Country singer/comedian Rodney Carrington is grateful that after 20 years in the business, he no longer needs to live by the law of the jungle.
Mr. Carrington, best-known for blue stories and songs delivered with a country twist, said that his career was first shaped by the understanding that success meant making people laugh. His stories in songs were based on figuring out what an audience found funny.
"The thing is, when I started doing stand-up I was 20," he said in a recent telephone interview from his home near Tulsa, Okla. "I was a product of my environment. I was being dropped into these places, in front of an audience, and I had to figure out, as a comic, what I had to do to survive."
Mr. Carrington has since enjoyed the opportunity to expand his career. Stand-up is still the foundation, but he also has appeared in movies, starred in an ABC television series and recently released a straightforward Christmas album.
"I studied theater in college, and I've always loved music," Mr. Carrington said. "Stand-up has always been the driving force, but as you get older, you start to think differently. ... "
Mr. Carrington said he was attracted to comedy because he thought standing on a stage telling stories and singing silly songs was an excellent way to make a living. It was better, he said, than hauling rocks or stripping shingles. Though his aversion to manual labor remains, his reasons for performing have shifted.
He said he wants his performances to affect people in a positive way. Laughter does that, he said. So can a song. Those are his tools.
"I do this now because I want to live a purposeful life," he said. "There's not one thing that I feel like I need to do. What I do know is that the things I do now will be done with a sense of purpose. There's nothing I crave in my life. I just want to be a better human being."
Reach Steven Uhles at (706) 823-3626 or firstname.lastname@example.org.