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Jeff Foxworthy reunites with Bill Engvall, Larry the Cable Guy at Philips Arena Jan. 29

CREDIT: Parallel Entertainment

CREDIT: Parallel Entertainment

Already a big star, Alpharetta’s Jeff Foxworthy in 2000 thought it would be fun to bring some of his close buddies together on a tour he dubbed “The Blue Collar Comedy Tour.”

The incredible success of that tour, which went on for years and yielded multiple DVD movies and a TV series, propelled Bill Engvall, Larry the Cable Guy and Ron White into the comedic stratosphere.

None of them have anything to prove anymore. But they’re still friends. Foxworthy convinced Engvall and Larry the Cable Guy to join him for some mini reunion dates, including Philips Arena Saturday night. (White passed, saying his act has gotten too randy.)

We caught up with the trio by phone:

Jeff Foxworthy

On doing a show in Atlanta: “I always write a few things just for the home crowd. It’s fun.”

On bringing back the Blue Collar Comedy Tour: “I’ve been hesitant. I didn’t want to bring it back just for the sake of doing it and it not being as good. We were all at a golf tournament and I realized we just missed being on stage together. Ron was the only one who didn’t want to do it. He said, ‘I’m too lazy to write 30 minutes of clean material!’ ”

How he killed time during the recent winter snowpocalypse: “I finally cleaned out the garage. I’d only been putting it off for like 11 years. I found some corn I wanted to feed the deer in the backyard. Unfortunately, it was several years old and was more like a bag of yellow marbles.”

Latest TV venture: “I filmed [ABC reality series] ‘Shark Tank’ in November [where entrepreneurs pitch ideas to investors.].  It’s one of those things Mark Burnett [who produces Foxworthy's show "Are You Smarter Than a 5th Grader?] asked me to do. I didn’t think I was a good fit but he said I was a successful business guy. I’m not a numbers guy. I’m an idea guy. I ended up investing in a couple of things.”

On how the fifth graders who were on the show in 2007 are now in high school: “That’s a little bit disconcerting! I’ve never had a TV show stay on that long before. It’s new territory for me! We need to have a reunion!”

On why he’ll never be a contestant: “It’s better if everyone thinks Jeff is an idiot than to have me take a test and prove them right!”

Bill Engvall

On how being an empty nester has affected his comedy: “I’m still clean but a little more edgy. I’m exploring different subjects other than my family. Like those self check-out lines at supermarkets. My new policy is if it doesn’t ring up after three times, it’s free!”

On aging jokes: “We used to do jokes about chicks at the bar. Now we’re competing for jokes about colonoscopies!”

On getting back with Larry and Jeff: “It’s a true friendship.  It fell right back into place. It’s like we hadn’t missed a beat. There are no egos on this tour.  If someone gets big headed, the other two guys will slap that out of them!”

On the legacy of “Blue Collar”: “It’s mindblowing about how this all started out. We are part of comedy history. Twenty years from now, they’ll still be talking about ‘Blue Collar.’ ”

On the last segment where the comics sit on stools and try to make each other laugh: “It’s my favorite part of the show.  I learned early on, you better be on your A game or you’ll  get buried. When we get Larry laughing, he’s done. Afterwards, we’ll be going over things, saying, ‘I can’t believe you came up with that!’ It’s like we’re little kids!”

How it’s better now than a decade ago: “Jeff was always the guy I wanted to emulate. I got into this Van Halen thing. I’m going to be the next David Lee  Roth and take down Jeff! He never batted an eye. He encouraged me. When I finally realized who I was and was more secure with myself, we became closer. The show became more fun for me.”

Latest TV venture: Host of the upcoming revised version of the game show “Lingo” on GSN.

Larry the Cable Guy

On Ron White’s absence: “He just wanted to do his own thing.  I miss him. But it’s just as funny with the three of us.”

An aging joke: “I went in the other day to the doctor’s. I didn’t know if he was checking for polyps or trying to extract a confession!”

On his act: “It doesn’t really change. I’ve added more kids stuff because I have two now. When I started, I didn’t have any. I got married in 2005, then had a little baby boy and a little girl. My wife and I made a pact that we’d never cheat on each other except for one fantasy person. She chose David Beckham. I chose the cashier at Lowe’s.”

On his audience vs. Foxworthy’s: “Jeff’s crowd and my crowd are the same. Mine is just his before they get kids and start going to church more.”

Backstage demands: “We don’t ask for much. Bottles of water, Skoal and dip cups. That’s what I ask for!”

‘Family Guy’ reference: Larry the Cable Guy said he couldn’t stop laughing at a “Famly Guy” episode in which a character from another show during a “Back to the Future” spoof pops up and says, “Who ate all the pecan sandies?” Larry blurted that line one time during the stool segment out of nowhere. ”Jeff looks at me. He has no idea what’s going on. He starts tearing up. I love making him laugh.  That’s always my goal!”

Latest TV venture: History Channel on Feb. 8 debuts “Only in America With Larry the Cable Guy.” ”It’s bizarre, I have to tell you. It’s like Charlie Sheen doing a commercial for eHarmony.com. I travel around the country and do all sorts of crazy stuff. It’s a lighthearted take on America. It’s about our culture and what makes America great… I go to NASA and ride in a shuttle simulator. I fly on the USS Nimitz plane that gets caught with a hook. I boxed a professional female boxer. The only bad thing is I gained like 50 pounds on this show. I’m in the worst shape in my life! All we did was eat!”

His next movie: “Tooth Fairy 2,” going straight to DVD. “I told my manager that the bigger I am, the funnier I’ll be.  Nothing is funnier than a fat white guy. John Candy. Chris Farley. But I have to decide: do I want to be a funny fat guy or a happy, live semi-fat white guy? For my own health, I’m trying to lose weight fast.”

CONCERT PREVIEW

Jeff Foxworthy, Bill Engvall, Larry the Cable Guy. 8 p.m. Jan. 29. $31.90 to $80.10 with fees. Philips Arena, 1 Philips Drive, Atlanta. 404-878-3000, www.ticketmaster.com

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Daryl-Atlanta

January 21st, 2011
5:16 pm

These three guys should go on Piers Morgan’s new CNN show for nothing more than to just mess with his head.

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Crude

January 22nd, 2011
7:54 am

No, Jeff Foxworthy DOES NOT write new material for the home crowd. I saw Larry and Jeff at the Fox Theatre in 2004, and the only one with some new material was Larry.

Big Dawg

January 22nd, 2011
10:57 am

Hopefully they won’t have more commercials than comedy like the blue collar station on XM. I gave up!

Bigger Dawg

January 23rd, 2011
8:35 am

Luv these guys.

Dave

January 28th, 2011
5:58 pm

RH,
Not that it matters but Jeff now lives in Johns Creek.

Robb Cohen

January 30th, 2011
11:40 am

Here is the AccessAtlanta link to the online photo gallery from last night’s show:

Jeff Foxworthy, Larry The Cable Guy & Bill Engvall Entertain At Philips Arena Saturday Night