Warned you with the headline!
Larry the Cable Guy filmed a segment in Times Square today with "The Naked Cowboy" as part of an episode for Only in America with Larry the Cable Guy, which The History Channel announced this week that it had renewed for a second season. Photo by Zach Dilgard.
In case you missed it, Billy Gardell -- star of the new CBS sitcom Mike & Molly -- appeared last week on Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson. Toward the end of Gardell's panel chat, Ferguson mentioned that he'd be visiting Las Vegas soon and would check out Carrot Top's long-running show there.
Which prompted Gardell to say this about knowing Carrot Top:
"When we did open mic night together, and this was back in Florida. We had a big open mic night there. It was me, him, Darrell Hammond, Larry the Cable Guy before he was Larry the Cable Guy (Ferguson: He was just Larry then), yeah Larry. Yeah, and but, but, Carrot Top would come in and he'd set his stuff up on the stage, and we would steal a couple of things out of the trunk. But we wouldn't tell him. And then we'd watch him go, 'Ha ha, ha ha.' But he's a good kid."
The History Channel isn't just for Hitler anymore. Among the network's newer shows that look back on antique items, comes this newest one: Only in America with Larry the Cable Guy.
The series debuts tonight. Here's a clip.
Not to be confused with Bob Saget's recent look at American subcultures for A&E, the first episode of Only in America, titled "Larry Makes Moonshine," sends the comedian to California for frog-jumping competitions (just like a modern-day Mark Twain?!?), to Vermont for etiquette lessons, and yes, into redneck country to learn and make moonshine with some good ol' boys.
The comedian recently sat down (or stood, I don't know what he was doing since he was on a speakerphone) to answer questions about his TV series.
Where did you get the idea for Only in America?
Larry the Cable Guy: Well, you know, they had called - they had this show, they called my manager, he called me and I said, “Man, that sounds good. I’m about as American as it comes.” You know, I grew up on a pig farm in southeast Nebraska and been living in Florida for 34 years so I said, “This is a show I think I’d like to do.” I think it’s kind of cool too because I actually have a bit in my act where I talk about how I quit watching the news because the news makes me depressed and it kind of takes away my pride in America. And - because I travel all around the country and I perform in front of thousands of people and there’s good - there’s great people out there. This is a great country and (fans). So this is a great opportunity for me to go out and do stuff with just regular Americans and just show that there are - that this is still a great country and we have the greatest culture in the world and the greatest country in the world. So it puts me in a great element. I love talking to people. I love hanging out with people and it was a perfect show for me so that’s why I decided to do it. Not only that, but it gives me a chance as well to do what I do but yet also be myself. So, you know, they’re not all funny. There’s some moments where, you know, there’s some people that explaining stuff and telling me stuff and so proud of something that they start tearing up and crying and I’m able to be myself in certain situations and tone it down a little bit and just enjoy the moment. So I like it for various reasons, but this is a great show for me.
Did you have any favorite places you visited during filming for the show?
You know what? Honestly every place I went to was awesome. I met great people and they were all fun to do and be at, but I would say probably the places that I would love to go back where I really learned a lot was I’d like to go back to do Houston and do NASA. I mean I really enjoyed that. I got to do a space shuttle - I got to do the simulator on the space shuttle. I got to do so many things that I never thought I’d ever get to do in my entire life. But that’s one place that I’d definitely like to go back and do.
I’d like to do the USS Nimitz again and hang out with all them kids. I mean they’re only 17 or 18, 19, 20, 21 years old and they’re in charge of millions and millions of dollars of equipment and just doing a great job and launching planes off ships. I’d like to go back and do that.
You know, just it was all fun. I learned a lot in every episode and I met a lot of great people. And one of the main themes to what I saw with people was a lot of the family involvement, a lot of families started things and they passed it down to their family. And I learned that almost - that a lot of things that we brought over from other countries, we developed and made better and that was the cool thing about America. That’s why we’re such a great country. We borrow stuff from other countries and we take what they did and we perfect it and we make it even better.
