On this day in comedy on September 15, 1970, Comedian, Actor, Writer, Rodney Perry was born in Chicago, Il.
Raised in Monroe, Louisiana, Perry got his start in comedy in grade school. He was an antsy child always running off at the mouth and causing distractions. So his teacher made a deal with him. If little Rodney could be quiet for a full day she’d let him perform and tell jokes to the class. He did and discovered his calling. He found himself hosting school talent shows and acting as MC at sporting events. The bug continued biting when he did two stints in the Navy. Once he got out Perry moved to the Bay Area of California to hone his craft. He was going to call himself, “Rodney, the Entertainer” until one night he turned on his television and discovered a guy by the name of Cedric had already copped that moniker. So “Rodney Perry” it would remain as he made his way to Hollywood by way of Inglewood.
Perry was part of the new wave of comedians who cut their teeth and were ready for their close-up right before the urban comedy boom hit. He had a family and so odd jobs were part of his journey until one day while at the VA an amputee asked Perry why he was doing menial work to make ends meet when he should be living out his dream. The money couldn’t have been much worse. Perry took that and started hustling any kind of comedy gig he could find. He did all the requisite shows of the era: “Def Comedy jam”, “Comic View”, “Laffapalooza”, “1st Amendment” and “Comic’s Unleashed”. He was the warm-up act for Kym Whitley’s show “Oh, Drama”. He was co-host of “Bill Bellamy’s Who’s Got Jokes” for TV-One and received the national notoriety he’d been seeking as the co-host of BETs “The Monique Show’; the late night talk show that ran from October 5, 2009 – August 16, 2011.
Bounce-TV was also good to Perry. He became the comedy face of up & coming broadcast station. Perry hosted their comedy show, “Off the Chain”. He had the number one comedy special on Bounce as well as a recurring role on their popular, “Family Time”.
The observational comedian has toured extensively and host the radio show “Rodney Perry Live”. Perry has also been featured in the films, “Johnson Family Reunion”, “The Last Laugh” with Tony Rock and the Tyler Perry (no relation) motion picture, “Madea’s Big Happy Family” and others.
By Darryl “D’Militant” Littleton
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