Category Archives: Southern Comedians

Etta May

Arkansas may be better known for hog-hollerin’ contests and a president then comedy but the excitement is pretty much the same when Etta May takes the stage. Clad in a floral blouse and polyester pants, sporting a print bandanna and pointy glasses, she may remind you of the lunch lady from your old school or your deranged Uncle Zeke in drag. But make no mistake Etta May is for real.

A veritable steamroller of southern sass, she has made audiences howl with laughter from Arkansas to Wyoming.

Born in the sprawling metropolis of Bald Knob, Arkansas, Etta May grew up alongside nine brothers, who referred to their only sister as “the human sacrifice”. In fact, Etta’s parents — her father a potpourri farmer, her mother bedridden by constant childbearing –did not realize Etta was a girl until she required a training bra.

Audiences may already be familiar with Etta from her weekly syndicated radio show called Ask Etta, an advice column carried by over 200 country radio stations in the United States and Canada. Fans of the show write in and Etta May proceeds to give them straight from the hip, no nonsense guidance on life’s little worries, in a way that only Etta can.

Her fan club of over 40,000 Etta Heads, as she calls them, started growing from appearances on such hit shows as Oprah Winfrey, Showtime’s Aspen Comedy Festival, Arsenio Hall and several Comic Strip Live appearances, just to name a few. Her uproarious performance on The Comedy Store’s 15th Anniversary Special, broadcast in prime time on NBC, nearly upstaged such seasoned pros as Robin Williams and Richard Pryor, but then again, even comedy legends move aside when Etta May takes the stage.

“Everything went great. Etta May was hilarious, it all worked out fine.” – Corey Cecil, Bluegrass Regional Mental Health/Mental Retardation Board, Inc.

Jeff Foxworthy

At over 8 Million copies, Jeff Foxworthy has sold more comedy albums that any other comedian– that’s more than Bill Cosby, Steve Martin and Eddie Murphy. Both of his stand-up comedy albums, You Might Be A Redneck If… and Games Rednecks Play, have attained triple platinum status. No other comedian in the history of the recording industry has had an album go triple platinum, much less two. His new album, Totally Committed, shipped GOLD!

Jeff has just completed his third standup comedy special debuting May 16th on HBO. His network television series, The Jeff Foxworthy Show, ran for two and garnered Jeff a People’s Choice Award. He is a favorite on The Tonight Show and The Late Show with David Letterman. He’s won TNN’s Comedian of the Year three years running.

Jeff’s book, No Shirt, No Shoes, No Problem spent over two months on The New York Times Bestseller List and has sold more than 600,000 copies in hardcover and paperback. His cartoon books have sold over 3 million copies and his annual calendars are well over 1 .5 million.

Leanne Morgan

Leanne Morgan is a University of Tennessee graduate and exudes southern charm. She is Scarlet O’Hara turned soccer mom. With her June Cleaver looks and plantation accent, she has quickly gained popularity in the comedy world. She was a finalist at the Las Vegas Comedy Festival and was featured on ABC’s “The View” in their hilarious housewives segment. Leanne now lives in Knoxville, TN with her three beautiful children, her anal-retentive conservative Republican husband, and a Daschund named “Puddin”…Leanne exemplifies the “old south”.

Jon Reep

Does my face look familiar? Maybe you’ve seen me on NBC’s “Last Comic Standing”, Comedy Central’s “Premium Blend” or the half-hour special “Comedy Central Presents: Jon Reep”. Maybe you’ve seen me on TBS’s “Pit Stop Comedy“, NBC’s “Late Friday”, or the ABC Sitcom “Rodney” as Officer Gerald Bob the dim-witted cop. If not then you probably know me from Dodge’s popular ad campaign as the “Hemi guy”.

I’m known to millions as the redheaded hillbilly in the Dodge Ram commercials who leans out of a beat-up car and utters the now famous line: “That thing gotta Hemi?”

But before that I was already one of the hardest working comics in America, selling out clubs and getting standing ovations at college after college across the country. My show is supersonic energy filled with non-stop characters, super clever writing, and, of course, the one talent that separates me from all other comedians in the world: I’m the best redneck dancer since Elvis.

Also, look for me next year in the film, “Harold & Kumar go to Amsterdam”. I play a huge redneck named Raymus. Shocker!!!

Chris Bliss

A fresh and captivating new voice in American satire, Chris Bliss delivers smart comedy for the information age. Now a Tonight Show favorite, Jay Leno has called him “one of the brightest comedians around.”

Before beginning his comedy career, Chris was internationally known as an innovative variety artist – touring with major artists from Eric Clapton to Julio Iglesias, and chosen by Michael Jackson as the opening act for his record-breaking “Victory Tour”.

