Larry The Cable Guy
Larry The Cable Guy has been entertaining the Blue Collar crowd for several years and is a native Nebraskan and a die hard Nebraska fan. He is one of the top comedians in the country and has a new movie out called Larry The Cable Guy, Health Inspector. This interview was done by David Max on April 20, 2006.
Larry: Dude, I'll tell you what. That HuskerPedia™. I can't live without it. I'm on HuskerPedia™ EVERY DAY. Audio.
DM: That's good to hear. It's a labor of love and my partner, Joe Hudson, and I have been working on it together since 1999. Joe has done most of the work as far as putting the information up there. We have well over 60,000 pages and links of information about Nebraska football and other sports on the site.
Larry: That's great. I've been trying to figure out how to get Lyle Bremser on my ring tones.
DM: Are you talking about the Johnny Rodgers run?
Larry: Holly yeah!! Man, Woman and Child. That one.
DM: I saw Johnny at the Spring Game. He's a character. You'd enjoy meeting him.
Larry: I met him once at the Orange Bowl against Tennessee. I got a Husker leather jacket with red Huskers on it and I ran into Rozier and Rozier signed it. Then I saw Johnny Rodgers walking by and I said "Hey, dude, will you sign my jacket right next to Rozier?" and he said "Yeah, sure." So I got him and Rozier on my jacket.
DM: That's awesome. We'll have to get Eric Crouch so you can have all three on it. They were all three at the Spring Game and came out on the field at half time.
DM: I have several questions that were sent to me and posted on the bulletin board. The first one is where were you born?
Larry: I was born and raised in Pawnee City, Nebraska. I lived right next to the sale barn and I raised pigs. My dad was a guidance counselor at Wymore High School. He was also a preacher and did farming as well. We leased out our crop land but had cattle and horses.
DM: How old were you when you left Nebraska?
Larry: I was 16.
DM: Did you play football in high school?
Larry: I played on the junior varsity team at Pawnee City back when we were big enough to field a junior varsity team. I was a defensive tackle. Me and my good friend, Doug Stephens, were both defensive tackles.
DM: Do you remember Mrs. Puls class from junior high?
Larry: Donna Puls. Yeah, I remember that. I was always getting in trouble because I was the class clown but I always made her laugh. I remember I thought I was going to fail that class but I ended up passing it and I really think it was only because I was good entertainment for her.
DM: What do you remember about your first Nebraska game?
Larry: When I was a kid down there it was always a dream to go to a Nebraska game but when you live in those small towns you hardly ever get up to one. My first game was probably about 1991. I was working at the Funny Bone Comedy Club in Lincoln, Nebraska. I had a lot of really good friends that I met at that comedy club. I have a lot of life long friends from that club that went to college in Lincoln. I used to hang out with my buddy, Jeff Johnson, who went to school there and hung out in his dorm room so much they used to ask me if I had the homework for the next day. I would say "I don't even go to school here." Mike Croel, Kenny Walker and Phil Ellis were playing at the time. I knew Mike Croel pretty good.
DM: Do you remember Lyle Bremser?
Larry: Oh, man, yeah, I totally do. Living in a small town you couldn't go anywhere on a Saturday where a store had the game on. If you were downtown you heard the game. If you were at the gas station you heard the game. I remember I would be mowing the lawn and I would stop for the Nebraska game. I would have it cranking outside. I totally remember Lyle Bremser. I remember one game when I was a kid when we played Indiana and beat them something like 30-13 and I.M. Hipp ran all over the place in that game. Well shoot, I told you I want to get his ring tone.
DM: I'll talk to my guy at Sprint who is a Husker fan and see what we can do.
Larry: I miss Lyle Bremser. I wish he was still there.
DM: What does it mean to you to be a Nebraska fan?
