Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Run, Run Rodney

Rodney CarringtonRodney Carrington via

Comedian Rodney Carrington is ending his nine-year relationship with Capitol Records Nashville in an interesting way: with a Christmas album.

Carrington recorded "Make It Christmas" earlier this year in Los Angeles with producer and composer Steve Dorff, who also handled the music for Carrington's sitcom "Rodney," which ran a few years back on ABC. The album is due in August.

But don't expect songs about Santa getting caught in a compromising cuddle with Cupid or Rudolph's nose lighting up a Tulsa tap house. "It ain't got a funny song on it," Carrington told me. "It's a big-band, Frank Sinatra-type Christmas record; something I've always wanted to do." Huh. Who knew?

"Make It Christmas" includes the holiday classics "Mary, Did You Know?," "O Holy Night" and "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas," among others. And while Carrington knows people might be surprised when they hear it, he says he's "never pigeonholed what I've thought about doing. I've just said, 'I'll try that.'"

Still, Carrington admits that a straight singing career isn't in his future. "The Christmas record is as serious as I'm going to get," he told me. "I'm still touring, still telling jokes, still doing my thing."

So why is Carrington, who has sold 2.2 million records and whose "El Nino Loco" is near the top of the Billboard comedy charts, leaving Capitol, his home since 2000? "You're never going to own your own stuff unless you hang on to it," says Carrington, who told me he is appreciative to label president Mike Dungan for letting him finish his obligations with a Christmas record. "I'm going to do a stand-up record again but not until I can own it myself. I own the first record I ever did, and it's very valuable to me."

I like Carrington's philosophy on making a buck. "I have a simple plan," he told me. "I want a million people who really like what I do to give me $10 a year for the rest of their lives. I'm not greedy."

Amen, brother. And Merry Christmas!

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