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Tom Rhodes Smart Camp

Tom Rhodes

Tom Rhodes Smart Camp is a festival of ideas, knowledge, stories, books & adventures. I have been a comedian for more than 30 years. I travel the world doing comedy. I almost drowned in Thailand, got maced in Paris and had my own Late Night Talkshow in the Netherlands. Whenever I can I will share my adventures with you on this Tom Rhodes Smart Camp podcast.

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Bill Burr

Tom Rhodes Smart Camp


11/06/13 • 84 min

Sometimes with my podcast I like to imagine it as if I were teaching a university course on stand up comedy. That is why it was an absolute joy for me to sit down with Bill Burr and pick his brain about comedy and his thoughts on the importance of turning over a new hour show every year or two.

Personally, for me Bill is one of the most exciting comedians working today. Onstage he is a tempest. He is like watching a major storm develop and then crash down with a fury each new idea he presents. Presently, he is one of the hottest comedians in the world. Touring theaters, giving birth to new hour specials, he even had a recurring role on the critically acclaimed series 'Breaking Bad'. He is a true comedy bad ass.

His 'Monday morning podcast' is one of the most downloaded podcasts in the world right now and I'm very proud that my podcast is a part of the All Things Comedy network that Bill started with Al Madrigal. It is my pleasure to present to you now, the rock solid thrower of comedy thunderbolts that is Bill Burr.

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330 Pampered Suffering

Tom Rhodes Smart Camp


06/13/20 • 102 min

During the rut the males exhibit tough guy behavior in order to attract a mate, me myself I always preferred dancing.

In these frightening uncertain times it is always good to be reminded of the good that humans have done while working together. That is why my mom and I have been watching the PBS docu series 'Great Museums of America'. In this episode we talk about and celebrate the best stories and information we learned from: The Metropolitan Museum of Art The Colorado History Museum The California Surf Museum The Molly Brown House The Gene Autry Museum of Western Heritage The Museum of Modern Art The George Eastman House The Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum The Smithsonian Institute The Morris Museum of Art The National Zoo The Franklin Institute The Whale Museum The New York City Fire Department Museum The Henry Ford Museum "Everything is soon to be history, therefore everything is collectable." Strive to be a better human in all that you do. Shalom Amigos y amigas!
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325 Corona University

Tom Rhodes Smart Camp


05/07/20 • 112 min

The thing I love most about England is that they still put ugly people on television. It has been a great week to learn some shit and my mother and I stuffed our heads with beautiful art knowledge and thanks to the BBC, we took a quest around the world for humankind's greatest achievements. First we talk about this past week in captivity as I undertook the task of sorting out and categorizing my boxes full of old paper photographs. For the longest time I had wanted to categorize my photos separately in travel, comedy and family sections. Along with this labor came the joy of bagging up ex girlfriends and put them in a box and stuff that box in the deepest corner of my darkest closet. My mom said "Its like cleaning out the cobwebs from the corners of your life." I want to be clear that this doesn't include Ashna, because our whole history in photos is all digital, because she was my wife and because her and I are still friends. Also, Ashna still edits and produces this podcast and there were no dark corners in our relationship, it was most always bright sunshine. The one thing that this Corona virus Covid 19 lockdown has taught me is that I'm going to make someone a really good wife one day. I've been cooking all of our meals and washing the clothes and the dishes. My mom has the bathroom and the floors. Aside from keeping our one bedroom pirate ship clean we have been feeding our brains with the choicest slices of knowledge. In the episode we talk about the last two books my mom read here in the Rhodes library: The Fatal Shore by Robert Hughes Goya, A Life by Evan S. Connell After this we talk about the last episodes we watched of The Great Artists by Tim Marlow which cover the artistic lives of Bruegel, Caravaggio, Rembrandt, Goya, David, Turner, Vermeer, Stubbs, Constable, Delacroix, Whistler, Van Gogh, Schiele. From there our learning documentary trail led us to the BBC's 'Around The World In 80 Treasures With Dan Cruikshank' which is a quest around the world for humankind's greatest achievements. Considering that the human race is now currently down on its knees it is a good time to be reminded of some of our greatest achievements and some of the fun and beauty we created back in the good old days when we were allowed to spend time together. The thing that I love most about England is that they still put ugly people on television. I told my mother that there isn't a single person in the world I would rather be spending this lockdown with other than her and that is because we both talk the easiest with each other and because we are both interested in the same things. After 40 treasures faulty Dvds didn't allow us to see the last 40 that Dan Cruikshank wanted us to see so we took a trip with National Geographic on a show called 'Time Scanners' where the scan with a mobile laser scanner Petra, St. Paul's Cathedral, The Pyramids, The Coliseum, Ancient Jerusalem and Machu Pichu. This brought our conversation to Peru and the train journey I took once there going from Cusco bound for Puno. This episode ends at Machu Pichu as it should being that this concludes our week of learning here at Corona University. I hope you enjoy listening to this conversation with my mom as much as I enjoyed doing it. I hope this serves up as a good reminder for you to do something nice for your mother this coming Sunday May 10 because it is Mother's Day. Hooray for humanity and hooray for moms!

