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Jeff Foxworthy, a self-proclaimed hick from Georgia, is fast becoming one of the most successful comedians of our time, thanks to his hilariously genius take on all things red, white and blue collar. And while it may be true that he drives a big ol' truck, wears white socks and prefers Tupperware to porcelain, there's nothing dim-witted or hokey about this master comedian's career. Since quitting his day job 14 years ago to pursue standup, Foxworthy has become the largest-selling comedy recording artist in history, a multiple Grammy Award nominee and a best-selling author of 11 books. He's a regular guest on The Tonight Show and Late Show With David Letterman, he's got an HBO and two Showtime specials to his credit, and, he's gleaned numerous awards, including a People's Choice Award as favorite male newcomer. Blue Collar Comedy Tour: The Movie, a feature film based on Foxworthy's highly successful comedy tour was released in 2003. Along with co-headliner Bill Engvall, the tour featured special guests Ron White and Larry the Cable Guy and became the highest-rated movie in the history of Comedy Central. In addition, The Foxworthy Countdown, a weekly syndicated three-hour radio show featuring Foxworthy, brings fans the current Top 25 country hits, as well as interviews with stars. The show is carried in over 220 markets across the United States. Today, Foxworthy's brand of humor goes well beyond the blue collar genre to explore the humor in everyday family interactions and human nature, with a style that has been compared to that of the great humorist Mark Twain.
Away from the stage, Foxworthy is an active supporter of the Duke University Children's Hospital in Durham, North Carolina and is the Honorary Chairman of the Duke Children's Classic Golf Tournament. With Foxworthy's help, the hospital, which specializes in treating children with cancer, has raised over $3 million in the last three years. A native of Atlanta, Georgia, Foxworthy remains true to his southern roots and resides with his wife and two daughters in Georgia.
Jeff Foxworthy Talks About "Racing Stripes"
Jeff Foxworthy lends his voice to Reggie the Rooster in "Racing Stripes," a comedy about a little zebra who has big dreams and the barnyard animals who help him achieve his goals.
"Racing Stripes" marks the first time Jeff Foxworthy, the largest selling comedy recording artist in history, has done voice work in a feature film.
INTERVIEW WITH JEFF FOXWORTHY ('Reggie'):
How did you prepare to play a rooster?
(Laughing) You really can’t prepare for it. You know what? The first time I went in there [to do the voice] - I mean, I really liked the script when I read it and I went in and they had it storyboarded and so I kind of had an idea in my head what he would be like. I read it that way and then they went away and filmed it. He’s really kind of a Nervous Nelly. He’s more nervous than I thought so when I read it the second time, it was a little different. He’s kind of like me onstage. The more excited he gets, the higher his voice goes (laughing). He’s got a little bit of a Barney Fife quality to him.
It was a very, very fun thing to do. My kids have been nagging me for years because I would tell them, “I know ‘SpongeBob’” or “I know David Spade. We worked together.” They were like, “Why don’t you do one?” So I finally put in for it and I would love to do this again. It was an absolute gas.
Did you have anything to look at for reference as you were doing your voice work?
No. Well, like the last few times you go through they have film clips and you try to match it up. But for the first several sessions, it’s just you. I think as a comic it was fun because right from the start Frederik [Du Chau], the director, said you can’t be too big. And as a comic, you kind of learn to use your voice because you don’t have the benefit of visual things. And so as an actor, there was that freedom of not having to worry about lights or marks or other people. It was just going out there and having fun with the character.
Did you work with any of the other voice cast in the studio?
No, I have not seen anybody from the movie. I haven’t even seen the movie. I had a chance to but my kids wanted me to wait and see it with them, so this is kind of fun.
Did you study roosters at all?
Well, you know, I kind of grew up the redneck way so I’ve been around roosters (laughing). But most of them are meaner than Reggie. Reggie’s got a little bit of a sweetheart to him. He wants everybody to get along.
What do you think about releasing "Racing Stripes" the same weekend as "Elektra?" Are you worried it might get lost at the box office?
