You can often tell a comedian by the style and delivery of the
jokes. George Burns often kidded about his age: "When I was a boy
the Dead Sea was only sick." Bob Newhart is known for his
stammering delivery in such classic routines as "Defusing a Bomb"
(you've got to see it for yourself!)
Some are the masters of irony. These include deadpan Steve
Wright, "I've been making wine at home. I make it out of raisins so
it will be aged automatically." And Emo Phillips' garden path
humor, "I hate being divorced, I'd much rather be a widower." And,
of course, the brilliant Woody Allen, "Time is nature's way of
keeping everything from happening at once."
Rodney Dangerfield was always self-deprecating, "I looked up my
family tree and found out I was the sap." And Phyllis Diller
focused on her imaginary family life, "Housework can't kill you,
but why take a chance?"
Then there's Larry the Cable Guy.
Recently, I had the chance to talk to Larry about his career.
While his sense of humor isn't to everyone's taste, he is one of
the top comedians in the country today. According to Forbes
Magazine, he pocketed a cool $18 million in 2011-2012.
"Now that's funny right there," Larry might have
characteristically chuckled two decades ago had someone then
predicted his successful future. At the time, Larry - whose real
name is Dan Whitney - was just an occasional call-in guest on a
Tampa radio morning show.
"When I started doing this, it was just for fun. I never
intended it for a career," said Larry from his home in
Nebraska. He moved to Florida as a teenager and quickly
adopted the regional way of life, including a Southern twang, which
he began exaggerating in his act.
Larry is a master of the one-liner, writes his own material, and
can be brilliantly witty: "I've got a buddy of mine who called me
up all upset because he slept with his third cousin. I'm like,
good Lord, if it upsets you that much, quit countin' them."
He can also be rather corny, "I'm on that diet where you eat
vegetables and drink wine. That's a good diet. I lost 10 pounds and
my driver's license."
Or down right crude and politically incorrect. But you'll rarely
hear him use offensive four-letter words.
"I'm one of those acts you either really like or you don't," he
said. He believes a lot of his critics' disapproval is "political."
And that makes him "madder than a mosquito in a mannequin
"There are comedians that I personally can't stand, but if
they're funny, I can still appreciate why they have a fan
following," he said. "They work hard just like me and I'm not going
to rail on them just because of what they believe. There are all
different styles of comedians and comedy out there - something for
A clue to which side of the political fence Larry hangs is his
daughter, named after his favorite president: Reagan.
"He wasn't perfect, but he brought pride back to our country,"
said Larry. "And he had a great sense of humor."
As he continues to share his humor across America, Larry also
shares his success. He once wrote a check for $5 million to a
hospital, and continues to donate millions to various charities
including his Git-R-Done Foundation.
Thomas' features and columns have appeared
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