Rick Overton

Rick Overton has been doing standup comedy since before there were lockable steering columns on cars. Seriously. Rick believes that Comedy shares it’s roots with Country Western and The Blues because they’re all just complaining to a rhythm.

When not doing standup comedy, Rick can be seen on local dog park paths getting to visit all the dogs he wants without having to actually own or pay for any of them. Win-win.

Rick can currently be seen in Stephen Soderberg’s THE INFORMANT starring Matt Damon. He’s also Pam’s Dad on THE OFFICE in the Wedding Episodes. Yay for On Demand! Someone got something right somewhere. And he has a recuring role on TNT’s LEVERAGE as an FBI agent, along with Gerry Downey.

Rick’s philosophy on life is – “One cannot achieve true happiness without Serotonin”

Vic Henley

Using his Southern “good ole’ boy” persona to first charm his audience, Vic Henley wins them over entirely with his well-crafted humor. His improvisational ability, quick wit, and high energy have earned him the reputation as one of the country’s fastest rising comedians. His appearance has been described as “as cross between Opie Taylor and Don Rickles, or a potent concoction of innocence and devilment.” This may explain why Henley can turn perfectly reasonable adults into guffawing idiots when he struts across the stage.

Henley’s show cover a variety of topics including current events, sports, religion, relationships, and politics. This explains how he is able to entertain diverse audiences all over the world as evidence by his appearances at Montreal’s Just for Laughs Comedy Festival and Edinburgh, Scotland’s Fringe Festival. Scotland on Sunday says, This stand-up from America’s Deep South is giving rednecks a good name with his sharp, political material and a pleasing audience rapport.

London’s Sunday Times quotes, “There’s something about his smooth southern drawl and beaming face that makes everything sound like a little message of love. Bless his heart.”

A native of Oxford, Alabama, Henley graduated from Auburn University and headed to Phoenix for a career as a stockbroker. His attention turned from finance to funnies when he entered and won a comedy contest at a local nightclub. He began working the comedy club circuit and eventually moved to New York, which led to his first television appearance on the CBS Morning Program. From there, he had numerous appearances on Star Search, Fox’s Comic Strip Live, A & E ‘s Evening at the Improv, Caroline’s Comedy Hour, and Stand-up Spotlight with Rosie 0’Donnell.

He’s traveled to the UK and appeared on the BBC’s Stand-up Show and Never Mind the Buzzcocks, along with being the only American comedian to appear on their huge hit, They Think It’s All Over.

Other credits include: BBC Scotland’s Edinburgh Nights, Channel 5’s The Comedy Store, Showtime’s Comedy Club Network, MTV’s Funny Papers, USA Network’s Night Flight, and Lifetime’s Way Off Broadway with Joy Behar.

Steve McGrew

Since joining KYGO 98.5FM’s morning show in Denver, Colorado, two years ago, Steve McGrew (aka “Mudflap”) along with co-presenters Kelly Ford and Jonathan Wilde, has really made his mark on radio: – CMA Broadcast Personalities Of The Year 2002; Radio & Record Magazine’s award for Best Morning Personalities; ACM award for Best Morning Show; they have recently been nominated as Large Market Personality of The Year in 2004 NAB Marconi Radio Awards.

Steve comes from an unconventional background. He was a cartoonist for the Houston Chronicles but knew early on that comedy was in his blood and would manifest itself in one way or another. He found that drawing cartoons was not nearly expressive enough for his exuberent personality and ventured onto the stage at an amatuer night in a Houston comedy club in 1979…”So I went up and made fun of my ex-wife. That was easy.” He soon became a fixture at Houston’s Comedy Workshop where Sam Kinison and Bill Hicks launched their careers.

He is a veteran of virtually every cable comedy show, including A&E’s Evening at the Improv, Nashville Network’s Crook and Chase, Showtime’s Comedy Club Network and Comedy All Stars, Caroline’s Comedy Hour, TNN’s Nashville Now, Music City Tonight and Funny Business, Comedy on the Road from London, VH-1’s Stand-Up, Stand-Up and MTV’s Half Hour Comedy Show. A Star Search semi-finalist, Steve’s fast paced, unconventional style also earned him a spot on the Showtime Special Full Frontal Comedy.

Having lived on the road since 1986, Steve has opened for many singing performers and comedy acts, including Dolly Parton, Billy Crystal, The Beach Boys, B.B. King, Billy Ocean, Chicago and Huey Lewis. While observing that performing Stand-Up comedy is considerably less expensive than therapy, three-time-divorced Steve bases his show on everyday life. “I’m very politically incorrect. For example, a stewardess’s butt should be smaller than the aisle. We have rules, and that’s one that should be followed…”

In the last few years, Steve has worked in the UK on many occasions. He has made numerous club appearances and television credits including Des O’Conner Tonight ITV Network and Live At Jongleurs for both ITV Network and UK Gold. He recorded his own one hour Comedy Special which premiered on Boxing Day ’99 on UK Gold. Most recently, he appeared on The World Stands Up which airs in The UK & Eire (Paramount), Australia (Comedy Channel) and the USA (Comedy Central).