You know what? Being somebody who’s kids are very important to me, I think when you get a story that the whole family can see, and I think that the thing about this and the thing that attracted me to the script was it had heart to it. It seems like through history movies that have heart to them always do well, and they find their audience. I think that will be the case with this.
Speaking American: a diverse language by Jeff Foxworthy
There are many ways to speak American, and journalist Robert MacNeil has become fluent in many of them.
MacNeil spent months talking with people from all walks of life, as well as language experts across the United States. The result is the PBS three-hour documentary (7-10 tonight, Channel 8) "Do You Speak American?" — a combination road trip and travelogue with a look at the state of the American language today.
MacNeil surveys how American English is changing, and how surfers, Hollywood, immigrants, CB radio users, and instant messaging influence the words we use. He also explores how regional dialects reflect local cultural identities as well as the conclusions people draw about Americans from how they speak.
Adding a bit of levity about language is comedian Jeff Foxworthy, who talks with MacNeil about the differences between Northern- and Southern-accented speech.
Some of the most intelligent people he's ever known talk the way he does, Foxworthy says in the program, but Southern accents aren't readily accepted by all. One of his favorite jokes is that "nobody wants to hear their brain surgeon say, 'Al'ight now. What we're gonna do is, saw the top of your head off, root around in there with a stick and see if we can't find that dadburn clot.' "
The documentary looks at the influence of Spanish on American English. MacNeil visits the Texas town of El Cenizo, which made Spanish its official language, and he talks with Allan Wall, a language teacher who lives in Mexico and is an advocate of making English the official language of the United States.
In California, MacNeil talks with linguist Carmen Fought about Chicano English, a "street talk" spoken in Los Angeles.
"I don't think that Spanish is a threat to English in any way. I think if anything, it's Spanish that is in danger," Fought said.
Also in California, performer Steve Harvey talks about the black American dialect, observing: "I speak good enough American. I don't think there's any one set way, because America's so diverse."
But, Harvey says, "you do have to be bilingual in this country. And that means you can be very adept at slang, but you have to be adept at getting through a job interview."
The new ''Blue Collar Comedy Tour'' starring Jeff Foxworthy is hilarious
This new sketch comedy show, a franchise of the Blue Collar Comedy Tour movie starring comedians Jeff Foxworthy, Bill Engvall, Ron White, and Larry the Cable Guy, was roundly panned by critics when it premiered on the WB in August. It's also one of the season's few breakout hits, and the network quickly expanded its original scant eight-episode order to a full 22.
Executive producers Fax Bahr and Adam Small are best known for creating the long-running Fox comedy MADtv, and Blue Collar TV sometimes suffers from similar misfires of horrible taste. But also like MADtv, when it's on target — like in last week's bit imagining The Apprentice with Larry the Cable Guy instead of Donald Trump — it's hilarious.
There's also something especially impressive about those who make you laugh even when they come from a completely different world. My favorite Blue Collar Comedy Tour standup is Ron White, who unlike the other three is not a regular on the TV show, although he does guest star occasionally. I hadn't expected to appreciate this guy from a small town in Texas, whose "Drunk In Public" schtick involves never appearing onstage without a glass of Scotch and a cigarette. But for some reason, I really relate to his line about being thrown out of a bar and tangling with a policeman on the sidewalk: "I had the right to remain silent, but not the ability."
I also like the way the Blue Collar guys manage to tick off sensitive souls even when they're not on stage. Larry the Cable Guy got in big trouble the other week with American Idol fans after he appeared on The View and made a joke about being on the Clay Aiken diet: "That's where you pop in a Clay Aiken CD and try to keep food down." And I heard a little tsk-tsking from a feminist colleague at the Blue Collar TV press conference this summer, after someone jokingly asked Larry what it's like being a sex symbol. "There was a girl beatin' on your door last night at four in the morning," noted Foxworthy. "Yeah," said Larry, "but I got up and let her out."