March 20, 2017
THERE ARE COPIOUS AMOUNTS OF LAUGHTER THROUGHOUT THE INTERVIEW (as you can imagine) THAT WILL NOT BE TRANSCRIBED. FEEL FREE TO SUBSTITUTE YOUR OWN!
Welcome, Husker Nation, to a very exciting edition of the Carriker Chronicles. Today I am joined by one of the funniest human beings on the face of Gods green earth, and an avid Cornhusker Football fan -- Mr. Larry The Cable Guy! How are you doing, sir?
LCG: Mr. Adam Carriker, you know I love you! I practically raised your kids.
AC: Thats the truth, I cant argue with that. Thats why theyre so well behaved.
LCG: Well I hope you can hear me okay, Im in my truck and Im headed down to see somebody in the hospital down here, so -- I had this interview scheduled to where it was timed up perfectly and you called me up and said we had to delay a few minutes, so now Im in my truck!
AC: Ahh, minor family emergencies. We actually got it cleaned up quicker than I thought we would be able to. But, I would like to talk --
LCG: How old are your kids?
AC: Jacob is 7, Addison is 5, Trinity is 4, the twins are 1, and we have another one on the way.
LCG: All right, so did you have to go wipe one of the twins, is that why you were late?
AC: I feel like Im constantly wiping both of the twins to be honest with you.
LCG: Hey Adam, you ever notice when you have kids that are potty training, they always go Mom, Im done, mom, Im done! You know why they never yell Dad Im done? (Why?) Because we dont know how to wipe our own butts!
AC: Hey, I dont care who you are, thats funny right there.
LCG: Hey, you ever notice men wipe their butts with long division? We always leave a remainder.
AC: Theres so much truth to that!
LCG: Well, thats a very truthful comment.
AC: All right, now you are obviously a very funny guy. I wanted to talk to you about how you got into comedy. Youre from Nebraska, you take the comedy route; how did you get into the comedy line of work?
LCG: Well, just a real quick Cliffs Notes. I grew up in Southeast Nebraska on a pig farm in Pawnee City. We had hogs, some horses, some cattle, mainly hogs. I grew up next to the barn and I loved it there and I loved Nebraska. Then my dad got a job in Florida so we moved to Florida when I was almost 16 years old. And I lived in Florida -- I was going to a college, a Baptist college in Georgia. I was playing baseball and I loved it. I had to work though, because my parents didnt pay my way. Thats how they used to do it back in the day. If your parents couldnt afford it you had to work your way through college. Thats why I always get irritated when people go Well, Im not going to be able to send my kid to college. Well, make them work! I had to work! Lazy pud, make him get a job, thats what I had to do! (Im not going to argue with ya.) Everybodys coddled now, but anyway -- I wanted to sit out a semester so I didnt have to ... I wanted to work so I could make money so I didnt have to work during baseball season. That way I could get everything paid off that semester and I could just concentrate on playing baseball. I didnt really care about school work.
I started, well, a buddy of mine persuaded me to get into an open mic comedy night in a bar in West Palm Beach, Florida so I went on stage in October of 1985 and I got hooked on it and just never went back. It was something that I really enjoyed doing, and thats how I pretty much started. I started in May of 1985 and went professional in May of 1988. I developed my character that I do now, Larry The Cable Guy. My real name is Dan, as most everybody knows. I developed that in 1991 on a radio station, and started doing it on stage around 1995-96. I hooked up with the Blue Collar Comedy Tour in 1999-2000, and the rest is comedy history. And here I am, talking to Adam Carriker.
AC: Well, I would say youve had some mild to extremely moderate success at the comedy thing (Haha, you think I had some moderate success?) as I sit here wearing a cutoff flannel shirt trying to look like you, because obviously, youre my hero.
LCG: That was the best choice I ever did was wearing a sleeveless shirt, because youre built like me. I know youve lost weight, but youre a big ol football player. We always wear our shirts untucked, us bigger guys. A flannel shirt always fits really good, it dont cling to ya, run low in the back, a little higher in the front, make you look a little bigger. And I would always cut the sleeves off in the summertime because it was nice and cool, and I guess I got pigeonholed and stuck as the guy with the sleeveless outfit. The cool thing about that is, no matter where I go, I dont have to dress up. If Im invited as Larry The Cable Guy, theyre disappointed if I dont show up with something sleeveless on. If I go as myself, I never really used to dress up anyway when I was a kid in Florida. I always wore shorts, t-shirts, and shirts with no sleeves. Im good either way. I dont have to dress up for anything anymore!
AC: Well you know, you and I are pretty much identical twins. And heres something people may not know about me. I used to walk around in the middle of Nebraska winters on campus, in shorts and a cutoff workout shirt. It wasnt flannel, but a cutoff workout shirt. So Im right there with ya on the cutoff shirt, man.
LCG: Well, yeah, we can do that because we got a little extra padding, so us big guys, we walk outside when its 35 degrees, and go man, its nice out here today! I mean, it gets to be 45-50 degrees, we get hot!