Why wait until Mother's Day to spoil your mother

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328 Yodeling For Great Museums

Tom Rhodes Smart Camp


05/29/20 • 112 min

When was the last time you let out a good yodel?

You can yodel as my mom and I take you on an audio tour of the best museums in America... while wearing face masks of course.

Join me now for a few happy yodels and a celebration of knowledge as my mother and I take you on a tour of the best museums in America according to PBS.

First you will learn how yodeling became a part of country music and how I got my oldest most authentic country music albums from a deceased black woman from Jamaica.

My mother and I have been walking up and down each neighborhood street in my area and we got to experience for the first time being in a bank with everyone in the bank wearing face masks. My mom loves the stencil sidewalk graffiti all over Los Angeles, especially the updated Covid 19 graffiti on Melrose ave. I greatly appreciate the joy of getting a package and today I got a massive box from my friend Jasper in Delft, The Netherlands. Holland lives in my heart forever and my friend Jasper sent me a big box full of love that I share with you as well as honoring the HEMA highlighter pens for the copious amounts of joy they have given to me. We have gotten our news from the Grove shopping plaza because that is the main town square of the area I live in. A CBS Evening News woman who was filming there told us the stores have been given permission to open but the employees are reluctant to return. We rightly praise Rob Reiner's movie 'Flipped' for being the masterpiece that it is. Then for the past week my mother and I have been watching the PBS documentary series "Great Museums' about the best museums in America. Here for you now my mother and I share with you the best bits of knowledge from the following museums:

The Living Museum of Music that is the city of New Orleans

The Institute of Texan Cultures in San Antonio, Texas

The Charleston museum in Charleston, South Carolina

The Delta Blues Museum in Clarksdale, Mississippi

The National Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, New York

Ellis Island Immigration Museum

Smithsonian National Museum of the American Indian

National D-Day Museum in New Orleans, Louisiana

The Library of Congress in Washington D.C.

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327 The Mommy & Tommy Arts Hour

Tom Rhodes Smart Camp


05/22/20 • 87 min

"There is nobody I'd rather have with me in a beer hall brawl than my mother standing beside me with a broken beer bottle in her hand."

On our daily walks around my neighborhood my mother and I have been amazed by the exotic plant life and my mom wondered how it was possible that desert plants can survive and thrive next to plants that are predominantly in the North East of the United States. We stopped into the plant store on Beverly Blvd. to ask and the man who worked there said, "Plants here don't follow plant rules." I thought that was a funny image of our biker gang exotic flowers not following the rules of others.

