With nearly six years under her belt as a player in the comedy game, Erica Rhodes is still considered a rising stand-up comedian. But by no means is she a stranger to the performing arts.
The Newton native, who brings her personal and often self-deprecating brand of humor to Laugh Boston on Wednesday night (May 9) for her first headlining show at the Seaport venue, has lived a significant portion of her life performing, ranging from ballet to playing the Cello, before beginning an acting career that includes credits across various networks including Comedy Central, Hulu, and the now-defunct online streaming service Seeso.
Starting her career in “the biz” at the age of 10 with what would go on to become a regular gig on NPR’s A Prairie Home Companion, Rhodes would later move to Los Angeles, where she would be cast in a number of different projects that garnered significant viewership, but failed to gain her much exposure (for example, she was cast in a web-series, titled Upstairs Girl that garnered over a million views, but was credited as “Sandy”, her character’s name, as opposed to “Erica Rhodes”). So it was essentially out of necessity that she turned to stand-up comedy to remedy what she considers “pretty much failing at acting” while living in LA.
“Since I grew up performing, I came to a point where I didn’t know what to do if I wasn’t performing,” Rhodes tells Vanyaland. “So, I met with my manager, and I told him my dream was to be on Saturday Night Live, and what he told me was to get to get another dream. He felt SNL wasn’t a good fit for me, because I didn’t do characters or impressions, so he encouraged me to do stand-up, and while it took me a year or so after that to get the courage to get back on stage and do it, as soon as I started doing it, I was hooked.”
While her dream of acting on SNL every weekend has slowly morphed into a desire to host the show, Rhodes is looking to cross a few things off of her stand-up bucket list this year, like getting a late night spot, releasing a full special or album, and embarking on a larger scale tour, in addition to her scriptwriting and attempt to sell a show that she has in the works.
Even with all those irons in the fire, Rhodes is focused mainly on polishing her stand-up act, in order to get it to a place where she is more excited about it and confident with it. And if Rhodes’ mother, who is a violinist with the Boston Pops, has anything to say about it, Rhodes won’t be short any encouragement when she makes her way back home this week.
“It’s really exciting for me to come back to home do this show as a headlining gig, so I told my mom that she could finally invite all of her friends,” she says. “I’m expecting the crowd to be made up mostly of my mom and a whole lot of classical musicians.”