Blue-collar comic, Cable Guy, is very happy to `Git-r-done'

CATCHING UP WITH...

He exaggerates his drawl, his politics, to make fans laugh

Catching Up With ... Dan Whitney

July 03, 2005|By KNIGHT RIDDER/TRIBUNE

What is Larry the Cable Guy's next big dream purchase?

Forty head of bred heifers.

What - no bling? No closet full of "Git-R-Done" ball caps and cut-off tees?

"Call me crazy," says the popular comedian. In fact, if he weren't doing stand-up, he'd be raising cows in Oklahoma or in his home state of Nebraska.

Yes, Nebraska.

The comedian famous for his painfully thick Southern accent and redneck humor hails from Pawnee City, Neb., population 1,200.

Born Dan Whitney, he grew up in a Midwest farming community where "everybody had horses and livestock."

"When I say it's in the middle of nowhere, it's in the middle of nowhere," he says.

Whitney and his fiancee - who's from a Wisconsin town with a population of 45 - will marry this summer at a small church where his father used to preach.

Though he's been in Florida nearly 26 years, his heart belongs to the Midwest - as well as his accent.

His real-life voice isn't very close to Larry's drawl, which is often a punch line itself. Though he has a touch of Florida in his speech, listening to him as Dan Whitney is more calming than irritating, more New South than Deep South.

His attitude about himself and his success is equally relaxing and down to earth.

Whitney, at 42, takes what he does and who he is seriously, but not too much.

His reaction to having a successful television show (Blue Collar TV, on Comedy Central and WB) and multi-platinum records - including his latest, The Right to Bare Arms - is genuine surprise.

"I knew [the latest CD] would sell a lot, but man, it was crazy," Whitney says.

And to what does he credit his success? Not his talent, but his fans.

"You know what? I just got great fans," he says.

And they aren't always the people you might expect.

"It doesn't matter [if you are] black, red or yellow, it's just goofy stuff, you know?"

His sketch-comedy show with Jeff Foxworthy, Bill Engvall and Ron White is no different.

"It's just a show [where] you can watch goofy sketches and laugh," he says.

Formerly a comic radio host, Whitney signed off using the phrase "Git-r-done," and it just stuck.

"It's just an all-American work ethic, blue-collar phrase," he says. "Whatever you do, just `Git-r-done.' "

His political commentary, though spiked with Whitney's real, conservative philosophy, is for the most part exaggerated.

"A lot of what I think is really blown out of proportion and twisted ... to get a laugh," he says. "[It's] totally for people who have a sense of humor.

"You have to be outrageous, you have to be funny and you have to mix it up a little," he says.

His goal is to make folks say, "He has no idea what he's talking about" or "I can't believe it - you can't say that!"

His humor is varied, from current events to his own life. As a DJ, he often created "really goofy letters from my granddad on the Civil War."

His biggest critics?

"The only people that ever get irritated are the politically correct, uppity white people," he says. The same ones who "when they go to a bad part of town, they lock their doors. Those are the people that don't like the show."

Fans who can't get enough of Larry the Cable Guy's deep-fried Southern humor will be pleased to know that Whitney will be in the mid-Atlantic region later this month, with appearances in Salem, Va. (July 21), the Delaware State Fair (July 22) and Atlantic City (July 23). (Information is on his Web site, larrythecableguy.com.)

He is also working on a movie, Health Inspector, with a tentative release date of April 2006, and using his distinctive voice for the Disney/Pixar movie Cars, coming out next June.

Being away from home more than 200 days a year is a strain, but his attitude is more than optimistic - it's grateful.

"I've gotta tell you, I'm real thankful for everything that's happened to me," Whitney says. "My fans are awesome. I love making them laugh.

"It's just something about [stand-up comedy]," he says. "I don't think I'll ever stop."

Laughing with Larry

Some humor from Dan Whitney, "Larry the Cable Guy":

On The Passion of the Christ: "What's not biblical? He was crucified on a cross. ... It's in the Bible. Now if I watch the film and see the Lord trying to escape in a Thunderbird with Romans road-blocking the front gates with bulldozers, and there's an appearance by Jerry Reed driving a semi, then I'd say that's maybe not too biblical!"

On relationships: " `Let's be friends' sounds like your mom telling ya the dog has died but you can still keep it if ya want to!"

On popular culture: "That space buggy is on Mars, and believe it or not, guess what they found? A Starbucks! ... And is it just me or do ya have to have some sorta piercing to work there?"

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