Larry: I've been down in Florida since 1979. When you're born in Nebraska you really can't explain it. Down here in Florida I have a half court basketball court out here. Of course, it's all trimmed in black with red and white, Huskers on the top and a big "N" in the middle. You can actually see it from the air if you fly into Orlando and take the Sanford route. You look down in this swamp and you see this big red basketball court with an "N" on it. All my trucks have Husker stuff on it which is a pretty ballsy thing to do down here in Florida.
DM: Do you ever get approached by Florida fans?
Larry: You know what, they can't say anything because they still got to catch Tommie!! They can't say much. The only people that give me crap are the people from Florida State because I think we're 2 and 6 all time against Florida State. When they start running their mouth I tell them "Don't you forget it but Osborne and Bobby Bowden are pretty good friends and if it wasn't for Nebraska Florida State wouldn't have a football team because Nebraska is the one that played Florida State when they tried to get big schools and they came into Lincoln and beat us and that put them on the map. If it wasn't for Nebraska there would be no Florida State football. And when we kicked Florida's butt in the Fiesta Bowl I remember Bobby Bowden taking his coaches up to Lincoln so they could teach them the defense that stopped Danny Wuerffel. When people see my stickers on my truck and stuff the Florida guys would say "Boy, you guys are just nuts up there. That stupid little Nebraska." I just tell them this; "You just don't understand. You're not from Nebraska so you have no idea what we're talking about. If you're not from Nebraska you just don't understand our passion for Nebraska football. I would say "We're from Nebraska. Everybody equates us as Podunk State and we're all farmers and blah, blah, blah this and blah, blah, blah that." But when they come to Lincoln and get their ass kicked it gives us satisfaction for them running their mouth all year.
DM: Do you still listen and watch the Nebraska games?
Larry: Every one that I can. I haven't missed many TV games. Of course, I've got the dish and everything. I watch them every time I can. I just bought one of those new boxes. That was one of my dreams come true. I bought a suite on the new north side so I'm going to be at every home game watching the game in person with my friends and family.
DM: What games did you go to last year?
Larry: I went to two of them. Iowa State and Pitt.
DM: That Pitt game was exciting.
Larry: Yeah, I went to two good games. I hope we don't have many more exciting games like that.
DM: The guy that blocked the field goal at the Pitt game is from my home town of Page, Nebraska. Adam Ickes. His family farm and our family farm are right next to each other. I went to grade school with his parents.
DM: Do you follow the Huskers on the Internet?
Larry: I go on your site and check out all that stuff. I follow the baseball team on the Internet more than I do the football team. Generally you can get a Nebraska game anywhere. Before I started doing big arenas and stuff and had a tour bus when I was just working comedy clubs way back when I would always listen to the games in my hotel room on the Internet. I got a really funny story about the Omaha Funny Bone. You can call up and verify this. Way before the Internet came out, I'm talking '86, '87, I used to call the Funny Bone in Omaha from my hotel room or my house here in Florida back in the day and they would put the phone up to the radio and I would listen to the entire game on the telephone. I would call in to the girl that ran the Funny Bone and say "Game Day, Coleen, Go Huskers!!" and she would go "All right, hold on a second." and she would put the phone up to the radio. Then about every 10 or 15 minutes she would pick up the phone and say "You all right?". I would say "Yeah, I'm good. Put the phone down." (Laughs) So that's how I used to listen to it before the Internet. Then the Internet came out and I used to get all the games there and then I got Direct TV.
DM: When people ask you where are you from, what do you tell them?
Larry: I tell them I'm from Nebraska.
DM: Rumor has it that you're building a house in southeast Lincoln. Is that true?
Larry: The rumor is all wrong. The house is already built. I bought a place outside of Lincoln.
DM: How does it feel to have a Christmas album that outsells Regis Philbin?
