This was originally filed Wednesday, April 19, 2017 by Rodney Ho /email@example.com on his AJC Radio & TV Talk blog
Before the Blue Collar Comedy Tour in the early 2000s, only Jeff Foxworthy among the four comics was a big name. But he helped propel the other three men into the big leagues - especially Larry the Cable Guy.
Daniel Lawrence Whitney created the goofy redneck "Cable Guy" character in the 1990s with the catchphrase "Git r done." After Blue Collar, he became so popular he began headlining arenas and landed on the Forbes magazine's list of most successful celebrities for several years. Over time, he has paired up with Ron White and Bill Engvall on tours but until recently had not done anything with Foxworthy.
But the reunion has been sweet. They released a Netflix special last year "We've Been Thinking" and continue to do dates in 2017, including the Fox Theatre for two shows Saturday. (Buy tickets here.)
In 2014, he was doing a benefit concert in his home state of Nebraska for a kid with brain cancer. Foxworthy was available and flew in as the surprise guest. Since then, they've been doing more work together, including providing content for the revamped Jeff & Larry's Comedy Roundup for Sirius XM.
They have each committed to 40 hours of original content a year. Foxworthy, who has lived in Alpharetta for many years, hosts an interview show on Mondays. Larry does his own a weekly show on Friday, joking about the week's news. "It's a hodgepodge," he said. "No real format."
Larry (as I will call him the rest of this article for recognition's sake) has never shied away from the fact his stage act is a character. But he cited a story in the liberal-leaning site Huffington Post in 2008 decrying how much he stayed in character, then praised Stephen Colbert at the time for doing the same thing.
"I think that the difference is it confuses people," Larry said. "He was a left winger. I try to keep politics out of all of this. If I do something political, if I think it's funny, I do it in 10 seconds ore less. I'm a one-liner comedian. Generally, for the most part, my act is nothing more than nonsensical one liners and goofy stuff. Colbert was a left winger portraying a right winger. [He is now just being himself on CBS.] I'm a conservative country kid playing my alter ego. Larry is conservative but ultra ultra right wing. I guess that's what irritated the writer."
Indeed, while talking on the phone, he still sounds distinctly like Larry the Cable Guy in tone and voice, just minus the strong Southern accent you hear on stage.
In general, he doesn't mind the media, not even the paparazzi. He knows he's not a Kardashian. But for fun on his History show "Only in America With Larry the Cable Guy" (2011-13), he played a paparazzi for a day. "We couldn't find any actual celebrities," he said, "so I started making them up. Hey! That guy is Telly Savalas! Then we saw this guy in a grocery store parking lot. I joked that he looked like Billy Dee Williams. We pulled up and I yelled, 'Hey! Billy Dee!' He rolled down the window. It was actually him! And he looked at me and said, 'Git r done buddy!' It was really awesome!"
Larry said the two greatest "Get R Done" moments came on talk shows. On "The Tonight Show," he was on the same night as Janet Jackson. His publicist wanted a photo with her. Instead, Jackson wanted a picture with him. She had seen his History show and loved him on it. "That," he said, "was awesome."
Another time he was co hosting "Live With Kelly Ripa" and his manager wanted a photo with the guest Denzel Washington. Larry started going down the hallway to find him. Instead, Denzel came up to him. "I’m not kidding," Larry said. "Before I even had a chance to say a word, Denzel said, 'Ahhh!! Larry the Cable Guy! Git r done, brother!' How cool is that? Denzel knows who I am!"
Larry, now 54, doesn't tour nearly as much as he did in the late 2000s when he was earning tens of millions of dollars a year. He prefers to be home with family and his daughter and son (ages 9 and 10 respectively).
He quit the History show voluntarily because it ate up too much time and has turned down numerous sitcom opportunities. "I was sabotaging my own career," he mused. "I've also turned down four or five game show hosting opportunities."
So instead of working 130-plus dates a year, he is on the road maybe 30 to 40. "I went from 265 days a year on the road to 70," he said. Plus, he does voice-over work, including the upcoming "Cars 3" movie.
"I had such good years before," he said. "I've been blessed enough to make those kinds of decisions."
And he said he's just glad fans still want to see him when he is out doing shows.
"I love making people laugh," Larry said. "It's such a thrill. The fans are still with us. Jeff and I talk about it on stage. We've been doing this so long after awhile, you think people have seen enough of us. But they still come out. We're so fortunate."
He did say yes for six years to Prilosec. That was money he couldn't turn down. "I've been nominated for Grammys. I've written books, done movies. And people come up to me and say, 'You're the Prilosec guy!' Hey, you know. Whatever brings them in!"
A few years before that, he repped NutriSystem. "I pride myself on being the only guy who went from NutriSystem to heartburn medication. So ridiculous!"
He admits his weight fluctuates seasonally, sometimes up and down 40 to 50 pounds a year.
Larry said he exercises a lot. Each day at home, he does an hour with the Cardio Glie, a half hour on the treadmill, weights for 20 minutes, then bonus time on Peloton bike at night. "My problem is I eat garbage. When I'm done, I watch TV and eat caramel popcorn."
In the early 1980s, Larry attended college in Decatur at the now defunct Baptist University of America. He recalled spending time girl watching at Lenox Square Mall. "Per capita some of the best looking women in America!" he said. He also attended plenty of Braves games at Fulton County stadium in the cheap left field seats "staring at Chief Noc-A-Homa while outfielder Brett Butler threw us baseballs."
Larry the Cable Guy & Jeff Foxworthy
5 p.m. and 8 p.m.
660 Peachtree St. NE, Atlanta