Carla Rhodes Ain’t Your Puppet

Let’s talk with the one and only rock’n’roll ventriloquist, G.L.O.C. CARLA RHODES on her show THE CONTINUING STORY OF CARLA RHODES, her creative process and her inspiration.  Rawk!

Photo by Anya Garrett

When did you start working on your show?

I started creating “The Continuing Story Of Carla Rhodes” in November 2009 after my partner Joe Vincent convinced me I should put all of my loves into one hour long show: comedy, rock’n’roll and ventriloquism. We decided to tie the show together with the loose story line of my journey from Kentucky to following my dreams of hitting the big time in NYC… Including all the characters I meet along the way (such as Herschel Ragbottoms, Under Bed Alligator, Mick’n’Keef and Cecil Sinclaire).

The show is set to rawkin’ live music – provided by The Extravaganzas (Joe Vincent on drums, Pemberton Roach on bass and Steve Dawson on guitar). The first performance was in January 2010. We’ve had an absolute blast with the show this year. We’ve performed the show at Joe’s Pub, Galapagos Art Space and Ars Nova’s ANT FEST. We’ll also be performing the show at the Glasgow Comedy Festival in 2011. We’re currently performing the show monthly at Arlene’s Grocery until May 2011 (next show is this Sunday, December 12th). It’s so much fun!

What do you hope people take away from it?

The message of “The Continuing Story Of Carla Rhodes” is essentially follow your dreams, anything is possible and ignore the naysayers along the way! If someone kicks you down – whether they be Herschel Ragbottoms or Under Bed Alligator – dust yourself off and start again. Dreams can come true!

Lastly, I hope folks walk away feeling they’ve seen a completely original show and possess a warm, new found love for rock’n’roll ventriloquism.

Can you talk a little about the creative process with overall including song writing?

My creative process varies. I definitely like to start things completely alone, without any one else’s input or feedback. I work best under a looming deadline (then I have no choice but to create). I generally write down the germ of an idea and attempt to outline it. I then roll ideas around in my head until something pops in my noggin. I always carry a notebook everywhere, in case I think of an idea.

The format of my current show leaves a lot of room for creativity, expansion and experimentation. Because I’m developing the show on a regular basis, I’m pressured every month to come up with new songs and ideas.

Song writing is a blast – and usually occurs in different ways. Sometimes, I’ll be strumming my guitar and something will just pop into my head, outta nowhere and boom! Song. I often think up ideas walking the streets of NYC. I’ll just be walking along and there’s a melody in my head! I leave Joe Vincent a message of the melody, or sing it to him and we build from there. We then pass the song back and forth. Joe is really great at honing my lyrics – he’s a great writer.

What are your future goals with the show?

I want to continually develop the show and challenge myself. I’d love to have a theater run, tour the country (and beyond) and develop a TV show around the idea.

What past projects of yours are you most proud of and why?

Surviving NYC for over 6 years… And a pilot I created with Dig For Fire: Positively 5th Street. [http://www.positively5thstreet.com/]

What do you hope to see in the future from women in comedy?

Women who are true originals, take risks, experiment and break boundaries.

Do you feel a divide between men and women in the comedy world?

In my own experience, I personally have never felt that much of a divide. It probably comes from the fact that deep down I’m a tomboy and I’m comfortable rolling with the boys!

But, I think there is definitely a divide in the traditional comedy world. I do spots on many shows where I’m the only female. I think there will always be a natural divide between men and women no matter what the profession. No one can argue with talent though, whether they are male or female… I urge women to just do their thing, do it strongly and don’t take any bull!

What advice would you impart to ladies just starting out in the comedy world?

Find your voice and get as much stage time as you can. Create a support group of performers you adore to learn and grow with. Take many risks. Experiment. Have a blast! And if it doesn’t go well remember – there’s always the next show. Don’t be afraid to be original and blaze your own path… Lastly, always listen to your inner voice – it always trumps anyone’s advice.

Who are you inspired by in the comedy world and why?

Mainly, I am inspired by the legends: The Marx Brothers, Buster Keaton, Charlie Chaplin, W.C. Fields, Joan Rivers, Bonzo Dog Doo Dah Band, Steve Martin, Gilda Radner, Monty Python, Emo Phillips, Lucille Ball, Neil Hamburger and of course… Shari Lewis.

Locally, I adore folks that combine art forms and aren’t strictly comedy… Such as Adira Amram, Ann Carr, Becky Yamamoto, Blaine Kneece, Brad Steuernagel, Bridgett Everett and Kenny Mellman, Carolyn Castiglia, Chris Rozzi, Dave Hill, Dina Martina, Glennis McMurray, Hannibal Buress, Jessica Delfino, Katina Corrao, Lady Rizo, Livia Scott, Mindy Raf, Molly Pope, Murray Hill, Nick Jones, Reggie Watts and Taylor Mac.

I know I’m forgetting some folks – so if you’re reading this – I adore you too!

I’m inspired by the above because I feel they are really taking risks and have created and continue to create something new!

Who would you like to hear from on the blog next?

Oh my goodness! Joan Rivers!!!

Anything else you’d like to add?

Your blog is a wonderful! Thanks for supporting women in comedy. Please check out The Continuing Story Of Carla Rhodes at Arlene’s Grocery. The next show is Sunday, December 12th at 8pm and monthly thereafter until May 2011! We’re searching for a director too… Knock, knock.  Anyone out there?

Carla & Crew take on Joe's Pub (Photo by Hanna Toresson)

Continue your CARLA obsession and learn more about her show on her personal site.

Then catch THE CONTINUING STORY OF CARLA RHODES at Arlene’s Grocery in NYC on Sunday, December 12th at 8pm.  [Special guest: fellow G.L.O.C. JESSICA DELFINO!]

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About Admin

Founder/Executive Editor at G.L.O.C., co-creator of Dance Dance Party Party, performer, lover, den mother, certain to bust a mean move in your direct vicinity.
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