Larry: (Laughs) That's hilarious. I saw Regis when he was talking about that. Somebody called me and said Regis was talking about my album. Somebody taped it and sent me the tape. I sent Regis a box of all my stuff and he had me on the air. Now every time I'm in the area he wants me to come on the show. I'm going again the end of May. He was pretty funny. I've always got a kick out of Philbin. I'll tell you what. It was pretty crazy. All this stuff is pretty crazy. The Christmas CD that I put together was odd. That's one of the first things I ever put on tape. When I was doing stand up and working comedy clubs I would go into this radio station in Orlando and be a side kick. Every time the holidays came around I would just write goofy stories and it was real rough stuff. It was hilarious but I was just green and new to radio and doing all these bits. People would call in and say "Man, that thing you did about Christmas, you should put that on a CD and sell that." I had all these lists of people that would call me up and tell me what their favorite bit was that they wanted on the album and that's what I put on the album. Even if I didn't think it was that funny of a cut, that's what the fans voted for so it was basically a fan CD that I put out. I only sold it locally through Orlando. I think Baltimore, MD was asking for it. I was on a bunch of stations. There were two or three cities that were wanting me to sell it out there so I sold it in those three cities. I don't even think I sold it in Omaha. I might have. But that was early. This was a CD that I put together in the early '90s. It sold locally and probably only sold 3,000 copies in three cities. After that first Christmas was over I just put it on the Internet and sold it on the Internet. To make a long story short, after my first CD broke all these records, somebody from Warner Brothers ordered it off my web site and they said "Larry, you've got to release this." I said "Well, there's a lot of local references to Orlando." and they said "It doesn't matter. People want to hear it." I said "All right. Go ahead and release it." So they released the CD 2 years ago at Christmas and it is only in stores from late October through December so it has only been in stores for six months nationally and it is already about 8,000 copies shy of 500,000. It was something I did for fun and never, ever meant to release it nationally. It became like a cult album. A very underground album. People that are die hard fans really like that album.
DM: Who is the funniest comedian that you've met in person?
Larry: I've met tons of guys. My favorite I've never met. Steve Martin is my all time favorite. I've never met him. Don Rickles is one of my all time favorites. I've never met him. Milton Berle. I've never met him. Henny Youngman. I have met Henny Youngman. I worked with Henny Youngman once. That was a thrill. He's one of my favorites. One of my favorites is a guy named Nick DePaulo. He used to do some stuff on Comedy Central. He's a friend of mine. But as far as the guys that are the reason I'm in the business are Steve Martin, Don Rickles, Henny Youngman, Milton Berle.
DM: What's your opinion about the current state of Nebraska football?
Larry: I think we're heading in the right direction. I really do. I know everybody was down on Callahan the first couple of years but I gotta tell you I remember those times early on when Tom Osborne, everybody wanted his head on a platter because he couldn't beat Oklahoma. Now look, he turns out to be one of the greatest college coaches in history. Bob Devaney, when he came back from Wyoming and took over the team, all he did was win right off the bat. And of course he had two 6-4 seasons and they wanted his head on a platter. They wanted him to fire his whole staff. You know what I mean. And now look what happened. I think Solich got a raw deal. I'm a Nebraska traditionalist just like everybody because I love living in the days where we steamrolled everybody and shoved the ball down everybody's throat and said "Yeah, we're from Nebraska. You want to go ahead and call us hillbillys? Here. Here's about another 27 yard gain." I loved it when we ran the ball because to me that's exciting. I'm not real big on this throwing the ball, however, I think Callahan has a great plan. In order to get the kids to come to your school, especially a city like Lincoln, because they can go to a Florida or Florida State or a Miami or a USC and if you're a good athlete and especially a quarterback or a wide receiver you probably would want to go where it's warm. I think they're on the right track. I really do. When we beat Michigan last year we might have turned the corner a little bit. Judging from the Spring Game they're concentrating on the run a little bit more. I'm not a football coach. I'm a fan. I'm a fan of Nebraska football. I loved it when we ran the ball up everybody's throat and the defense came out and just smash mouthed everybody. I loved that. If we can achieve that by passing the ball a lot more then I'm all for it. There's a lot of times I'd be watching a game and they would give the ball to Cory Ross and nobody could stop him and the next thing you know we're throwing 12 straight passes. I could never figure that out but they know what they're doing. I'm not a football coach so I'm giving everybody a chance. Just like everybody was calling for Osborne's head, everybody called for Callahan's head and I say give him a chance. I think he's going to turn it around. I really do.
