This is posted on the AJC Radio & TV Talk blog by Rodney Ho
Roy Wood Jr. is seeing an upward career trajectory many of his peers might envy.
He had a recurring role on TBS’s “Sullivan & Son” from 2012 to 2014.
Last year, he joined “The Daily Show With Trevor Noah” as a regular comedy correspondent in New York.
And he’s now readying to tape his first Comedy Central stand-up special, a great addition to any comic’s resume. He’s taping two free shows at Center Stage in Midtown on Friday, October 14. Tickets are available here.
“As a Southerner, I wanted to be in front of my people,” said Wood Jr. in a recent interview. “I wanted to perform somewhere I felt comfortable.”
Atlanta’s Uptown Comedy Corner, when it was in Buckhead, was one of the first places he ever performed. He remembers visiting P. Diddy’s restaurant next door Justin’s (long closed). “I was relaxing before the show and asked for a glass of water. It was $8! I’m not paying $8 for damn water!”
He said Atlanta nowadays “is very eclectic. There are a lot of ideologies and sensibilities. As far as Southern cities goes, it hits the sweet spot in terms of race. A great deal of my stand up this time touches on race deeply. To me, it’s important to talk about race in areas where people are most affected by it. To have a conversation with people who aren’t affected by it, for me, it’s not how I want my comedy to read.”
Wood said he’s in a good place. “I couldn’t have scripted any of what’s going on with me,” he said. He said after a year, he feels he’s starting to get a hang of the job at “The Daily Show.”
Comedy Central offering him a special “is a dream. I don’t assume I’ll have a second shot at this.” But he’s confident in his material. “I’m excited. At the same time, I’m really dialed in. This is going to be one of the best shows I’ve ever done. It’s something I can hang my hat on.”
He said he could have easily picked the greatest hits from his 18-year stand-up career but he decided to keep the set current, with almost all fresh material. “You have to be reflective of the climate you live in,” he said. “Things are very tense now. There are a lot of issues on people’s minds.” And working on ‘The Daily Show,” being immersed in the news, has given him fresh avenues to pursue comedy.
Wood said he is aware his boss Trevor Noah hasn’t gotten across-the-board accolades for his work his first year but he thinks he is progressing well. “He loves his sheer curiosity. It’s been very much a good learning process with Trevor. He’s funny. He’s quick. He sees things through a prism nobody else can. He asks questions rarely asked by the American mainstream. It gives the show a fresh perspective, which is what Comedy Central wanted. He’s smarter than I am.”
He’s had some year. He’s interviewed porn stars who felt they were racially discriminated against. He rode along with obsessive 80-year-old New Hampshire zealots who love the campaign process more than any political candidate.
And Wood recently did a piece on the open-carry laws in Texas and visited the University of Texas, where student protesters wielded adult toys of male genitalia with a slogan I’m certain my AJC bosses would not want me to write out. So as a warning, it’s said in the report below:
“I don’t know what was scarier,” Wood said. “Texas or Cleveland during the RNC. Texas is like its own country. It’s very unnerving with all the crazy crazy gun people there.”
Wood, who began on radio in Birmingham doing prank calls, has no plans to leave the medium and enjoys working with Kiss., where he can be heard from 3 to 7 p.m. weekdays “Radio keeps you in touch with what really matters to people,” he said. “You get feedback in real time. A radio show can change trajectory in an instant.”
By RODNEY HO/ firstname.lastname@example.org, originally filed Wednesday, October 5, 2016