Had you ever done a cross-country road trip before just for fun?
Larry the Cable Guy has done a lot of press recently to promote his upcoming History Channel series, Only in America, and I'll get to that soon enough. The series debuts next week.
But here's something you don't see every day, much less any day. Larry the Cable Guy referring to himself by his given name, Dan Whitney, in explaining how the character came to life and became him. Roll the clip!
In this second clip, he talks about how his casual use of the phrase "Git-R-Done" as a sign-off on his phone-in bits to radio stations became a catchphrase that everyone, even people who don't like him, know all too well. Roll it!
You know what's so great about the 21st century? Celebrities don't have to worry about taking any hard-hitting questions anymore, because the Internet makes anyone with an Internet connection a star. Lights Camera Jackson is an 11-year-old "kid critic" of the movies, who already talks like he has been studying hours of TV footage of how "reporters" conduct interviews. And check out this get! Lights Camera Jackson has an exclusive sit-down with Larry the Cable Guy. You know, Mater from Cars? That's where everybody on the street knows Larry from, obviously. Who are these crazy old uncles of yours, Larry, and why are they crashing our interview? What's that? Jeff Foxworthy and Bill Engvall? Never heard of 'em. Are they going to be voicing any cars in Cars 2?
Look. I know it's unfair to be harsh toward an 11-year-old kid. After all, he should be just barely smarter than a fifth grader. What would he know about Larry's stand-up career, or even know what Larry's "B-cup" punchline even means? Of course he's a big fan of Cars. It's just one of those Mondays when I stare outside at the rain and wonder if this is the future of celebrity journalism, or if this is what celebrity journalism has been like all along, and it's just dawning on me now.
You can think whatever you want when you watch this interview. Roll it!
Comedy Central boasts that Larry the Cable Guy's latest CD/DVD, "Tailgate Party," played to the largest-ever live audience for a recorded stand-up comedy special. With a low ticket price and Fourth of July fireworks for a finale, Larry got 50,000 fans to turn out in the University of Nebraska's football stadium to hear him "Git-R-Done."
I mused a bit about some of the jokes on his CD when it came out last year. The DVD comes out Tuesday, and tonight, Comedy Central airs a 42-minute version of it. Want to see what it looks like?
Here's Larry the Cable Guy joking about drinking, fishing and drinking while fishing.
Here's Larry joking about the time he met Hillary Clinton:
And for some behind-the-scenes preparations, interviews and a look at what opening act Josh Wolf saw when he took the stage, check this clip out:
How many of you listened to and bought Larry the Cable Guy's new CD, Tailgate Party, which came out a week ago? We'll find out soon enough when the sales figures get reported.
When I listened to it, one of the things that jumped out at me -- other than the fact that "Larry" made a political statement by announcing he had switched from driving a Dodge to a Ford "because Ford didn't ask for bailout money" -- was that through much of the CD, he displays a love for colorful similes. Much like another down-home guy, former CBS News anchor Dan Rather! Time to play our new game...
WHO SAID IT? LARRY THE CABLE GUY OR DAN RATHER?
A) "They're ripping their underbritches off like they've got fruit flies flying around in a cotton patch down there."
B) "If a frog had side pockets, he'd carry a hand gun."
C) "Don't taunt the alligator until after you've crossed the creek."
D) It's "kind of like having the Daytona 500 on a cul-de-sac."
E) "I'd rather be pooping in a pair of plastic shorts than do something like that."
Of course, the answers are...coming up after the break for this commercial message:
While you were dressed to the nines yesterday, Larry the Cable Guy was uploading a new video to the YouTubes, in which he sat in a chair and read aloud his list of his 10 favorite comedians, and told us why he likes them better than anyone else. You probably can guess one or two right off the bat, particularly if you are a fan of Larry's. Have you made your guesses? OK. Pencils down. Roll the clip!
