Rondell Sheridan wants to throw a penalty flag on the National Football League for unnecessary roughness
As the star of the new NBC sitcom "Minor Adjustments," Sheridan is running for rating points. Pro football, however, is pushing him to the sidelines.
"Our time slot is not good, 7:30 Sunday night," he said (quickly adding that he's not grousing, just analyzing).
"Last Sunday, we were preempted by football on the East Coast and into the Midwest. It's frustrating because numbers are important. NBC is behind the show, but it's still frustrating." The network has committed to 13 episodes, seven of which have been completed. But until Sheridan--who brings his stand-up act to the Improv in Irvine from Friday through Sunday--can compete on a level playing field, he must deal with a certain level of uncertainty.
"I'd love to know where the show's going to go, because we're going to have this battle with football until January."
In "Minor Adjustments," he plays Ron Aimes, a child psychologist who does well at the office but less than well with his own parenting at home. In real life, the L.A. resident is single and childless.
"Everyone asks about that," he said, chuckling as he would often during the phone interview. "It works out fine. It's a well-written show, and the characters are real, very believable. It's like putting a glove on."
Born and raised on the South Side of Chicago, he got his start in show business as an actor after he studied advertising and marketing at Marquette University in Milwaukee. A life in insurance, he decided, wasn't for him. After graduation, he earned an audition with the acclaimed Circle in the Square ensemble in New York.
After meeting a stand-up comedian at a party, he shifted gears and in 1982 became a facial-contorting teller of universal anecdotes.
He is so busy these days (in addition to shooting the sitcom, he just got back from New York, where he performed at Caroline's and did a spot on Conan O'Brien's show) that he spends nowhere near as much time doing stand-up as he used to (at one point, he was doing 240 shows a year). But he still tries to spend some time on stage and to create new material.
"I don't really have a favorite bit; I just like getting into that groove where you know you have the audience. I look at stand-up as a gunfight. Sooner or later, I'm going to win because I have more bullets than the audience. And they're good bullets."
He said he draws his humor from daily happenstance. Take his observation about farmhouses in the Midwest being miles apart:
"How do you go trick-or-treating? There's some little kid saying, 'Thanks a lot, Mrs. Johnson. Come on, Bobby, maybe we'll make it to the next house by midnight.' "
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* Who: Rondell Sheridan.
* When: Friday at 8:30 and 10:30 p.m., Saturday 8 and 10:30, Sunday at 8.
* Where: The Improv, 4255 Campus Drive, Irvine.
* Whereabouts: Take the San Diego (405) Freeway to the Jamboree Road exit and head south. Turn left onto Campus Drive. The Improv is in the Irvine Marketplace shopping center, across from the UC Irvine campus.
* Wherewithal: $10 to $12.
* Where to call: (714) 854-5455.
* COMEDY LISTINGS, F17