10 Questions for Larry the Cable Guy
- Jason Vondersmith
- Portland Tribune - Features
At just the right moment, for effect, Larry the Cable Guy exclaims 'Git-R-Done!' and his fans go wild. It's as much part of his image as his flannel, sleeveless shirt, husky build, baseball cap with adorned fish hooks and somewhat manufactured Southern accent.
For the past decade, the man named at birth Daniel Lawrence Whitney has been gettin' it done in comedy. On March 4, he and traveling pals Jeff Foxworthy and Bill Engvall appear at the Rose Garden, but without the fourth member of the 'Blue Collar Comedy Tour,' Ron White, who had previous engagements.
Larry the Cable Guy has done live shows, television programs, acted in movies and written a book. This year, he'll take part in 'Only in America With Larry the Cable Guy,' a History Channel program where he goes across the country visiting unique and unusual things.
The Tribune caught up with Larry the Cable Guy, a Nebraska native who lives in Sanford, Fla., with his wife, Cara, and children Wyatt, 3 1/2, and Reagan, 2:
Tribune: You've been to the Portland area several times … got any memories?
Cable Guy: Trees. It's beautiful. A buddy of mine has a hunting territory (in western Oregon), about 11,000 acres. … I don't get to get out and see a lot of cities on tour. … I remember being in Portland. Had my shirt off - and I got hair on my back - and a person from PETA threw a bucket of paint on me.
Tribune: People either love ya or hate ya, huh?
Cable Guy: Yeah, there's not a lot in between. My fans are great - they just like to laugh. Even some who don't like me, I'm not convinced they don't sit by themselves and laugh. My stuff's universal.
Tribune: You recently turned 47. Feel older?
Cable Guy: Yeah, but I got the (butt) of a 30-year-old. I gotta tell ya, I don't exercise, I'm out of shape, I eat a lot of junk food, but mentally, I feel great, feel 20. I used to love to play baseball, still do, but I can't get down on the groundball. I lost 50 pounds on Nutrisystem, but I'm a husky guy. It sucks.
Tribune: Your name is Daniel and you don't have a Southern accent …
Cable Guy: I don't care, because fans know it anyway. (The accent), it depends on where I'm living. If I'm living in Florida, around Florida crackers, I'll have a Southern accent. When I go to Nebraska, I lose it a little bit. I pick it right back up when I get back in Florida. I've been doing my show for so long, it's second nature.
Tribune: It's a real art to have the timing and delivery of a comedian. Always had it?
Cable Guy: I grew up in a strict household. My father was a preacher, and I always knew when to throw in a joke to lighten the mood. I was always a goofy kid. I loved to watch 'Hee Haw,' 'Monty Python's Flying Circus,' 'Benny Hill,' the 'Dean Martin Roasts' and 'Carol Burnett Show.' I've always been able to look over a crowd and know exactly when to throw a joke in and not get in trouble.
Tribune: Perhaps sensitive material gets you laughs, like 'that's as funny as watching a midget run track' …
Cable Guy: I got a new one. If you had a stadium full of midgets, and if they stood up and did the wave, would it be a ripple? … I got a friend, Two Foot Fred, who comes on the road with me. He walks with a cane and rides in a wheelchair. He's literally two feet tall and he's one of the boys. We joke with Fred and he jokes with us. He wants to be treated like a regular person. Me and Two Foot Fred were hanging out once and some lady talked with Fred like he was 4 years old, saying they had a place in town where he could go and be around other people who understand his disability. When she left, he said, 'I (really) hate that, they treat you like you're helpless.'
My dad was a preacher, and I always had a good view of life growing up. On Sundays, we'd go visit the old folks home, children's hospital. I hung out with (mentally challenged) kids and some with disabilities. I have a big heart for folks like that, and I write jokes about that. They would do things that make you laugh, and I did jokes about it and nobody cared. My buddy Alex is in a wheelchair, paralyzed, and I don't treat Alex any differently than any other buddies. I joke with him, he thinks it's funny. I know when I go on stage, some people don't find them funny.
Tribune: It's funny that Wikipedia recently had your daughter (Reagan) listed as a Bass Pro Shops owner and your son (Wyatt) listed as a ballet dancer.
Cable Guy: Wikipedia is so full of (baloney). Reagan's not involved in anything but dressing up, and Wyatt just wants to wrestle and throw rocks at stuff.
Tribune: You own Professional Bull Riding bulls, including 'Chicken on a Chain,' bull of the year. Ever ride, ever go eight seconds?
Cable Guy: Maybe back in the day I would have. I can't stand my wife for eight seconds now. But I can ride a horse good.
Tribune: Are you really a hunter and fisherman?
Cable Guy: I fish all the time. I enjoy hunting, but I just don't have the chance to go very often, I'm always working. If I'm on the road for three weeks, then home for four days, the last thing I want to do is be in a deer stand for 12 hours.
Tribune: You don't like to make fun of particular people?
Cable Guy: I always want everybody to be happy. But you could be Jesus, and somebody would hate you. … I don't like making fun of people, because it's usually fans. I'd say something about a guy's mustache and ruin his month.