From a ‘town with one light’ to Hollywood
Pinconning native Rob Little making it big
ARENAC COUNTY — Even though comedian Rob Little lives in North Hollywood, Calif., he said that Pinconning is still his home.
While visiting his family for the Easter holiday, Little stopped by locations in northern Bay and Arenac counties, doing stand up shows and speaking with youth from Arenac Eastern and AuGres-Sims schools.
Little said that his mother still lives in Pinconning, and he comes to visit as much as he can. He added that he performs shows in the area so family and friends can watch him perform.
“I come back a bunch,” he said. “It’s cool to say (I live in North Hollywood). Out there no one cares. I come back here and everyone is like, ‘Wow.’”
Little said coming from a small town means that everyone in the community has his back.
“I love this area,” he said. “It’s fun to come home and see everybody. No matter what I do, people are there for me.”
But coming home has some disadvantages for Little. He said that performing in front of his family and friends can be difficult.
“It’s actually harder with my friends around,” he said. “One time I did a joke and a lady who used to baby-sit me stood up and yelled, ‘That’s not true.’ I said, ‘Of course it’s not true; they are jokes.’”
Each trip home feels like a homecoming, Little said.
“A lot of my friends don’t even hang out with each other anymore because they have gotten busy with their lives,” he said. “I come to town and everyone comes back. It’s exciting.”
Little, who turned 38 in December, said that when he speaks at schools or colleges he feels “like the old guy.”
“I have to find a way to make (my material) relatable to them,” he said. “That can be a struggle sometimes.”
When Little makes an appearance at a school, he said he sometimes makes jokes that many young people don’t understand.
“I (spoke) at Pinconning and I said, ‘I have a great outlook on life; even my blood type is A-positive,’” he said with a laugh. “No one got it. It does not get much simpler than that.”
Little said he first started speaking to students at Pinconning during a career day event.
“When I went in, it was so fun. I thought I should do more of these,” he said.
When Arenac County Drug and Alcohol Containment Taskforce coordinator Lori Jacques asked him to speak at the 2011 Teen Summit at Arenac Eastern, Little said he jumped at the opportunity.
“I was just excited that she even asked me,” he said. “I told her that I’d love to.”
Little said his message to the students of Arenac Eastern and AuGres-Sims was to follow their dreams.
“I talked about following my dream,” he said. “I was in a town where, basically, there was no options of following my dream, and I had to take a different path to get to that point.”
After being influenced by a computer teacher in his youth, Little said he worked with computers after graduating from Central Michigan University in 1996.
Little said he moved to Detroit, where he lived next door to one of the biggest comedy clubs in Michigan.
“I used to hang out there and I met a guy, took a class and started doing stand up,” he said.
Being a stand up comedian has taken Little to places he said he never imagined he would see. He added performing in front of troops and huge audiences is still a “high.”
“A lot of people say, ‘How do you do that?’ I say, ‘What do you mean?’ I love it up there,” he said. “I have performed at crazy (places) people would never imagine.”
“I have been to almost every state,” he said. “Growing up in a town with one light, I would have never imagined doing that.”
Little said that his journey has been worth any difficult moments he has come across.
“I still feel like one of these kids sitting here,” he said while pointing at a bench inside the empty Arenac Eastern gym. “Getting to hear that I have done this, really, I got to do that?”
As Little continues his journey, he said that he always will remember the day he started working as a comedian, March 8, 1998.
“I celebrate that day more than I do my own birthday,” he said.