Alpharetta’s Jeff Foxworthy thought he’d forever be saddled with fans coming up to him and asking him about being a redneck.
Now, thanks to “Are You Smarter Than a 5th Grader,” which started in syndication this week on WAGA-TV, MyATL-TV and CMT, people now ask him if he’s smarter than, well, you know.
“It’s really not that different,” he mused to me by phone Tuesday. “Both involve me being an idiot!”
But as his fans know, he’s no idiot.
Over six weeks during the summer, Foxworthy taped 170 episodes that will air over the next year. Some days, he taped seven episodes. “Someone had a piece of paper marking off each episode from 1 to 170,” he said. “It was like chiseling away at Stone Mountain!”
Doesn’t it ever get boring? “No. When I’m doing something like this, I’m all in,” he said. It helped that he had his two teen-age daughters with him. His oldest even interned for the show.
Foxworthy is also writing another children’s book (this one focused on hide and seek) and planning a short tour next year with his former Blue Collar mates Bill Engvall and Larry the Cable Guy. (The fourth Blue Collar cog, Ron White, he said, “has gotten to the point where he works a lot bluer than us.”)
“We’ll do 10 or 12 dates and see how it works,” Foxworthysaid. But it won’t be a true Blue Collar reunion. He’s worried going back to that till would taint the legacy of the original, which started a decade ago.
“It’ll look like a bunch of old guys making money,” he said. “I don’t want to do it for the sake of doing it. It’d have to be funny.”
Ulltimately, he never imagined himself doing a game show. “I didn’t know I’d enjoy it this much.”
And he feels for School Superintendent Kathy Cox, in throes of bankruptcy that has tied up the $1 million she won a year ago for the Georgia Academy for the Blind in Macon; the Georgia School for the Deaf in Cave Spring; and the Atlanta Area School for the Deaf in Clarkston.
“That whole deal is sad,” he said. “the fact is from the moment she started, all she wanted to do was give that money away to those schools.”