Jeff Foxworthy

Active - 2003 - 2017  |   Born - Sep 6, 1958 in Atlanta, Georgia, United States  |   Genres - Comedy

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Biography by Nathan Southern

Many comics can be permanently tied to a trademark, from Rodney Dangerfield's "I don't get no respect" to Tim Allen's machismo-fueled grunting, but perhaps no stock phrase is more easily identifiable than that of schtickmeister Jeff Foxworthy. Foxworthy's slogan "You might be a redneck if..." endeared him to millions of American blue-collar types during the early to mid-'90s and served as a veritable staple of his approach to humor. Born in Atlanta, Foxworthy attended the Georgia Institute of Technology but dropped out prior to graduation and worked as an IBM technician during the early to mid-'80s, when he impetuously decided to enter an amateur standup contest. The then-nascent comedian won the competition -- an accomplishment that encouraged him to drop out of his IBM gig and step behind the microphone full-time.

Foxworthy's debut book, presciently entitled, You Might Be a Redneck If... hit stores in 1989, followed by a CD, which racked up an astonishing 3.5 million copies -- making it the single most lucrative comedy record up through that time. Successive albums followed, in addition to a blizzard of Foxworthy (and "redneck") themed merchandise that grossed several million dollars per year in its prime. Unfortunately, the comedian's transition to filmed entertainment was a somewhat bumpy one; a domestically themed sitcom, The Jeff Foxworthy Show, premiered on ABC in 1995 but folded after only two seasons. Foxworthy encountered far greater success by pooling the resources of several similar comedians into a "Blue Collar" comedy troupe that toured throughout the country. Comprised of Foxworthy, Bill Engvall, and Larry the Cable Guy, the ensemble turned out a series of standup films and scored high ratings with their own sketch comedy series, Blue Collar TV (2004), presented as a kind of "redneck variation" on Saturday Night Live. Foxworthy also found considerable success by hosting the game show Are You Smarter Than a 5th Grader? (2007).

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  • Worked at IBM for five years in Atlanta before winning the Great Southeastern Laugh-Off comedy competition in 1984.
  • Met his future wife the first time he appeared in a comedy club; married her in 1985 in New York's Central Park.
  • Inspired to begin his trademark "You might be a redneck if..." routine after seeing valet parking offered at a Detroit bowling alley.
  • Named "Best Stand-Up Comic" in 1990 at the American Comedy Awards.
  • Received his first Grammy nomination for his 1995 comedy album Games Rednecks Play.
  • Headlined his own sitcom, The Jeff Foxworthy Show, on ABC and NBC.
  • Has authored over 20 humor books (Hick Is Chic; Learning to Talk More Gooder Fastly) and children's books (Dirt on My Shirt; Hide!!!).
  • Appeared on the successful Blue Collar Comedy Tour with Bill Engvall, Larry the Cable Guy and Ron White.
  • Served as host of Are You Smarter Than a 5th Grader?