DM: What makes Nebraska fans different from other fans?
Larry: Their knowledge of the game is one. The fact that they love great competition. Of course, every Nebraska fan loves to see a blow out. I do. I love to see Nebraska blow everybody out but I think they appreciate a good game. A good, clean hard fought game where both teams are at their best. Of course we want to come out on top. I think they want to see those good games. In my case it doesn't matter. When we had that first losing season I was still a big Nebraska fan. I still bought all the stuff. I would just tell them no matter what you're from Nebraska. You were born Red, you bleed Red and you always stick by the team no matter what. I'm a grown freaking dude and I'm such a fan. Believe me, when we lose a game I'm freaking in tears.
DM: On your TV appearances you always manage to wear something with Nebraska on it. Is that on purpose?
Larry: That's on purpose. I'm always wearing a Nebraska hat. Most of the time I'm wearing something that's got a Husker something on it. I make sure I have it on TV but I have it regularly. Every once in a while I will have something that says Sanford on it because I've been living in Sanford, FL for awhile and I don't want to make my adopted home feel bad.
DM: How big of a town is Sanford?
Larry: Sanford is a little redneck town north of Orlando. It's right off Lake Jessup. It's between two lakes, Lake Monroe and Lake Jessup. Lake Jessup is the most alligator infested lake in the United States and I live literally 5/10ths of a mile north of that lake right off the swamp down here. I've lived here since '94. When I left Nebraska my dad got a job at a private Christian school in West Palm Beach. People will say "You're not really a country boy. You're from Palm Beach, Florida." Well, I moved to West Palm Beach, FL which is a far cry from Palm Beach, FL. There's a reason it's called West Palm Beach.
DM: What do you do for recreation?
Larry: I don't have a lot of recreation time. I've always been under the assumption that if you're selling tickets you need to work. The kind of success that's happened to me maybe only happens to one comedian every twenty years and so I'm on the road constantly. I've got a big tour bus. It's one of those nice ones. It's a long one with a picture of a greyhound on the side. (Laughs)
DM: That one, huh?
Larry: Yeah, that one. I pretty much live on my tour bus. Last year I was on the road 279 days. This year it will be about the same by the time it's said and done. I do well around 300 shows a year. A lot of times I will do two shows a night. Last year doing the tour we only had about 10 days off and the rest of the time it was a show and sometimes two shows a night.
DM: How many people are in your tour group?
Larry: It's really bizzare. I've just got great fans and I'm real thankful for them. I've got to tell you. It's unlike any other comedy show. We have three buses and a tractor trailer that tours with us. Me and my wife go in my bus. My tour manager, my opening act, and we take a trainer with us so we don't get fat while we're on the road but it's obviously not working so I'm going to cut his pay. (Laughs) Then we have another bus that follows that bus and those guys are the stage hands that set up the stage and lights and then in the tractor trailer is all the lighting and sound that's involved in the show. All together there's probably 12 of us that tour together all the time.
DM: So what do you do the other 80 days a year?
Larry: I split time between Nebraska and Florida. I'll come to Nebraska in the summertime and stay through Thanksgiving and then I go back to Florida because I have family in both places. One of the reasons I got the place in Nebraska is I've always wanted to live back in Nebraska. My wife is from up state Wisconsin. She lived on a 3,000 acre black Angus cattle ranch so for a lot of her relatives it's easier to get to Nebraska then it is to get to Florida. My nephew played high school at Waco and I wanted to watch him play football. His name is Christopher. Then I got another nephew Zach who is starting to play sports so I want to watch them play sports and be involved with that a little bit. My sister, Debbie, and my brother-in-law live there. There's nothing better than a Nebraska summer so I wanted to live there in the summer time and visit my family and go to as many Nebraska games as I could.