In this episode my mom and I talk about the good things we have been putting into our brains in the form of the documentaries we have been watching and the books that we have read. We talk about the BBC's 'The Adventure Of English', all about the history of the English language and we learn the mind blowing story of Squanto, the Native American who spoke English and kept the Mayflower pilgrims from perishing during the first winter they spent in this new land. We talk about PBS Ken Burns' Mark Twain documentary and the book 'The Bohemians' by Ben Tarnoff, about Mark Twain's time in San Francisco and we learn that Artemus Ward was the first stand up comedian in America before Mark Twain. Then we talk about the PBS Ken Burns documentary 'Country Music.' From this we talk about how Bonnie and Clyde had to have the latest Jimmie Rodgers records, the powerful story of when Sarah Carter dedicated 'I'm Thinking Tonight of My Blues' on national radio to the man she loved and upon hearing it drove to Mexico to find her. We talk about Hank Williams and how his mother went with him to his rough early gigs and would fight beside him whenever bar room brawls broke out. "There is nobody I'd rather have with me in a beer hall brawl than my mother standing beside me with a broken beer bottle in her hand." We tell the best stories we just learned about Johnny Cash, Elvis Presley, Willie Nelson, Loretta Lynn, Charlie Pride, Roger Miller and Dolly Parton.

Then we talk about the two books my mom read this past week, 'My Israel Trail' by Aryeh Green and 'When I Am An Old Woman I Shall Wear Purple.' During this global pandemic lock down my mother has often said: "Sometimes you've got to call people and cheer them up."

I'm honored and privileged to have all of this uninterrupted time with my mom and this episode is a happy stroll through the best stories we learned this week delivered with love just for you. Joy be upon you!

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326 Mommy Movie talk

Tom Rhodes Smart Camp


05/15/20 • 93 min

If my mom ran Hollywood every movie would end with the family all going to church more often.

The great virus lockdown film festival continues!

In this batch of films that my mother and I have watched we discovered that we both love any movie with Jeff Bridges or Clint Eastwood in it. We also discover that my mom won't stomach certain things and is not afraid to ask me to stop a film if she really doesn't like it. You can say what you want about Woody Allen but in not one of his films does anyone ever take a shit in the middle of the road in a wedding dress like happens in the Judd Appatow film. This week for us has seen us loosen our restrictions and start taking walks through my neighborhood every day. It is good for our souls to feel the sunshine on our face, cool breezes on our hair and to see how many extraordinary fig trees are living in my neighborhood. Each night we watch a film and in this conversation today we talk about the 25 films we have watched in the last 25 nights.

It is a hardy feast of movies and I hope you enjoy my mother and I's thoughts and feelings about the these celluloid stories.

Here is the list of the movies we have just watched:

Space Jam

Crazy Heart

True Grit

Butch Cassidy & The Sundance Kid

For A Few Dollars More

The Good, The Bad & The Ugly

The Legend Of 1900

The Revenant



Midnight In Paris

The Only Living Boy In New York

Talladega Nights

Sleepless In Seattle

You've Got Mail

St. Vincent

La Grande Belleza

I Saw The Light

Fantastic Mr. Fox

Crossing Delancey

A Walk In The Clouds

My Fair Lady

Hang 'Em High

Gran Torino


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06/05/20 • 51 min

In times of tragedy is when human beings show their best sides and their most compassionate sides. Now is the time to speak out and demand that everyone shows a better side of themselves.

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324 Mom of Arc!

Tom Rhodes Smart Camp


04/29/20 • 77 min

When I was a kid my mom would ask "Are you ready for the best feeling in the world?" Right before dumping a warm basket of clothes over my head fresh out of the dryer.

"No one volunteers to fight in a war who is happy at home."

It is from my mom that I get my love of books and since she arrived here on March 9th she has crushed five books here at the Rhodes library:

Joan of Arc by Mark Twain

Go Tell It On The Mountain by James Baldwin

Picasso by Gertrude Stein

The Success And Failure Of Picasso by John Berger

Paris At The End Of The World by John Baxter

In this episode my mom and I talk about the books she just read and the one she just started, Fatal Shore by Robert Hughes. We also talk about our time together in this global lockdown and relive happy memories like when I was a kid my mom would ask "Are you ready for the best feeling in the world?" Right before dumping a warm basket of clothes over my head fresh out of the dryer. We also talk about the art documentaries we have watched so far in our pandemic university courses. The documentaries that we have watched so far are:

BBC 1969 Civilisation

BBC Modern Masters (Matisse,Picasso, Dali, Andy Warhol).