After the jump, another clip from Larry the Cable Guy to plug his upcoming Comedy Central CD, Tailgate Party, which comes out Sept. 22...
When I heard that Pee-Wee Herman would be returning to the stage this November in Los Angeles, part of me was excited and intrigued to see how Pee-Wee's childish naivete would play now that actor Paul Reubens is 57. You can watch any of these 10 videos of Pee-Wee Herman in action to relive some of his great moments since Reubens first developed the character as a member of The Groundlings in the late 1970s. There's a part of me, though, and perhaps a part of you that has wondered about Reubens over the years since he ran afoul of the law in 1991. That incident put a kibosh on Pee-Wee, but what about the comedian/actor who was Reubens? Although he has had some delightfully quirky character parts recently on shows such as 30 Rock and Pushing Daisies, Reubens never really has gotten us to forget about Pee-Wee. Is it typecasting when you cast the type yourself? It really couldn't surprise anyone, then, to see Reubens going back to the well once more.
He's not alone, though.
Comedians have created and pulled off countless characters over the years (just think of your favorite sketch groups or shows, such as Saturday Night Live, Monty Python or Kids in the Hall, for plenty of examples). But every once in a while, a comedian creates a character so memorable that the alter-ego takes on a life of his/her own, so much so that the comedian's ego is fed by the alter-ego. Here are 9 more comedy acts, who, for better or worse, are known for being someone else.
Dan Whitney grew up in Nebraska and Florida, and went about pursuing his stand-up career in the 1980s. It was going well enough, one would suppose. Here's a clip of Dan Whitney performing on TV at a "Comedy From the Caribbean" show. S'ok, but let's just say it was not getting it done. Then Whitney's radio career took a twist, and during a period in which he was calling in to radio programs with various characters, he hit upon Larry the Cable Guy, a redneck with family values and a catchphrase. "Git-R-Done!" would not only make him a comedy club headliner, but catapult him to stardom, and after going on the Blue Collar Comedy Tour, he began becoming as big, if not bigger, than his cohorts. A 60 Minutes profile in 2006 revealed how many millions of dollars "Larry" was raking in, despite a couple of "Larry" movies that didn't go anywhere. It's rare to see or hear him out of character. And when you can turn that catchphrase into a foundation that can make a $1 million donation, as he did earlier this month, well, we don't blame him for continuing to put on a fake accent and sleeveless flannel. He played to a stadium crowd at the University of Nebraska this July 4, and will release the "Tailgate Party" performance as a CD in September.
Would you believe that Bob Einstein is a comedy genius? Just ask his younger brother: Albert Brooks. Einstein was a writer for The Smothers Brothers on TV in the 1960s, but he first appeared as an inept parody of daredevil stuntmen in the early 1970s, when Evel Knievel had the nation's rapt attention. While Knievel retired, Super Dave Osborne just kept going and going, from Showtime's Bizzare in the 1980s to his own variety show and animated series. He still shows up as Super Dave on Jimmy Kimmel's show and Spike TV agreed to air a four-part Super Dave special this summer.
Whereas many comedy clubs across the country went dark for the Fourth of July, Larry the Cable Guy performed to a stadium-sized crowd of more than 50,000 at the University of Nebraska on Saturday night, in a show taped by Comedy Central (allegedly for broadcast in early 2010). Already, however, Larry the Cable Guy's "Tailgate Party" is available to purchase as a digital download for $9.99 on the comedian's newly revamped website.
The Lincoln Journal Star reported that the Pawnee City native's set last more than 90 minutes and touched upon the economy, his family life, Viagra and Wal-Mart, telling his fans: “If you need to go to Wal-Mart, this would be the perfect time to go. They’ve been looking forward to this because it gives them a chance to restock the shelves.” It was the biggest non-football event on the Nebraska college football field since Farm-Aid in 1987. The paper also noted that while you won't see many references to Larry the Cable Guy in his Nebraska hometown, you will see plenty of nods to the guy who did grew up there, Dan Whitney, from a couple of street signs to the school's auditorium and town walking trail, where he donated money for improvements. Whitney moved to Florida when he was 16, and has homes both in Florida and Nebraska.
