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“Last Comic Standing” Comedian Roy Wood Jr. Takes Fame with a Grain of Salt

Rowdy comedian Roy Wood Jr., who’s touring with the Last Comic Standing Tour coming to the Progress Energy Center on Friday, October 29, has recently catapulted to sudden stardom, but he’s taking it all in stride. Even though his comedy has become a YouTube sensation and he’s appeared on such hits as Def Comedy Jam and Late Show with David Letterman, he says, “I’ve never considered myself a celebrity. I just have a job that requires me to be on television from time to time. I came from Birmingham and we don’t worship celebrity status there. We recognize it, but we don’t worship it. Everybody back home just treats me like the same old Roy.”

Perhaps Wood’s humility comes from the fact that comedy and success is just something he sort of fell into. Growing up, he dreamed of playing baseball for the Cubs or becoming a firefighter. Comedy wasn’t even on his mind until his junior year of college at Florida A&M University. “I was getting to the point where school was becoming very stressful. I’d had a bad semester and that whole shadow of maybe you won’t graduate was hanging over me. So I started performing at open mic nights at comedy clubs in the area. It gave me somewhere to go and clear my mind. Then I realized hmm…this seems to be going well, and I just kept on doing it.” Wood eventually became so well known in Florida that he was able to “walk right into a comedy career,” as he put it, directly after college. “I don’t want to say full time, because I wasn’t getting full time bookings yet, but I was definitely working enough,” he added.

Just working enough, however, eventually turned into a slew of television and promotional appearances, including a stint on Chelsea Lately! and Comics Unleashed. Then, in 2010, he landed a coveted spot on Last Comic Standing that put him directly in the limelight. Now, touring with the cast of the show, he’s having an absolute blast. “I love all this travel and, more importantly, the freedom I now have to talk about things I couldn’t discuss before due to content. It’s a great opportunity for me to stretch my limits.”

Wood is also enjoying meeting a few of his loyal and not-so-loyal fans. “The most awkward thing to deal with on the tour is meeting people who watched the show and voted for other people. I’ll be standing next to Felipe [Esparza] and somebody will go ‘I love you man, I voted for you.’ Then, they’ll see me standing there and say, ‘Oh, I like you too.’ Don’t get me wrong, they’re all cool people. It’s just funny,” Wood laughed.

After his adventures on the road are over, Wood plans to start a radio program and go out for more television auditions. “For now,” he said, “I’m cool with just doing comedy for anybody that will shut up and listen.”

While Wood will unfortunately not be at the Raleigh show, die-hard fans can catch him at the Knight Theatre in Charlotte. For further information about the tour or to purchase tickets, visit http://www.nbc.com/last-comic-standing/tour-schedule/.

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