posted on Nov, 12 2004 @ 07:43 PM
Rowdy Roddy’s act enters new stage
It was about four years ago when Roderick Toombs, known around the world as a wrestler, actor and bagpiper by the name of Rowdy Roddy Piper, dropped
by Harvey’s Comedy Club.
He was asked to come up on stage and say hello. Piper, there with another wrestler, Bart Sawyer, promptly got up, grabbed a chair and hit Sawyer
over the head with it.
“That’s how wrestlers say hello,” Piper deadpanned.
Piper will be back on stage at Harvey’s tonight and Saturday night, as the main event. The headliner. It’s his standup comedy debut, and
he’ll mostly just be talking about his life.
“I’m not Rowdy Roddy Piper,” he says. “But I’m going to be talking about the guy.”
Piper is 50 now, and he’s calmed down only a little. He considers himself lucky to have survived the high-risk life on the road as a pro
wrestler, where drugs, alcohol and fast times blend with performance-enhancing drugs and painkillers to claim many victims. During the show he plans a
“Seventy guys under the age of 45 have died since 1997,” he says.
Piper is a skilled actor whose greatest movie role, in “They Live” — directed by John Carpenter — has become a cult classic. His 30-plus
years as a wrestler gave him as many hours of TV time as Barbara Walters.
“I’m not nervous about this,” he says. “But I don’t want to bore people, either. This is a Will Rogers kind of thing. I’m not a joke
teller. I’m a storyteller.”
He’ll talk about that first match in Canada when he had some bagpipe players accompany him to the ring and the flustered ring announcer, who knew
only that his name was “Rod,” introduced him as “Roddy the Piper.”
“The ‘the’ got dropped,” he says. “And somewhere along the line, I picked up that ‘Rowdy’ thing.”
And you’ll probably hear about the time they signed him to square off against a wrestling bear.
“It would have been fine except on my way to the ring another wrestler slapped me on the behind with a big handful of honey,” he says.
Piper, wife Kitty and his four children have lived on their mountaintop retreat near Aloha for two decades.
“She’s 4-foot-11 and she’s the only person in the world I’m afraid of,” he says. “She’s been the perfect wife. And she’s from here
and we never wanted to move.
“I think the people around here are comfortable with me. I’ve wrestled in every small town in Oregon. They know me. I think I’m kind of the
Opie (Ron Howard) of wrestling — everyone has watched me grow up over the years.”
Piper plans to take his act to Las Vegas. He’d like to get into television. There is even talk of a TV movie of his life.
“I’ve got to find something to do,” he says. “I’ve got to send the kids to college.”
The shows are at 8 and 10:30 tonight, and 6:30 p.m. and 9 p.m. Saturday. Piper isn’t worried about the comic’s nightmare — hecklers. When
you’re a wrestler and you play the heel as long as he did, you’re immune.
“I don’t even consider it heckling unless they stab me,” he says.