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Tom Rhodes

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Rhodes, most recently of Mr. Rhodes fame, has guested on The Tonight Show , appeared on various Comedy Central specials and has opened for such big shots as James Brown and Ray Charles.

No wonder he's opened for musicians; Rhodes himself has a long-haired rocker's visage. But the comedian is proud of adding an intellectual touch to his act -- comments about Somalia, Chelsea Clinton and the Vietnam War (the last of which were showcased in his special Viva Vietnam: A White Trash Adventure Tour ) -- are dressed up in his material.

``Jimmy Carter stopped a war in Korea and Haiti and he still didn't get the Nobel Peace Prize,'' went one of his lines. ``He should get a cape. We should shine a big symbol in the sky whenever we need him, like a big peanut or something.''

Rhodes wasn't always a high-falutin' thinker. At age 17 he was performing at The Funny Farm, a club in his native Orlando, though ``I just talked about your basic high school, trying-to-get-girls-type stuff. I think I've come a long way since then,'' he told the Orange County Register last year.

After roaming the Sunshine State, Rhodes moved to New York and then to San Francisco, which a press release said he considers ``the Jerusalem of stand-up comedy,'' the proving grounds of such comedians as Mort Sahl, Lenny Bruce, Dick Gregory and Jonathan Winters.

And, he added in the Register , ``I think American stand-up comedy began in San Francisco with Mark Twain.''

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