Larry the Cable Guy brings quick humor to Fox

By Rodney Ho - The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

A show starring Larry the Cable Guy would seem a natural to land on Comedy Central or Spike.

But the plaid-clad, sleeveless stand-up comic is the star of a hit show on the History Channel called “Only in America With Larry the Cable Guy.” In it, the wisecracking Nebraska native travels the country examining quirky aspects of American culture.

For the second season, which begins May 8, he’ll learn moose mating calls in Alaska, shoot targets in Army sniper school and hunt for Bigfoot.

“I truly love history,” he said in advance of two comedy shows with Bill Engvall at the Fox Theatre May 4. “All my wife and I watch is the History Channel.”

Larry, as we’ll call him since fans don’t typically know him by his real name, Daniel Whitney, said he tried to balance goofing around with dispensing information. “They really want it to be funny,” he said. “I’m the one who often tries to keep the history in the thing. Sure, you may learn facts that aren’t all that important. But they’re still facts!”

Over 34 episodes, his favorite experiences so far include flying off the Navy carrier USS Nimitz, visiting Amish country and living like a Civil War re-enactor. “I got to dress up as a Confederate soldier and participate in battle and charges,” he said. “I always wanted to do that!”

Larry said taping the show ate up nine months of last year, and with his comedy touring schedule he was away from his Nebraska farm for more than 280 days. He isn’t sure he’s up for a third season. “I’m 50 and I have two young kids,” he said. “I need to start enjoying their lives.”

Then again, this year he plans to do even more stand-up. “I’m not complaining,” he said of the hectic schedule. “I choose to do it. I love doing it.”

While he does mostly solo dates, he occasionally joins Alpharetta comic Jeff Foxworthy or Engvall, his Blue Collar Comedy mates. Engvall’s schedule happened to coincide with Larry’s for Atlanta, where an 8 p.m. show sold out, necessitating a 5 p.m. show that still has seats available.

“It works well,” Engvall said. “We have two completely different styles of comedy. He’s the quick joke guy. I tell stories.”

Engvall just shot a TV pilot for Atlanta-based TBS, where he had his own sitcom, “The Bill Engvall Show,” from 2007 to 2009 (featuring Oscar winner Jennifer Lawrence). The new show, which doesn’t have a finalized name, is focused on a former Circuit City executive who is forced to work in a lesser role at a Home Depot-type store.

“I’m the bitter old guy,” said Engvall, 55. “The subject matter is really what’s going on in America with guys my age.”

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