Larry the Cable Guy doesn't have more stadiums on his short-term agenda, though, which means you'll be able to catch him in more intimate settings as his summer tour continues in casinos and other venues throughout the United States and Canada.
Comedy Central's Roast of Larry the Cable Guy taped its raucous proceedings last night in the greater Los Angeles area, and through the power of the Internets, we already know the best parts. Thanks go to The Laugh Track, the Tweets of @dougbenson, and CCInsider's Matt Tobey for providing us with their picks of the best zingers and photos from inside the taping. Does this mean we don't have to tune in on March 15. Or does this tease you enough to set your DVRs and TiVos already? That's up to you, isn't it?
Video previews already up from Lisa Lampanelli, Greg Giraldo, and (big gulp) Maureen McCormick!
Larry the Cable Guy has put together mock roasts in his recent holiday specials, and now, Comedy Central is returning the favor by giving the artist formerly known as Dan Whitney his very own celebrity roast. The Comedy Central Roast of Larry the Cable Guy will tape March 1 in Los Angeles, and air on March 15.
From the release today: "It is an honor that Comedy Central has chosen me to be roasted. Only a handful of folks have been dumb enough to accept. And believe me, I'm pretty dumb! I'm looking forward to this about as much as I am to a prostate check with a doctor with a hook arm,” said Larry the Cable Guy. Hey-O. Or about as much as watching one of his own movies. Zing.
The Hollywood Reporter reports that CMT will carry on the torch burned by sister station VH1 last year by airing another Larry the Cable Guy Christmas special this coming winter. It'll air in November, but tape on July 30 (wow, why so early???) in Nashville with a scheduled guest lineup including Toby Keith, Lewis Black, Fred Willard, Montgomery Gentry, Victoria Jackson, Tony Orlando and ventriloquist Terry Fator. So mark your calendars.
Some comedians find their catchphrases become Frankenstein-like creatures that get out of their control. For a brief period, it appeared that Larry the Cable Guy felt that way about "Git-R-Done!" in his live theater shows, trying to git-r-out-of-the-way so he could git-back-to-his-jokey-jokes and dampen down shouts of it from the crowd. But not now. Because the comedian has launched his own official fan site, and the address is gitrdone.com. The site/company is part of UltraStar Entertainment, a division of Live Nation, and so it would naturally hold that fan club members here can find advance pre-sale ticket opportunities, exclusive audio and video content, meet-and-greets on tour, and a members-only site.
Members-only pre-sales launched yesterday for Oct. 12 in Boise, Oct. 24 in Peoria, Ill., with more opportunities for the rest of the tour coming soon.
One of my favorite little quirks of the site? The news section lists dates the European way: day/month/year
How about that? Here's more! A special message from Larry the Cable Guy to his fans...after the jump!
Hooray! The WGA strike is over. Let's declare a holiday! Wait. We've done that already? Great. Let's schedule some comedic talents for all the late-night TV shows, then, and get on with it...
Conan O'Brien: Monday, Larry the Cable Guy; Tuesday, Bill Hader; Friday, Nathan Lane.
The good folks at New York magazine's Vulture blog kindly deconstructed Jay Leno's mind-boggling strike-breaking 10:18 monlogue from last night's Tonight Show, which of course, you can relive on the Internet. Leno really must've wanted to show those writers a little what's what, eh?
In related news, Larry the Cable Guy has been sitting in as a guest every night this week? Egads. Can I get a witless? See what I did there...
