Conversation with Larry the Cable Guy
Larry the Cable Guy's tell-it-like-he-sees-it style of comedy can come across as offensive. But it's also refreshing in an age of hyper-political correctness. After gaining national acclaim as a member of the Blue Collar Comedy Tour, he reached a whole new audience as the voice of Mater, the tow truck, in Disney’s animated hit Cars. He continues to make movies he says he knows won't receive critical praise but are just fun to do. The Cable Guy sets up shop here March 22.
When you were a kid, what did you see yourself doing?
Strip-O-Grams for blind people! No, all I ever wanted to do honestly was dance. I was going to do Dancing with the Stars, but I threw my back out. I said if you want to do a Sleeping with the Stars, let me know. No, really, I never knew I was gonna be a comedian. I was always a funny kid. I got dared to go on stage one night and I came so close to not doing it. I finally did it and I'm glad I did. I love making people laugh.
Are you smarter than a fifth-grader?
I wasn't smarter than a fifth-grader when I was in fifth grade. I got put back so many times I actually drove some of the fifth-graders to school!
Is there a comedian who has inspired you?
Bill Clinton! No, I'm a fan of the old-timers, the old vaudeville guys. I'm a big Steve Martin fan, and Henny Youngman. Don Rickles. I love Rickles. I kind of developed a style that integrates every one of those guys together. On the country side, I grew up watching Hee Haw and Junior Samples.
You were in Charlotte for the Cars premiere. What was it like working on a kids movie?
I loved doing Cars and I will do those projects all day long if they give me those chances. My stage act is not for kids. I'm not dirty, but I'm not [Jeff] Foxworthy either. People get irritated, but I like doing stuff for kids or adults. I'm not an idiot. I'll look at the crowd and if there are a lot of kids, I won't do certain jokes. I'm a parent myself.
Has being a parent changed your routine?
It's given me a lot of material. You learn a lot. My little boy looks like me. My little girl looks like Phil Collins—honest to God.
Your latest film, Witless Protection, hit theaters in February. Did you ever think you'd be making movies?
Never in a million years. My first love is stand-up, but [making movies] is fun! I put out movies that are funny to me that get panned by critics all over the country. I just want to put out good, funny movies that are entertaining. You sit down for an hour and a half and you laugh. I want to do a romantic comedy. I've lost fifty pounds on NutriSystem.
Yeah, that's like seven Nicole Richies. I want to do a romantic comedy called Sleeveless in Seattle. I ballooned up to 280 pounds and [I was] huge. It makes Witless Protection even funnier. But now, I'm like Brad Pitt with different facial features.