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Laughter so good it hurts

After the holiday season some people may be ready for a little laughter, the kind that brings tears to your eyes and makes your face hurt; the kind that will be brought to the Bob Hope Theatre on Jan. 26 featuring comedian Ron White. 

The comedian also known as “Tater Salad” has been doing stand-up comedy for 32 years and it all began when he stepped on the stage in 1986 for a four-minute set. Although he never had any dreams or aspirations that he would have such a successful career as a comedian, it worked out after all. 

“I was very, very, nervous and halfway through that four-minute set so, I get two minutes into it and I said to myself, ‘oh I’m a comedian,’” said White. “That is what I am. So I knew that the first time on stage that I would never stop doing it.”

Growing up in a small town in Texas, White did not really get exposure to the arts. He said he learned most of his skill from his uncle, Dr. Charles Pollard, who was a Baptist preacher.

“I loved to go to church when I was a kid and my uncle was the preacher,” added White. “I went to go live with them in the summer in Farmington, New Mexico. I just loved to watch him preach. He was very dynamic and amazing and interesting. So I know that is where I got this wicked pace, rhythm and timing thing by going out there and I learned that as a kid.”

He didn’t know then that what he was learning as a kid, watching his uncle on stage, would be extremely beneficial to his career when he got older. White was also a fan of all things comedy and would watch shows or listen to records from Monty Python, Andy Griffith, Cosby, Carlin, and Pryor to name a few. A bit later on Bill Hicks was a big influence to him, however, all the comics he said had some impact on who he is as a comedian today.

The Blue Collar Comedy tour really launched White’s comedy career which has led him to several specials on television, DVDs/CDs, writing books, creating a comedy benefit and acting roles on movies. There are no plans for a reunion tour, however, White is very grateful for the opportunity that he got to tour with Jeff Foxworthy, Bill Engvall and Larry the Cable Guy.

“We already did that. It was great and fun and great memories,” stated White. “It did for all of our careers what Jeff had already done for his own career. It was Jeff’s generosity to share a stage with his friends that made me who I am today.”

His fans matter a great deal to him and he gives them credit for putting him in a position financially where he can be extremely particular on the jobs that he accepts — whether it be saying no to a role, sitcom or not being a spokesperson for something that he does not believe in. This has also allowed him to stay true to his storytelling style of comedy that is not so family-friendly. 

You have probably never laughed as hard as I can make you laugh. I am really good at that. I beat crowds to death. It is a very physical thing. You will feel it in your face, in your stomach; it is good for you.
Ron White

“I do what I think is funny and put it on stage and I really give no thought to who might or might not like it because it has all worked so well so far,” expressed White. “I know that not everybody does like it and some people find it horribly offensive and I don’t find it offensive at all. But people are going to perceive things different ways and I just don’t listen to them.”

White is known to take the stage with a cigar or cigarette and a beverage. The beverage was once scotch but in the last few years he switched to tequila, Number Juan tequila, as a matter of fact. Number Juan tequila is his company and, according to White, it is exceptional.

As a huge supporter of the military, White created a comedy benefit for the troops in 2008 with proceeds going to the Armed Forces Foundation to assist injured soldiers and their families. PTSD is something that he takes very seriously; with friends that have family members who served in combat, he knows it is a very real thing and to this day would like people to be informed about the programs that are out there that can help.

But don’t take Tater Salad too seriously; although he has dabbled in several different things he could not see doing anything else but comedy. If you are looking for really clean comedy, then this is probably not the show for you. But if you are looking for funny stories told the Ron White way, grab your tickets and head to the January show at the Bob Hope. 

“I really still love doing stand-up,” said White. “I have done stand-up forever. That is what I am and that is who I am. It is so ingrained in me that I can’t even imagine ever stopping. You have probably never laughed as hard as I can make you laugh. I am really good at that. I beat crowds to death. It is a very physical thing. You will feel it in your face, in your stomach; it is good for you.”