As a child, returning home from vacation never sounded much like fun, but one of the few joys was seeing the huge pile of mail that awaited our return. Nowadays, it's the TV programming all queued up on my DVR that I turn to. So...what'd I miss? First up: Larry the Cable Guy's Christmas Spectacular, on VH1. Wait. VH1??? Not CMT? Oh, it's there, too. And it's re-airing several times this week on VH1, and this coming weekend on CMT.
Like most people, when you think of a Larry the Cable Guy special, you think Vegas, right? Ahem. Anyhow. What we have here is an odd definition of spectacular. Not quite craptacular, either. It's just, well, tacular. Is that a word? Now it is. Tacular. Or in Git-R-Done speak, Tack-E-Yeah! Or something like it. At one point, "Larry" (Dan Whitney) asks, "You know what this show needs?" To which his special co-host Tony Orlando, yes, Tony Orlando, retorts: "Jeff Foxworthy."
The jokes themselves are simple and often sexual and traffic in stereotypes and easy targets -- Rosie O'Donnell gets hers in the opening monologue, while the closing bit spoofs the "need" for an all-inclusive nativity scene, which goes for the easiest hits on gays, Mormons, Jews, Tom Cruise and Scientology. Kid Rock shows up to perform a song. That's nice of him. There's also a taped Larry the Scrooge Guy bit with Jamie Kennedy, Penn Jillette and Carrot Top playing the ghosts of Christmas past, present and future. There also is a roast of Santa (played by George Wendt) with an odder than odd panel that includes comedy roast regulars Jeffrey Ross as an elf, Lisa Lampanelli as Mrs. Claus, Jim Breuer as a drunken Easter Bunny, Vicki Lawrence as Mama from Mama's Family, and George Wallace, Katt Williams and Flavor Flav as the Three Wise Men. Williams gets off some spirited and naturally funny lines about Santa's decades-old red suit. Two other winning roast lines come at Larry's expense. From Jeffrey Ross, who noted that Larry was fatter than Santa: "C'mon Larry, you look like you celebrate 12 days of Christmas and 353 days of Thanksgiving." And this from Vicki Lawrence (Mama): "Larry's movies are doing really well in the retirement homes...they are making the old people stop clinging to life."
Larry also conveniently enough has a new Christmas CD out, called Christmastime in Larryland. A few of the TV special's jokes get repeated here, and Larry has the self-awareness to include a eulogy to the guy who invented the laugh track. And as he writes in the liner notes, "If you're not a fan of mine and bought this anyway, then you are a fool and mentally impaired. For those of you who are fans, I'm sure this will be just as you expected, and I love you."
The CD includes an extended trailer for Larry's upcoming movie, Witless Protection, in which Yaphet Kotto utters a Midnight Run reference to my dismay. Looks like another big hit in the retirement homes, Mama!
Carlos Mencia’s “The Punisher” tour comes to Boston tonight for two shows at the Orpheum, where he’ll undoubtedly learn that in this town, “beaner” means something else entirely. The comedian formerly known as Ned Holness and I talked on the phone on Monday morning. His Comedy Central show, Mind of Mencia, finished its second season this summer as the network’s second most-popular program, and will return for a third season early in 2007.
It was before 9 a.m. when the phone rang. Mencia was ready and rarin’ to start talking. “I’m wired,” he said. He tried watching the “Star Wars” trilogy (Eps. 4-6) and “Angel” but still couldn’t relax. “I was watching ‘Charmed,’ and I said I suck, watching ‘Charmed’ in the middle of the morning and paying attention to the storyline.” He kept getting distracted by Alyssa Milano. “Maybe because I remember her as a little girl, it makes me fell dirty.” OK. Let’s talk about something else. He just celebrated his 39th birthday on Oct. 22. How was that? His tour was in Dallas that night.
“My wife came out,” he said. “They stopped the show, came out with a cake, sang Happy Birthday, and my whole vibe was, you’re ruining the show! Get the f— off my stage! You’re building a set, you’ve got these peaks and valleys…and then, bababababa! What the f— are you guys doing to me! It was good besides that. I’m a great showman. So I just care about the show.”
