A one-time member of the Disney family feels as if that part of his life was like from some other planet eons ago.
Lately Rondell Sheridan has been letting that inner suspense novel of a persona take shape. He's been writing scripts with edgy, crime-drama and suspense themes.
Oh sure, he still gets recognized quite frequently for his years as a regular on Disney's "That's So Raven," "Cory in the House" and appearing on the Nickelodeon series "Cousin Skeeter." Don't let that fool you.
Same when he's on stage as the headliner this week at Harveys' Improv comedy club. The real marrow of the comic is exposed and, well, sometimes it's just best that the kids get to see the reruns at home on TV.
Long before the Disney gig, Rondell spent many years on the road as a hard-working standup, honing his chops and literally getting his act together. When television came a-callin', he was ready. Appearances on "The Tonight Show" (with both Jay Leno and Johnny Carson), "Late Night with Conan O'Brien," and specials on HBO, Showtime and Comedy Central were just a few of the television opportunities that soon appeared on his roster of credits. I might add that when Rondell was approached by Disney, he eventually wound up directing some of the episodes.
Rondell is what you'd call a well-rounded entertainer, incorporating his standup, stage work in theater, television acting and behind-the-scenes production creds to summarize the product that is Rondell. With degrees in interpersonal communications and advertising from Marquette University in Milwaukee, he later attended the prestigious acting school known as Circle in the Square in New York, where he gained a lot of theater experience performing in repertory work, regional theater and off-Broadway productions. Comedy was really just another stage to conquer and seemed like a natural progression.
"I've always gravitated toward storytelling, and with the early inspiration of such comedic storytellers as Richard Pryor, George Carlin and Bill Cosby," he said, "I knew that I had made the right choice and I always wanted an occupation that made sense for me."
Maybe he'll write a scene where Tahoe is the backdrop in one of his scripts? Hmm.
I've always appreciated comics who've done gigs in the United Kingdom.
Oh sure, funny is funny, but compared to the United States, audiences as a whole in England tend to be, shall we say, a little on the reserved side? Getting an audience in England to laugh really loud is like getting an applause break over here.
Todd Sawyer has done remarkably well across the pond, performing in numerous comedy clubs across Britain and has appeared on Paramount Television's "The World Stands Up" (which is aired in Australia and the United Kingdom) and on BBC America. Todd has made multiple appearances on CBS' "Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson."
Sawyer's done pretty good on American soil, having clinched the top spot at the Seattle Stand-up Comedy Competition, which had to be like a homecoming of sorts since starting out in Seattle back in the late '80s.
On the national level, Todd's been on National Lampoon's "Funny Money," CMT's "Country Music's 20 Sexiest Women" and toured not too long ago with one of the Blue Collar comedians, Ron White, on his "Moral Compass" tour, which lasted, I believe, almost three years. That had to be one helluva fun time. White liked him so much that he wrote for CMT's "Ron White's 2011 Comedy Salute to the Troops." Sawyer also has entertained the troops.
Sawyer may have performed in all 50 states (and almost a dozen countries), but until he's completed his week here in Tahoe he'll still feel like something was eluding him.
It may have taken a while for Todd to accomplish this but come Sunday night he'll truly feel that it was well worth it.