For more than 20 years, comedian Jeff Foxworthy has been teaching people how to tell whether they, or someone they know, is a redneck.
“You might be a redneck if you think ‘loading the dishwasher’ means getting your wife drunk,” Foxworthy has said since releasing his multi-platinum “You Might Be A Redneck If…” album in 1993.
But the 58-year-old comedian from Atlanta has mostly traded in his famous comedic catchphrase for a new one: Facts of life that his kids cannot Google.
For example: “Your wife can have long beautiful hair, or you can be on time — you can’t have both,” he said in his new comedy special, “Jeff Foxworthy & Larry the Cable Guy: We’ve Been Thinking,” which debuted in August on Netflix.
Here’s another from the special: It’s a fact of life that “If you’re trying to go to the bathroom in an emergency situation, it’s not a wise idea to unbutton your pants before you get there to save a few seconds because the muscles might interpret that as a signal to abandon all posts. Two seconds of time-saving turns into an hour-and-a-half of mopping and laundry.”
Foxworthy brings his witticisms and down home Southern humor at 6:30 and 9:30 p.m. Oct. 1 to the Grande Exposition Hall at the Silver Legacy Resort Casino.
The comedian hasn’t completely cut the redneck bits from his act, but has boiled them down to what he calls his “Freebird” moment, in reference to Lynyrd Skynyrd’s iconic song that the band must play at every concert it performs.
“There might be a coup if I didn’t,” Foxworthy said, only half-jokingly.
View from the stage
The Netflix special with Larry the Cable Guy (real name: Dan Whitney) is part of a tour the two blue-collar comedians have undertaken this year. Foxworthy performs solo the first half of the special; Whitney handles the second part.
Polished, comfortable and completely in control on stage, Foxworthy shares his views on reality television, personal injury lawyers, the (lack of) email skills of the elderly, breast-reduction surgery, out-of-control parents at sporting events and the tortures of passing a kidney stone.
“The pain was nuts,” Foxworthy said. “When that thing started moving I was eating Percocet like peanut M&Ms.”
There also are plenty of men vs. women comparisons, fart jokes and the requisite slam of Walmart customers: “Walmart after midnight makes the ‘Walking Dead’ look like ‘America’s Top Model’.”
A very funny resume
It’s been 21 years since Foxworthy earned a Grammy Award nomination for Best Spoken Comedy Album for his “Games Redneck Play” release and since the two-year run of his sitcom, “The Jeff Foxworthy Show.”
In the early 2000s, Foxworthy teamed-up with fellow comedians Ron White, Bill Engvall, and Larry the Cable Guy to create the Blue Collar Comedy Tour, which elevated all four comedians to new heights of popularity.
That led to the TV series “Blue Collar TV” on the WB Television Network, Comedy Central and the Comedy Network. Foxworthy continued releasing comedy albums as well as three “Redneck Dictionary” books and three children’s books, “Dirt on My Shirt” in 2008, “Silly Street” in 2009, and “Hide!!!” in 2010. He also co-wrote two “How to Really Stink at Golf” books in 2008 and 2009.
On television, Foxworthy hosted “Are You Smarter than a 5th Grader” on Fox from 2007-09 and again in 2015 and on syndication from 2009-11. He also was the host of “The American Baking Competition” on CBS in 2013, several programs on the Outdoor Channel and Versus stations, and the “American Bible Challenge” from 2012-14 on GSN (formerly the Game Show Network).
On faith and family
The latter show revealed Foxworthy’s deep religious beliefs to the mainstream public (he said he accepted Jesus Christ as his lord and savior when he was only 7 years old), as did a May interview with Atlanta NBC television affiliate WXIA. In the interview, Foxworthy spoke of becoming a Bible teacher in 2008 to a group of homeless men at the Atlanta Mission. When he was asked to teach this group, Foxworthy admitted to being apprehensive.
“I’m like, ‘There’s 6 million people in Atlanta and you can’t find anybody more qualified for this than me?” Foxworthy told WXIA. “I didn’t know what I was doing. I didn’t know anybody in my group. It was me and 12 strangers who’d been living under bridges.”
Today, Foxworthy continues to lead bible study classes. But instead of a dozen men attending, there’s now as many as 200 homeless men showing up weekly. Foxworthy said the experience has changed the way he looks at his fellow human beings.
“It’s easy to drive by somebody homeless when they’re not a person,” he said in the interview. “It’s easy to roll down the window and go, ‘Here’s three bucks. Leave me alone.’ But when you start learning somebody’s story, they become a human being.”
Same with Foxworthy, who defines himself as more than a comedian and TV host. He’s also a husband of 31 years to Pamela Gregg and, together, they have two children, Jordan and Juliane.
“I love doing stuff like ‘Fifth Grader’ or ‘Bible Challenge,’ he told WXIA. “But it’s not what defines me in life. I’m a husband and I’m a dad and I’m part of this community.”
That’s a fact of life that you can’t Google, either.