With a look, attitude, and signature catchphrase as memorable to some as they were repellant to others, standup comic Larry the Cable Guy hit it big in the early 2000s by taking advantage of the red state/blue state culture wars of the time. As the decade lumbered on, the comedian -- like so many before him -- took advantage of his popularity on the live circuit to make inroads into film and television.
The man who added the catchphrases "Git-R-Done" and "Lord, I Apologize" to the American lexicon claims he was born in the back of an El Camino during a Foghat concert, but was actually born Dan Whitney in Pawnee City, NE. His upbringing was conservative, traditional, and churchgoing, but that didn't mean that strip bars were out of the question when Larry reached 18 (maybe even a little earlier). Fascinated by this redneck life -- "redneck" being a term he is not only fine with, but endorses -- and always looking to comment on it, Larry used his humorous observations to captivate his friends, who dared him to try his hand at standup. He did in 1986 and the fans' reaction to his slow, approachable style had him hooked. Two years later, he relinquished his title as funniest bellhop at the Ramada Inn and set out for a career in comedy.
His one-liner-filled act soon caught word-of-mouth fire in the South and brought him to the attention of television. Appearances on An Evening at the Improv and Comic Strip Live increased his fan base past rural America, but it was on the nationally syndicated Bob and Tom Show on radio that Larry got the most exposure. His success with radio continued when he became a regular on Jeff Foxworthy's country countdown show, The Foxworthy Countdown, and Larry soon started syndicating his "commentaries" to 14 markets across the country. In 2000, Foxworthy invited the comic to join his Blue Collar Comedy Tour, along with Bill Engvall. The successful tour grossed 15 million dollars, sold more than one million copies when released on DVD, and turned Larry into a superstar. His debut CD, Lord, I Apologize, appeared in 2001 and became the Dark Side of the Moon of the comedy charts -- sticking in the Top 20 for two years running.
In 2002, a Comedy Central airing of Blue Collar Comedy Tour: The Movie became the network's highest-rated movie in its 12-year history, even with the DVD widely available. Larry the Cable Guy: Git-R-Done became his first solo DVD in 2003, and a year later Larry, Foxworthy, and Engvall turned their tour into the highly rated television show Blue Collar TV. Wearing his redneckness as a badge of honor while hating political correctness and racism equally made Larry a hard target for detractors.
The year 2006 was devoted mostly to film, with Larry starring in his own feature film, Larry the Cable Guy: Health Inspector, and supplying the voice of Mater in the animated Disney/Pixar film Cars. The former stalled at the box office as the latter, predictably, became one of the biggest hits of the year. He also appeared on the CD and DVD Blue Collar Comedy Tour: One for the Road that year, before trying his hand once again at headlining a film with the Iraq comedy Delta Farce.