Do you think your comedy will translate as well up in New England as it does in California and the Southwest? Do different crowds react differently? “I don’t think so. At this point, I’ve been through the Midwest and through the Pacific Northwest. It doesn’t change. It really doesn’t. It’s not, I don’t know, it’s not ethnocentric in that way…I would’ve thought, like you, in Dallas, so many Latinos that it wouldn’t change the show.” But he added: “The diversity of my audience is so stunning now. It’s amazing. It’s beyond crossover. I’ve actually become a voice for white America. I’m stunned myself. It just seems no one wants to say the things that are on peoples’ minds, and it just seems to be resonating even more in the white communities than in the minority communities, which is really weird. From blacks and Hispanics, they’ve been saying ‘Tell it like it is, and thank you.’ But whites have been saying, ‘THANK YOU! We’ve been waiting to laugh at that for years’…it’s just this thing that’s been hitting home.”
He hasn’t been to Boston in quite some time. “At the Comedy Connection seven, eight years ago, maybe longer. It was a long time ago. It’s tough, though. It really is.” He explained: “When you’re at the level I was, before the TV show (Mind of Mencia)…you’re working 48 weeks a year, working hard, 50 weeks if you’re stupid like me. You go to a comedy club every six months, so you’re talking 25 clubs.” Which means his circuit skipped Boston for years.
“But I’m having fun. I’m having a lot of fun, because I’m doing something I haven’t done before. It feels good to be talking about something. As a minority comedian, quote unquote, it’s interesting to look at a time, to look around and see it’s not great to be a white American anymore…because you don’t have the same social rights as everyone else.” Color me curious. Go on. “Two black people who speak ebonics can go do the same joke and speak that way to each other, and not get sued. You make a white guy do that and he’s going to go to sensitivity training…whoa! And there’s a lot of stuff like that going on…It’s an interesting time, and I’m a part of that. I’m a part of talking about that.”
He contributed a short story to the new book, I Killed: True Stories of the Road from America’s Top Comics, about a gig in which he feared he would’ve gotten shot by Snoop Dogg’s posse after a show, except for the fact that Shaq was in the audience and stuck up for him. Does he fear any crowds now that he’s famous? Not really. “Of the hate mail I get that I answer, they return going, I was just pissed off when I wrote that.”
What about the backlash from other comics? Joe Rogan, took on Mencia online last year. Rogan isn’t the only comic who doesn’t like Mencia’s brand of comedy. Instead of asking about Rogan specifically, I asked Mencia about why the few stand-ups who’ve gotten big in the wake of Dave Chappelle (Dane Cook, Larry the Cable Guy and Mencia) all have major backlash issues within the industry. “It’s no different from every other comic who’s made it successful,” Mencia maintained. “The comedians that comedians think are great are either dead or not very popular, or very old. People go, ‘Mitch Hedberg, man, he was the greatest ever.’ DEAD. Or ‘Richard Pryor was the greatest.’ DEAD. But it’s the same thing, when Chris Rock did his thing, he was blahblahblahed, and black comics said he sold out…It’s going to breed hate and contempt from comics because of the way we are. We are egocentric. It’s all me-me-me-me-me-me-me.”
He knows what other comics are saying about Larry the Cable Guy, “his fans are stupid and they talk about redneck s—.” And about himself: “He pretends he’s Mexican and the Mexicans don’t even like that. But he’s Honduran.”
Believe it or not, when I talk to Dane or talk to Larry, we don’t even talk about that stuff, because it’s so benign to us. It’s par for the course,” he said. “I’m not worried when other comics don’t like me. I’m worried when people don’t like me. I’m not worried when critics say your show sucks. I’m worried when people say your show sucks. They’re the ones who make your show. They’re the ones who pay to see you, who go to see your movies.”
Related: Carlos Mencia’s home page.