DM: What's your schedule like for the rest of the year?
Larry: I'm done around May 4th and have the entire month of May off and then in June and July I'll be filming a movie in New Mexico called Delta Farce. Then I will come back to Nebraska again. My wife's having a baby in August so I'll take the month of August off for the baby and of course football season starts in September. I'm booked pretty heavy in November except for Saturday's when Nebraska has a home game. I'll fly in for the home games.
DM: Somebody told me you don't like flying very much. Do you prefer to use your bus instead?
Larry: You know what. I hate flying. I'm not a big fan of flying at all so everywhere I go I go by tour bus. If I have to fly I will but I'm not a big fan of it.
DM: Are you planning on going to the USC game this fall?
Larry: You know what. I've been invited to go out there. I might go. Once again, I'm not big on flying if I don't have to fly somewhere. I might head out to see that game. I might wait until they come to Lincoln. I'm not a big fan of LA either. The only time I like LA is during a cease fire. (Laughs) I'll go during a cease fire.
DM: Who are some of the former players that you have run into?
Larry: You know who I talked to the other day? Jeff Quinn. I was doing something with Howie Long. Me and Howie were hanging out and he saw my Nebraska pin and we started talking Nebraska football and he goes "Hold on, you've got to talk to this guy. He's a big Nebraska fan and he's walking around quoting you all the time. Do you remember Jeff Quinn?" I go "Yeah, I remember Jeff Quinn. I used to listen to his name on the radio all the time." So I got to say hey to Jeff Quinn. He got on the phone and said "Git-R-Done!" It was pretty cool.
I ran into Rozier. I haven't run into that many, especially since I was a kid on the farm. Since I started doing this I ran into Rozier and Johnny Rodgers. I've always wanted to meet Dave Humm because I'm a Raider fan. Raiders and Packers are my two favorite teams but I never got to run into him. I've become real good friends with Aaron Taylor and Scott Frost. I'm an investor in the restaurant. I donated a shirt and my guitar. I've got a Nebraska guitar that's custom made that's got a mural of Nebraska football. Every time I came to Lincoln I played that guitar on stage. I donated my sleeveless flannel from my multi-platinum DVD so they got all that so I became real good friends with those guys. I feel bad for Scott because Scott did not want to go coach for Kansas State. He's trying to get into coaching so that's who wanted him. I read on a couple of boards on your site a few people were hammering him for going to Kansas State but you can't fault the guy for trying to start a career in coaching.
I used to hang out with Mike Croel all the time. One of his best friends was one of my best friends.
Recently when I went to get my box at the stadium Steve Pederson was showing me around and, we're kind of neighbors, me and the coach, so I've met Coach Callahan a couple of times. He came down to say hi and brought me into the coaches room and every single coach was there at a big round table so I got to meet all the coaches. And then, waiting at the door was Zac Taylor and he said he was a huge fan of mine. It was unbelievable. I didn't know what to say. I was a big fan of his. I've got to tell you, just like I told Coach Callahan. I've been doing all this stuff and meeting all these people and the only time I get star struck is when I meet somebody from Nebraska. (Laughs) Zac and I kind of faced off. He's a huge fan of mine and he wanted to ask me for my autograph and I was wanting to get his. I was so star struck, it was almost like I was standing in front of John Wayne or something. It was pretty cool.
DM: I would like to invite you to come to our tailgate at a game this fall and say hi to our tailgaters. I'm sure they would love to meet you.
Larry: That would be awesome. I'm going to have to have you come up and say hi up in the suite.
DM: I would love that. Thank you for sharing your Husker memories with us.
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