Larry the Cable Guy ‘gits r done’ on stage and screen

Published on March 24th, 2021

By Jim Dail

Larry the Cable guy can never be accused of sitting back and watching his success, not when he’s spending months on the road with a hit television show, “Only in America with Larry the Cable Guy.” Not when he’s still making movies like “Tooth Fairy II” and “Cars 2.”

And not when he’s still on the road doing stand up as he will do this Saturday at The Pechanga Showroom.

“My favorite is always the stand up because it’s what I do,” he said. “The other things are fun little side tracks. I love them, but they are a lot of work.”

It’s been a lot of work for decades now as Larry, real name Dan Whitney, has been a high-in-demand comic, especially since 2000 when he was part of Jeff Foxworthy’s Blue Collar Comedy Tour, which made Larry the Cable guy a household name.

He gives the credit to his fans.

“I just have a great fan base,” he said. “Since the early days of the stand up, I’d finish a show and they would give me good feedback. I’ve always tried to be good to the fans and be accessible.”

And he’s never without a joke. 

“My shows are one-liners,” he said. “My dad was a pastor and there would be times where there would be tense moments. That’s where I learned my timing.”

Part of that timing is knowing how to keep a show from becoming stale.

“I’ve always kept things fresh,” he said. “Some comedians you see them doing the same show with the same jokes ten years later. It’s not good to be stagnant.”

He is one of the hardest working comedians touring the country, and he finds his humor from everyday situations, whether it’s his sister (who he says is covered with moles), the Home Depot (“where a feller got his hind end glued to the toilet seat”) or even his wife giving birth.

“You know, the first album is the one where you have the jokes you’ve toured with for years,” he said. “But after that, you have to come up with new things and my jokes are about experiences. For example, one of my first popular jokes was the one with Grandma and the walking farts, which really happened. Sorry, Grandma.”

It’s also about always paying attention to the show and the business.

“That’s something I learned from Jeff [Foxworthy],” he said. “He said there’s a reason why comedy is called show biz. Not everyone is good at the business side, and you have to be good at both. It is a job and once you have the business side down, they you can be successful.”

There’s also something refreshing about being on stage making people laugh.

“Sometimes it’s all good therapy,” he sad “There are times you go on stage where something is bothering you physically or mentally and you just forget about everything and enjoy being out there telling jokes.”

Of course, the business side also includes the movie business, the latest of which is “Tooth Fairy 2.”

“It’s a funny movie and, of course, it’s different,” he said. “I mean, come on, the other one had The Rock who is in perfect shape. Fat guys are funnier.”

Of course, the character he’s most noted for is Mater from “Cars.”

“I have no idea how much of the character is me,” he said. “My kids see Daddy as a truck and if I put on another ten pounds I will be a truck. But I’m not sure how much Mater is me.”

That said, he did have some say in what happened with the lovable tow truck.

“I did improvise a bit,” he said. “I did the first three lines and remember telling John [Lasseter] that this isn’t really how I can see this character sounding and asked if I could change things around. He said to go ahead and make it my own as long as I follow the basic idea of the script. I got to say things in my language.”

He’s also a star on television.

Following a successful stint on “Blue Collar TV,” Larry the Cable guy returned to television with “Only in America with Larry the Cable Guy.”

“They came to me and said they have a show called ‘Only in America’ which will be a celebration of America,” he said. “They said they couldn’t think of anyone better than me to do the show.”

The show takes Larry to places like a roadside mermaid show, a mule breeding farm and a visit with a man who catches crawfish for a living.

“These are real people,” he said. “It’s a look at what is really going on everyday across this country.”

It gives Larry a chance to put a positive spin on communities.

“I love the idea,” he said. “I don’t watch the news because all they ever do is cover scumbags. This is about the positive. We travel everywhere. I get to hang out with people and see what they do, how they survive.”

He attributes the show’s success to the American spirit.

“There are a lot of immigrants all over the country who worked hard, assimilated and are doing their little piece of the pie,” he said. “Because America is so great, they could do their thing, their part.”

He feels lucky to be a part of it.

“Just to go out and examine historical things, some people it may not mean anything to but I think the show shows the spirit of this country,” he said. “It gives me a chance to be myself. I come out of character a lot. My good friends like the show and they tell me they learn a lot and get to see me as I really am.”

However, one thing is clear and that is his dedication.

“I don’t want to ever disappoint my fans,” he said. “Comedy is supposed to be fun, and hopefully that’s what people have who see me.”


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