Tom Rhodes
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Tom Rhodes

Band Comedy World


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Tom Rhodes has been around, literally and figuratively. He’s been a comic since his senior year in high school, and today he is approaching 40. He’s lived in Florida, San Francisco, L.A., and in New York. Now he’s in Amsterdam, living on a street he can’t pronounce. Rhodes has played every American city that has a comedy club, and he’s toured the globe so many times that when Immigration looks at his passport, they ask for CliffsNotes.

When he speaks, it’s in a mellifluous manner that suggests higher education, but Rhodes is somewhat proud that the last class he attended was in public high school. He credits his knowledge and passion for learning to a talented group of teachers: “I was poisoned with Kerouac, Muhammad Ali, Gandhi,and the Beatles. They did it for me.” His humor thrives on information and intelligence. Never settling for jokes about broken toasters or remoter controls, Rhodes would rather brood over race and culture.

When he started in the mid 1980’s there were cut-rate comedy clubs on every corner, and it was in one of those watered-down rooms in Orlando that Rhodes popped his comedy cherry. He was underage, but the owner looked the other way and the Don Johnson clones that filled the audience every night didn’t mind either.

By the early 1990s he was becoming a standout comic, partially due to a Brillo-esque mop of hair that passed his shoulders. Rhodes’ sets drew excitement, and TV shows such as "Comic Strip Live" and MTV’s "Half Hour Comedy Hour" gave him solid air time. But it was Comedy Central, then a brand-new channel, that showed ultimate faith and gave Rhodes their first ever talent deal. There he hosted "Viva Vietnam: A White-Trash Adventure Tour," which Comedy Central billed as a “Bob Hope-less comedy special.” The special was well-received by critics and veterans alike, and Comedy Central continued to push the young comedian. The decade culminated with Tom having his own sitcom on NBC called “Mr. Rhodes.”

It came at the suggestion of friend/comedian Greg Proops that Rhodes see how his jokes worked on the other side of the Atlantic. Trusting his friend, Rhodes ventured over European waters to the city on the Thames and began a European odyssey that has not ended five years later.

It was at a performance at Amsterdam’s Toomler that revived “TV Tommy.”