AC: Hey, truer words have never been spoken. But I gotta ask you, how did you come up with Larry The Cable Guy? You grew up in Pawnee, Nebraska until you went to Florida, and you know, us Nebraskans, were not known for having an accent, but Larry has a bit of an accent. So how did that develop?
LCG: Well, I always tell everybody that me, Dan Whitney is from Nebraska, Larry The Cable Guy is from Florida. When I went to Florida, I gravitated toward all the tractor kids, because Im a country kid. So when I moved to Florida, I gravitated toward all the kids out in the country. When we first moved down here, I moved to West Palm Beach, Florida and I hated it at first. Then I went to school, and I went from a class of 30 to a class of 116. There were 16 girls when I went to school in Pawnee, I had about 85 to choose from! There were a lot more girls, and when youre 16 years old, youre looking at the ladies. Again, I gravitated toward the country kids. A lot of people dont know it, but at one time, Florida was the number one cattle producing state, and it was sitting at number 5. I dont know what it is now, Ill have to check Google. But there was a lot of country kids down there. Thats why the Florida-Georgia football game is always such a big deal, they always try to out redneck one another. So I just kind of picked up the accent, cuz all my friends were southern and they talked like that. The more years I was there, the more friends I got, the more I started picking it up. What solidified it was when I went to college in Georgia, my roommate for two and a half years was from Beaumont, Texas and the other one was from Dalton, Georgia. And I started doing stand-up, met Foxworthy in 1986 and we became real good friends. Thats when I developed him. I called the radio station one time and pretended that I was a cable installer, and it just kind of stuck. So people just started calling me Larry The Cable Guy because they heard it on the radio.
The accent, I picked up when I moved to Florida. I defy anybody to move to the south, hang out with a bunch of rednecks for two months, and not start talking like them, because its pretty hard to not do.
AC: Theres actually a lot of truth to that. I did a couple months of rehab down at the Andrews institute in Florida and I started to talk a little bit different. Then I came back up here and I didnt talk like that anymore. Its funny how people catch on to things like that.
LCG: Yeah, its like, my cousins in Wisconsin, so if I go there more than 10 days, next thing ya knoow, Im taalkin like this, and were gonna goo a bear huntin, and eat some cheese curds, but it was a lot easier living in Florida because all my friends were in Sanford, Florida which is part of the redneck Riviera. So I just picked up the culture, and the accent, and it was just fun, I loved those days. Some of the funnest days of my life were in Sanford, Florida and West Palm Beach.
AC: Very cool, now I dont know if you remember this or not, but it was two or three years ago, the Cars movie, Cars 2 had just come out and my son was big into it. And for his birthday, you called him as Mater and you wished him a happy birthday, and he thought that was the coolest thing ever. So Ive gotta ask you, what is the favorite part of your job, or maybe the favorite project youve done to this point in your career?
LCG: Man, thats gotta be up there, I tell you what, the reason I like Cars so much, is it was kind of a culmination of everything that I had done in my career. You know, I came up with this character, Larry The Cable Guy, I did it on the radio station; I was syndicated on about 27 radio stations, but I only got paid on maybe four of them. It was something I liked to do, but I was kind of hoping it would build to something, I thought I was unique, I was doing something nobody else was doing, and I called the radio station 5 days a week every year for 13 years. And in 2003, Pixar called me after hearing me on the Blue Collar Comedy Tour, and offered me the role of Mater which has become a huge success. Billions of dollars in merchandise sales. That really is probably my favorite thing, because it was a culmination of all my hard work, not just trying to go where the money was, always taking advantage of every opportunity that I could take advantage of, and just not quitting. And there were many times I said, this isnt going anywhere, let me try something else, but I didnt. I stuck with it and enjoyed it, and I knew it would pay off. So, when Cars came along, it was completely because he liked my voice and thought I was funny, and that was what he wanted the tow truck to sound like. And that was when I had Blue Collar 2 when Larry The Cable Guy got big as well. I would say Cars was the pinnacle thing that I did because everybody -- every A-list celebrity out there, especially when they have kids, wants to do a Pixar movie because their kids can watch it forever, and their grandkids, and so on. Thats probably my favorite thing Ive ever done.
AC: Thats awesome. When you talk about calling radio stations five days a week for 13 years, and talk about earning your way through college, youve lived it. Thats awesome. I love that. I love to hear stuff like that.
LCG: It was funny, I gotta tell you. I learned that from Foxworthy. He used to say, theres a lot of people funnier than me, but there aint nobody that works harder than me. And he said, you gotta understand, when youre in show business, thats a two part word. Theres the show part, and the business part. And I dont care how good you are at the show part, if youre not good at the business part, and they dont come together, its like a golf game. You can have a good drive, but you gotta get the short game working. Same with show business. If you got a good show, and you got the business part, then its gonna come together and somethings gonna turn out for ya. And thats exactly what happened.