'Redneck' comic doesn't get blue

THE BALTIMORE SUN

When Jeff Foxworthy, the self-described "redneck comic," hits the stage at the Warner Theatre tonight, the Clintons need not worry. Although few comedians can resist the urge to focus on the Southern-born president, the kinder, gentler Foxworthy resists mean-spirited jabs.

"You might just see a refrigerator sitting on the White House porch some day."

That's about the most insulting this Atlanta-born comic gets in his act. Avoiding blue material has made Mr. Foxworthy a popular standby on "The Tonight Show" and "Showtime." His family-style jokes with a Southern flair have also recently caught the attention of ABC, which inked a sitcom development deal with the 35-year-old funnyman.

"They say you learn more from children than they learn from you. I just learned you can get a goldfish out of the aquarium with a Dustbuster."

Ten years ago Mr. Foxworthy was "the funny guy at the water cooler." He abandoned his $30,000-a-year job as an engineer at IBM to hit the comedy circuit. His new wife, Pamell Gregg, quit her acting ambitions to support him by working a public relations job (he was averaging only $20 a night on the road).

Somehow, Mr. Foxworthy found the time to publish a book, "You Might Be A Redneck If . . ." (now in its 15th printing), followed by four more books with such sophisticated titles as, "Red Ain't Dead" and "Check Your Neck."

But it was music that put Jeff Foxworthy on the comedy map. His CD, "You Might be a Redneck If . . ." went platinum in January, making it the biggest selling comedy album since Eddie Murphy's album 11 years ago. Here's a sample of the lyrics from "You Might Be a Redneck If . . .":

. . . you've ever been too drunk to fish.

. . . you wear a dress that is strapless with a bra that isn't.

. . . you ever financed a tattoo.

. . . you smoked during your wedding.

. . . you've ever mowed your lawn and found a car.

. . . you go to a family reunion to meet women.

The 1993 Warner Brothers single, "Redneck Stomp," became a hot bootleg item when DJs around the country added a hip-hop heat to the simple country song. Foxworthy liked the new sound and shot a video which soon landed on TNN and VH1.

Foxworthy now sells out 2,500-5,000 seat halls and has a slew of agents and managers to handle his career. Although he sometimes feels "spread a little thin," he has to admit, "who's kiddin' who, it's a great problem to have."

He also has more time now to spend with his wife and two small daughters. The Foxworthy family has made the inevitable move from Atlanta to the tonier Beverly Hills.

You might say he's a real Beverly Hillbilly.

Jeff Foxworthy

When: Tonight, 7:30 and 10:30

Where: Warner Theatre

Tickets: $19.50-$23.50

Call: (202) 628-1818

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