A Comic’s Genius
Heading out the door? Read this article on the new Outside+ app available now on iOS devices for members! Download the app.
Name: Paul “P-Rod” Rodriguez Jr.
Home: Chatsworth, CA
Paul Rodriguez Jr. is the first skateboarder to join sporting icons like Michael Jordan and Lance Armstrong with a signature Nike shoe. The 2002 Transworld Skateboarding rookie of the year and two-time defending X Games champion also has a television pilot in the works with his father, Mexican-American comedian Paul Rodriguez. Nike deals, sitcoms, and a famous dad would seem to pose a threat to the all-important street cred of a pro skateboarder. But P-Rod, as he is known professionally, says the proof is in the skating.
SEEN NEXT: August 3 6 at the X Games in Los Angeles, where he’ll try to make it a gold-medal hat trick.
BOARDING SCHOOL: P-Rod started competing at age 13 and dropped out of high school in 2000 to pursue skateboarding full-time. By 2004, he was earning a six-figure income from prize money and endorsements. His Nike deal is worth an estimated $2 million.
SOLID TO THE CORE: P-Rod made his name as a quintessential skateboarding scofflaw, dodging the authorities to skate off-limits structures and business parks in the L.A. area. “Hopping fences, skating in places I shouldn’t be, and running away from the cops when I have to is what makes me the skateboarder I am,” he says. “I won’t stray away from that.” His fans seem to approve: P-Rod’s shoe sold out in just two weeks when it hit shelves in March 2005 and continues to be a top seller for the Swoosh.
ALL IN THE FAMILY: The sitcom, in preproduction and being shopped around to several networks for a tentative fall debut, won’t be much of a stretch for father and son. “It’s based on our life together,” says P-Rod. “I play a skateboarder, and he’s a comedian.” Regardless of the show’s success, P-Rod sees acting as a side gig. But his father hopes the show will spark a career change. “I want to be a grandfather,” says Paul Sr., “and all it takes is one small slip while he’s sliding down one of those rails that’s it, no more testicles!”
SECOND OPINION: “I have no idea why he’s been so successful,” says the elder Rodriguez. “I was a pretty decent athlete, but nothing like that. I’m not ready to take a DNA test at this point, but I look at him and I have my doubts. I’m going to have to go talk to his mom.”