Get the Wood out

Roy Wood Jr. has too much on his plate, but would probably go back for seconds.

Spencer Doar

Who: Roy Wood Jr.

When: Thursday, 8 p.m.; Friday and Saturday, 8 p.m. and 10:30 p.m.;

Where: ACME Comedy Company, 708 N. First St., Minneapolis

Cost: $15-30

 

Hailing from Birmingham, Ala., stand-up Roy Wood Jr. owes a lot to his alma mater, Florida A&M University.

“When you go to school out-of-state, you can get a whole new identity,” Wood Jr. said. “It’s like witness protection.”

Wood Jr. was trying to shed his shy kid persona, whose sense of humor only emerged while playing sports.

“That’s when I knew I had a smidgeon of a sense of humor, riding the bench a lot,” Wood Jr. said.

Now Wood Jr. is far from a benchwarmer. In fact, he’s trying to pare down the amount of action that he sees.

Besides touring the country doing stand-up, Wood Jr. has a recurring role on TBS’ “Sullivan and Son” as a bar regular. He hosted his own radio morning show and is widely recognized for his prank calls. The calls started as simply a means to get his foot in the door on a different radio show and have since morphed into three albums.

“My biggest transition has been acting — I’m learning via osmosis,” Wood Jr. said. “As a comedian, you are used to the laughs coming from you. Now I pass the ball to make everyone else better.”

While his initial instinct on the sitcom was to embody all the humor, growing up was a different story.

“Once I was accepted [in school] I wasn’t about to ruin that by trying to be funny,” Wood Jr. said.

That all changed when he went to Florida. Not only did he have the shelter of a different state, he also had the nearby Florida State campus to exploit. Wood Jr. took advantage of lax enforcement of “student-only” policies and would perform at talent shows and open-mics.

“I’d come in a Florida State shirt, do the tomahawk chop, and they’d never ID me,” Wood Jr. said.

All of his self-reflection as a child now had a means through which to escape.

“I was forced into my own head,” Wood Jr. said. “Some people feel the need to talk through silence, they can’t go to the movies alone, they always have to have a friend around. I embrace it.”

Combine his penchant for introspection with his major in broadcast journalism, and Wood Jr. was prepared for a life in comedy. By keeping abreast of current events and learning academically how to tell a story, Wood Jr. was developing all the tools he’d need to see him through to this point in his career.

He’s ready to wax about anything.

“Like now, I don’t like this anti-Lance Armstrong sentiment,” Wood Jr. said. “We need to quit acting like steroids are bad — steroids are the best thing to happen to sports since ESPN. We need a Tour de Steroids.”