachelor.” “Oh, no,” he says quickly. “I’m a normal human being. I don’t want to open myself to humiliation. Only badness comes from reality TV.”
Instead, he says, he likes talking to people from a stage. “You don’t have to listen to somebody in a suit telling you how wrong you were – which you do if you’re on television – and you get a big fat check at the end of the night that typically clears.”