Erica Rhodes: On Lost Socks and Finding Authenticity

June 19, 2022

Photo Credit

Ryan West


Valerie Lopez


Sara Cline

2022 Moontower Just For Laughs Comedy Festival Series

The Moontower Comedy Festival has returned in 2022 under the umbrella of Just For Laughs and blessed us with 10 days of comedy, film, live podcast, and afterparties. Comedy Wham is featuring our favorite conversations from this year's festival. Enjoy!

An unex­pect­ed perk that has cropped up out of Valerie’s many Moon­tow­er Com­e­dy Fes­ti­val inter­views is the spe­cial way we have got­ten to chron­i­cle so many come­di­ans’ evo­lu­tions over time. Such is the case with come­di­enne Eri­ca Rhodes — whom Valerie last sat down with five years ago at Moon­tow­er 2017. Since then, Rhodes was hon­ored as a Just for Laughs New Face in 2018, released her debut album Sad Lemon in 2019, com­pet­ed in the tele­vised com­pe­ti­tion Bring the Fun­ny, and released her spe­cial La Vie en Rhodes in 2021. And that’s just the very abbre­vi­at­ed high­light reel of all her impres­sive hus­tle and bus­tle in these past few years.

One way that Rhodes was able to rack up so many accom­plish­ments was her com­mit­ment to work­ing even as the world shut down. Need­ing to pre­pare for her upcom­ing spe­cial, Rhodes took on the daunt­ing task of tour­ing at the peak of the virus — per­form­ing for minis­cule, masked crowds and learn­ing to adjust to their new­found somber­ness and their frus­trat­ing­ly invis­i­ble mouths. Of course, Rhodes rec­og­nized the con­tro­ver­sy of this deci­sion to tour, but it was a choice she felt con­fi­dent enough in mak­ing, tak­ing as many pre­cau­tions as she could and know­ing that she lived alone, so there wouldn’t be col­lat­er­al dam­age to any room­mates or family.

More than that, the pan­dem­ic was a time of dis­cov­ery for Rhodes, as she wad­ed her way into the world of cre­ative writ­ing — begin­ning by blog­ging on Medi­um, where she wrote hon­est, per­son­al sto­ries. These blogs then facil­i­tat­ed her for­ay into more fic­tion­al­ized pieces — begin­ning with a sto­ry born out of a vis­it to her mom’s place after her father had passed away. What start­ed as pos­si­bly a fledg­ling book idea then was whit­tled down into a poignant, med­i­ta­tive short sto­ry on loss, heav­i­ly based in Rhodes’ own expe­ri­ences of grief: Lost Socks and Oth­er Lost Things.”

What I'm learning is that when I'm writing, I feel the most at peace.
Erica Rhodes

In a way, Rhodes has the quar­an­tine to thank for her new­found pas­sion for writ­ing — an out­let that she espe­cial­ly appre­ci­ates for its abil­i­ty to bear (and bare) her authen­tic­i­ty, per­haps even more than com­e­dy. What I’m learn­ing is that when I’m writ­ing, I feel the most at peace,” Rhodes states. “… I don’t feel that I’m try­ing to write for some­body. And I’m not try­ing to write with a result in mind.” It’s exact­ly that hon­esty that Rhodes is try­ing to bring more and more into her com­e­dy. I’m try­ing to be more real up there, you know, and kind of stum­ble — I like to stum­ble into laughs, you know, instead of, like, writ­ing for a laugh, or going for a laugh, or expect­ing a laugh,” Rhodes mus­es. I want to get more to a truth­ful place.”

As time has gone on, Rhodes has felt more com­pelled to write onstage” by being and feel­ing in the moment, rather than think­ing her way into jokes. In sim­i­lar fash­ion, the jokes that Rhodes feels most con­nect­ed to now are her most vul­ner­a­ble ones — like the jokes that arose out of the loss of her dad. You can see how stand-up is painful for me,” Rhodes laughs. I love it. I love it in like a masochis­tic way, but it is; the process is painful, because you want to get to this real place,” she explains.

I love it [stand-up]. I love it in like a masochistic way, but it is; the process is painful, because you want to get to this real place.
Erica Rhodes

If any­thing, this inter­view with Rhodes is a tes­ta­ment to her tenac­i­ty — from hit­ting the road dur­ing the pan­dem­ic to the crazy feat that was her spe­cial, La Vie en Rhodes. Did I men­tion that her spe­cial was per­formed in front of cars? At a dri­ve-in show in the park­ing lot of the Rose Bowl? The mak­ing of such a spe­cial was, as one might expect, a tall and stress­ful order, but Rhodes rose to the occa­sion all the same.

In line with the Edith Piaf song ref­er­enced in her special’s title, Rhodes is absolute­ly ded­i­cat­ed to that rosy view of see­ing (and active­ly mak­ing) the best in even the tough­est sit­u­a­tions. So, we’re cer­tain that Eri­ca Rhodes will only con­tin­ue to rise to what­ev­er occa­sions are thrown her way, and we can’t wait to see how she con­tin­ues to evolve to be even more authen­ti­cal­ly Eri­ca — from the pen to the stage and every­where in between.

Fol­low Erica

Eri­ca can be seen, heard, and read:

  • On tour (check web­site for dates)
  • Short Sto­ry — Lost Socks and Oth­er Lost Things
  • Album — Sad Lemon (2019)
    • Stay tuned for her new album being record­ed this June
  • Spe­cial — La Vie en Rhodes (2021)
  • TV Appear­ances
    • Bring the Funny
    • Veep
    • Mod­ern Family
    • Com­e­dy Bang Bang
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Erica Rhodes