Do Savannnah

Savannah Comedy Revue offers doubleheader

  • John Rathbone
  • Robert Weems
 

Savannah Comedy Revue offers doubleheader

03 Jul 2017

It takes a good man to admit when he’s wrong.

Comedian John Rathbone, who just celebrated his 36th year in comedy, will be in Savannah on July 8 as the headliner of the Savannah Comedy Revue. Throughout his career, he’s worked with some very famous people.

“I was working with Jerry Seinfeld, who was one of my heroes,” Rathbone says. “He took me out to dinner in Charleston, S.C., where we’d done shows together.

“He told me about an idea he had for a sitcom. He went through the idea and explained it to me.

“I said, ‘It sounds great, but I don’t think it’s going to work,’” Rathbone says. “I ended up being wrong.”

Oops! Although Rathbone might not have offered Seinfeld good career advice, he hasn’t been wrong about his own career, which he says has been very good to him.

“There is so much upside to a job like this,” Rathbone says. “It’s a fun thing to be making people laugh and feel good.

“It’s the kind of job everybody hopes to have,” he says. “And I’ve gotten to see much of the world through comedy. I’ve done a lot of work with cruise lines in the last eight years.”

Comedy helped Rathbone support a family.

“I’ve made a good living,” he says. “I hate to think about money, but all of us have to.

“I put my kids through school and college. Comedy afforded me a nice life.

“I’ve met so many great people all over,” Rathbone says. “I travel to St. Louis or Seattle or Boston and meet great people.”

It all started when Rathbone was in college.

“I was on the speech and debate team in college,” he says. “That led me to public speaking. The only place they really want a 20-year-old public speaker is in a bar doing comedy.”

Comedy turned out to be a good fit.

“I’m a bit of a smart aleck,” he says. “I used to get in plenty of trouble. I would take it out on the teachers.”

Rathbone honed his craft by performing.

“It’s one of those few things that the only place to learn how to do it is by actually doing it,” he says. “You can practice at home, but there’s nothing like getting out and actually doing it.”

While Rathbone loves his job, it’s not all fun and games.

“Being away from my family was a downside,” he says. “My wife is a teacher, so my whole family toured with me in the summer, which was fun.

“You miss a lot of things in any field,” Rathbone says. “The people who hire you want you to work.”

Over the years, Rathbone has had lots of memorable moments.

“Being at Caesar’s Palace opening for Drew Carey was pretty exciting,” he says. “That’s an iconic venue.

“I was a big Donovan fan as a kid and I got to open for him at a concert one time and hang out. I got married at the Atlantis Resort and worked the showroom there for 12 to 15 years.

“Ray Romano stopped by one night, and we got him onstage as quickly as we could,” Rathbone says. “He said, ‘I’m afraid,’ but he went up and the crowd loved him and because of him, they loved me, too. It was definitely a memorable night.”

Rathbone is looking forward to coming back to Savannah.

“I haven’t been to Savannah in over 25 years,” he says. “It seems like it’s been forever. It’s a lovely town.

“I worked on River Street way back when,” Rathbone says. “It was one of my first trips outside my hometown.”

At the upcoming show, Rathbone promises everyone will be having fun — especially himself.

“I tell myself every day, ‘I’m a comedian, I don’t have to have a job,’” he says. “I really love doing what I do.”

Opening for Rathbone will be Robert Weems, a comedian, actor and writer from Atlanta.

On YouTube, Weems creates characters like Rufus T. Jackson. Weems appeared on the NBC sitcom “The Ex List” and is a radio personality on the show “You Missed” on KNSJ.

“I’ve been doing comedy for about eight years,” Weems says. “I’m originally from Atlanta, but moved to California and pursued acting.

“I was always doing sketch comedy and segued into doing stand-up. I did a podcast called ‘Laugh in Your Face Radio,’ and I’ve done comedy for the troops and the Navy.

“I performed all over California,” he says. “I have moved back home to Atlanta and am looking forward to the show next weekend.”

A self-professed “good kid” growing up, Weems got into the arts later in life.

“I wasn’t one of those ones who has been in plays since he was 3,” he says. “I was into more sports and stuff.

“I’ve always had an interest in movies. That kind of spurred me to get more into acting.

“I did some stuff here in independent films before I left, and out in California,” Weems says. “In between the acting jobs, I did comedy.”

Much of Weems’ material comes from life experiences.

“Just observing people, I find funny things that go on, the funny things people do, the funny things they say,” he says. “I’m old school. I’m 45 and grew up in a time where street lights meant something.

“I love to talk about that, definitely about growing up in the South … I’m going to talk about my life, getting older, having kids,” Weems says. “I love talking about how life has changed.”

When someone asks Weems to describe himself, he says he brings old-school Southern flavor to the stage.

“I’m going to talk about church and church people and Bible thumpers who have a verse for something that’s not even part of the conversation,” Weems says.

Several years ago, Weems was in Savannah and is eager to return.

“I like history and I’m a big history buff,” he says. “I am definitely looking forward to coming out and telling Southern jokes in the good old South.”

IF YOU GO

What: Savannah Comedy Revue with John Rathbone and Robert Weems

When: 8 p.m. July 8

Where: Bay Street Theatre, Club One, 1 Jefferson St.

Cost: $10 or $15 VIP

Info: savannahcomedyrevue.com, 314-503-9005

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