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Carrot Juice 

The AT&T icon flexes his prop comedy show.

The frenetic prop comedy that gained him fame on the college circuit and "The Tonight Show" has almost become an afterthought. But he's appearing at Richmond's Carpenter Center Tuesday, Oct. 26, with his most grandiose stage show in tow.

You may think you know his routine and have seen enough of his admittedly dreadful collect-call commercials. But did you know he's monster muscles now? Carrot Top is huge!



Style: My friend saw you recently in Vegas, walking through a casino. He didn't recognize you at first because you were so buff. Have you been working out a lot? How come?

Carrot Top: I think I've always been athletic. Maybe I've put on a little more muscle in the past year. The new Carrot Top? No. I was always an athlete. In high school I wrestled and swam and so forth. And my show is very physical. It helps to stay in shape.



You've said when you were younger you were the class clown, but not a troublemaker. Does that attitude carry over into your comedy?

I think I just always tried to be funny, but never doing anything to go to the principal's office or anything. I was always very observant. I still observe life and try to make fun of pop culture and the things everyone sees and does.



You have a very recognizable image, an iconic name and look. Has that been in any way a goal, to make yourself a cultural reference point?

I think anyone who sets out into show business asks, "How do I make an impact?" I think it is important. For me it's a blessing and a curse to look like I do. The look has helped me, of course, be what you said, a recognizable icon. The curse is — look at me. I look like Carrot Top. But no, I didn't grow my hair out or do anything else to look this way. This is just the way I look.



What about the backlash, the parodies and the late-night talk-show jokes? What's your reaction?

That comes with it. A friend said to me, "You're one of the most made-fun-of comedians." It can be kind of fun and good. When they stop talking about you, that's when you start worrying. And it's what I do, so it's kind of like payback. People say, "Your commercials are annoying and suck!" Well of course they are. They're for kids. But at least there is a variety of ones you can hate — 50 instead of just one over and over again.



Why did AT&T want you for its campaign?

I think it goes back to what you said about having a recognizable image. They looked at me and said here is a guy with an audience and a recognizable look, and they trademarked it with their service. I think it worked.



Your commentary on "The Rules of Attraction" DVD has been called a must-hear. How did you get involved with it?

It came out of left field. I was doing a show in Vegas, and the director came up to me and said he wanted me to give some commentary for a movie of his. I said sure, give me the movie, and I'll watch it and give you my review. And he said no, I want you to watch it and comment as you watch it for the first time. So he put me in a room with the movie and microphone, and it worked. It was really fun.



You've expanded your stage show over the years. Is there anything you're particularly proud of that people should look for during this tour?

I'm just really proud about how it's evolved. It just kept getting bigger and bigger and more layered. Now I have a huge screen, and I do jokes over what you are seeing on the screen behind me [he describes a bit about The Weather Channel, and when he comes to Florida, the screen lights up with demonic music in the background, welcoming people to the hurricane state]. That's something I don't think I get enough credit for, reinventing the comedian from stand-up to what I do. I'm the first comedian to use pyro. It's an uphill battle to be different. S



Tickets to Carrot Top's show at the Carpenter Center Oct. 26 at 8 p.m. are $24.50-$32 and are available at www.carpenter center.org.

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