BBC The Private Life Of A Masterpiece

BBC The High Art Of The Low Countries

New York & Paris Abbott & Atget (Photography)

Finding Vivian Maier (Photography)

PBS The Life & Times Of Frida Kahlo

Biography: Vincent Van Gogh - A Stroke Of Genius

The Hermitage Museum Of St. Petersburg

The Great Artists with Tim Marlow

The best way to relieve your mind from stress is to focus on art, beauty, books, cinema, comedy, music, appreciating the people who mean the most to you in life. We who are coronavirus free have a lot to be grateful for. After we recorded this my mom felt a little bad that she said at the end that: "we were rich" without clarifying that she didn't mean money in the bank rich but heart, mind and soul rich. So just to clarify for my mom before this goes public that when my mom says that her and I are rich she meant because of the people in our life and the love in our hearts. I hope your mom makes you feel as rich as mine does for me. Every day we still go out and watch the sunset and appreciate the moment. Spending time with the people you love is the key to happiness now and always. Please enjoy the knowledge that my mom lays out for you in this episode on art, life and books.

Hooray for humanity!

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323 Bunker Birthday Party

Tom Rhodes Smart Camp


04/21/20 • 84 min

Hooray for moms!

What good is money if you can't spend it on your mom? On April 15, 2020 my mother turned 81 years old and we recorded this conversation together under virus quarantine lockdown. My mother and I have had a beautiful relationship through the years and she has shared all of my triumphs and sorrows as I have shared hers. I love taking trips with her and we have been fortunate to experience together, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Amsterdam, Rome, Zurich, Buenos Aires and Jerusalem but the unexpected joy of having her with me here in Los Angeles as my bunker partner for great virus lock down of 2020 is the most serendipitous event of my lifetime. From my mother I get my thoughtfulness and she is my hero not only because she has survived so much to make it to where she is today, but because she taught me how to love, and to love fully. Since the stay at home orders went down my mom and I have a very nicely structured day. In the morning we talk and read our books over coffee and then after breakfast I work (Edit notes on my next album 'The Honky Motherland'). Then after lunch we watch BBC art documentaries and or play Scrabble. After dinner every night we watch a movie from my vast collection of DVDs. In this episode my mother and I talk about and review every movie we have watched so far for the Tom & Sara 2020 Quarantine Film Festival. This is my mother's first ever podcast appearance and it was recorded on her birthday, a day that is always a day I love to celebrate the magnificent human that is my mother. The movies we talk about and the ones that we have seen so far are: Treasure Of Sierra Madre Asphalt Jungle The Killing What About Bob? Tropic Thunder The Outlaw Josey Wales Sexy Beast History Of The World Part 1 A Pigeon Sat On A Branch Reflecting on Existence Lion King Finding Vivian Maier Only Angels Have Wings Fist Full Of Dollars Ask The Dust The Mission True Romance Willie Wonka & The Chocolate Factory Seeking A Friend For The End Of The World The Way Mr. Turner 1900 The Agony & The Ecstasy Nebraska The Messenger - Joan Of Arc Lawrence Of Arabia Paris, I Love You Glen Gary Glen Ross Caravaggio Time Bandits Legends Of The Fall
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331 Champion Mom

Tom Rhodes Smart Camp


06/19/20 • 82 min

With helicopters circling overhead, I wish you a happy end of slavery day! My mom is a true champion and the current reigning champion of our Scrabble competition. Mother and child is one of the eternal themes of art and that is the theme of my podcast right now as my mother and I search the history of world art to bring you the happiest and most interesting stories we could find for you this week. In this episode we talk about how art made the world, Stonehenge, Persepolis, Alexander the Great, Roman Emperor Augustus and Gilgamesh. We then take you on a tour of Vatican City and The Louvre before ending with a celebration of the life of Georgia O'Keefe and her scandals that rocked the art world when she was a young artist and another when she was a mature artist. In my never ending search for heroes I'm happy to present you with these words: "A hero can not define himself a hero. A hero is defined by the actions they undergo. A hero is defined by the events that happen to them. The spiritual and moral response is what makes a hero."
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