There is nothing quite like good old country comedy, whether it comes in the form of song or the spoken word. Some know it as “Southern comedy” and others refer to it as “redneck” or “hillbilly” humor. For names such as Minnie Pearl and Ray Stevens who spent more than 50 years in the business of making people laugh, it was a lifestyle. As these two individuals played their part in making country comedy more popular, the evolution brought about new blood and different styles.
Even though everyone got to know the loveable Minnie Pearl, her real name was Sarah Ophelia Colley Cannon and her career as a comedian started in 1939. She adapted the persona of a mountain woman with a particular hat that always had the price tag still attached. She also introduced us to several “family” members of Minnie Pearl and although we never got to meet them, they sounded pretty real. Her songs inspired so many country comedians who still perform today and she is one character that is deeply missed.
This guy is what you can call a comedy music prodigy. He started playing piano at the age of seven and ten years later he recorded his first single “Silver Bracelet”. The year was 1957 and till today the talented Mr. Stevens continues to draw smiles with his comical genius. Apart from just writing funny songs, Stevens is a very skilled musician. His first job was with Mercury Records in Nashville where he did arrangements, played piano and served as a vocalist. He currently owns his own record label, Clyde Records, which he established in 2007.
Jerry “The Mouth of Mississippi” Clower
Jerry truly was a salesman’s salesman. Unlike Stevens, Miller and Pearl, he found his place in entertainment much later. After studying agriculture and playing college football he went into the seed selling business. His humor gave him a reputation among his customers, which ultimately led to a long contract with MCA Records. He was used in numerous commercials ranging between cars, auto repairs and fishing equipment.
If you’ve ever heard the song “King of the Road” then you’ll know Roger Miller. Just like Stevens he was a natural songwriter in addition to being an actor and his career started in the late 1950’s. Miller rubbed shoulders with country greats like Willie Nelson, Kenny Rogers and even the beloved Minnie Pearl. He was a smoker, a brawler and had an amazing talent to write classic, signature novelty songs. Some of these include “Husbands and Wives”, “Do Wacka Do”, “In the Summer Time” and “You can’t Skate in a Buffalo Herd”.
Hee Haw (Television Show)
For individuals like Minnie Pearl, this particular TV show was considered a comedy headquarters. Hosted by Buck Owens and Roy Clark for the most part, the show aired from 1969 till 1992. Its focus was country music and the culture associated with the South, playing on stereotypes to create some lighthearted humor. The group of ladies that were known as the Hee Haw girls typically wore clad farmer’s daughter outfits or country style mini-dresses and the popularity of the show wasn’t excluded to a country audience. People from all over enjoyed it very much.
This is the man responsible for the Blue Collar Comedy Tour, headlining himself along with three other popular comedians, and he is one of the most successful comedians alive. A proud Christian and known for his “You might be a redneck” one-liners, Jeff has written several books, sold thousands of records and appeared in numerous television shows, some being his own. He likes to keep his jokes focused on the common man.
Bill and Jeff are best friends and he joined Jeff in the Blue Collar Comedy Tour. Although he might not share the variety of success like Jeff, Bill is doing pretty well. His humor usually surrounds the life of a family guy, the frustrations and truths husband are too afraid to express. Many people describe him as a very nice guy and he branded the “Here’s your sign” one-liners.
Better known as “America’s funniest professor”, Carl used to be a university professor before engaging in stand-up comedy. He isn’t much for the limelight, but he can be heard on Channel 97 Blue Collar Radio. In terms of his style, he has been compared to the likes of Andy Griffith and Garrison Keillor for his home style storytelling combined with public humor. At the age of 75 he is a still a hoot.
David L. Cook
This 45 year old Christian country singer/writer and comedian has written more than 2500 songs in his career. Since the age of 5 he became a musical entertainer along with his family members, forming a group called The Cook Family Singers. Despite his medical conditions and his abusive childhood David has made a great name for himself in music and comedy.
Stand-up comedy doesn’t get any cleaner than this, because Chonda is a much sought after Christian comedian. She loves the sound of laughter from the public and she’s got 8 books under her belt. When she is not busy with new material, she works with other Christian foundations, aiming to bring inspiration with the laughter.
Ron might be part of the original Blue Collar Comedy Tour, but he isn’t exactly Blue Collar. He served in the US Navy, spent some time in Mexico then finally decided to make a career out of comedy. He will always have a scotch in his hand and his material might not always be family friendly, but he knows how to stir the audience.
Larry the Cable Guy
Believe it or not, the fourth member of the Blue Collar Comedy Tour is in fact a persona. Dan Whitney created Larry the Cable Guy and his popularity has gone from strength to strength. His movies might not have been the blockbusters, but everything else in terms of touring and records have done very well, placing him in the “Wealthiest Comedians” section.
You’ll be hard pressed to find an adult that hasn’t heard the song “Letter to my Penis”. Rodney is one of the few comedians that managed to become a country star as well. The six comedy albums he has released thus far have all been successful and one might even say he’s built somewhat of a cult following in the US.