Described as a “Redneck on acid” by Newsweek Magazine, Steve signed a major devlopment deal with Disney to create a sitcom based around his stage persona. Following his much acclaimed debut at the Montreal Comedy Festival where he appeared on one of the televised Just For Laughs Galas, he headlined an extensive Just For Laughs tour of Canada the following year.

“Hundreds of comedians have passed through Huntsville in the past 20 years, but none is more original time after time than Steve McGrew. He can make your sides split and eyes tear up for hours on end. And his show seems new each time.” The Huntsville Times
“Loud, funny and surprisingly insightful”. The Chicago Sunday Times
“Steve is what comedy should be. Funny”. The Rocky Mountain Times
“Killer”. Jerry Lee Lewis.”Steve’s performance was fantastic. Our audience could not stop talking about it.” Kenneth A. Tatsch, President, United States Dog Agility Association, Inc.

Steve McGrew -Hurricanes

Bill Engvall

Sharing the humor in everyday situations which people relate to has made Bill Engvall one of the country’s top comedians.

Bill Engvall’s latest CD, Dorkfish was ranked #1 on Billboard’s Comedy Chart, surpassing Jerry Seinfeld’s album. Bill has also just come out with a new single and video entitled Hollywood Indian Guide, which is guaranteed to become a favorite on radio stations and television.

“Anyone who liked Bill Engvall’s previous album Here’s Your Sign will enjoy Dorkfish. Bill says, “The material is more playful and relatable and I take more chances on this album, but it still remains clean and family oriented.” In case you are wondering, a Dorkfish is a prehistoric porpoise with a huge overbite.

Engvall’s comedy encompasses a wide range of topics that include kids, family life and animals. But it was Bill’s Here’s Your Sign signature routine that garnered him national attention and the one audiences remember and come back for again and again. The album was #1 on the Billboard Comedy Chart for 15 straight weeks, peaked at #5 on Billboard’s Current Country Album Chart, 17 weeks in the Country Album Top 10 and reached the Top 50 on Billboard’s Top 200 Album Chart.

Collaborating with country artist Travis Tritt on a video also entitled Here’s Your Sign , Bill Engvall became a fixture on the playlists of CMT and TNN while the single of the same name became the most requested single on country radio. The album Here’s Your Sign was certified Gold within the year of its release and continues to climb the charts.

Bill Engvall also won the Best Seller Comedy Album award at the 1997 NARM convention, outselling albums by Chris Rock and Adam SandIer. Bill’s humor has extended into the world books with the publication of You Don’t Have To Be Dumb To Be Stupid.

A native of Galveston, Texas, Bill Engvall moved to Dallas and was working as a disc jockey at a nightclub when he decided to try his hand at stand-up comedy. Though he originally planned to be a teacher, Bill soon found that making people laugh was truly his forte. Engvall then made the move to Los Angeles to pursue film and television opportunities.

Starting with the Showtime special, A Pair of Jokers with Rosie O’Donnell. Bill Engvall has hosted A&E’s Evening at the lmprov and made several appearances on The Tonight Show as well as Late Show with David Letterman. In 1992 Bill won the American Comedy Award for Best Male Stand-up Comedian. After appearing in episodes of Designing Women and Golden Palace, Engvall went on to portray Buck Overton on the ABC sitcom Delta starring Delta Burke, thus solidifying his status as a sought-after comic actor. This was followed by a co-starring role on NBC’s The Jeff Foxworthy Show.

Though he loves television roles, Engvall says he would never give, up performing live, “When you’re doing stand-up live, you achieve an intimacy with the audience you can’t get on TV,” he says. “There’s not a better feeling in the world then when you look out and see the audience is identifying with you. There are enough problems in everyday life. If you come to my show for an hour and just enjoy life again, then I’ve done my job.”

Jeffrey Jena

When asked “what is the meaning of life?” Jeffrey Jena responds, “Nobody knows..

But–life is always referable to the alternative.
Other unanswerable questions like, “Is there life after death?” and “Is there a God?” are fielded with equal comic aplomb by Jena. “I have my own philosophy about life: I think; therefore, I am what I am; it’s sort of a Descartes-Popeye philosophy,” he proudly explains.

In his youth, Jeffrey was known as the class clown. “But,” he says, “when you grow up in a small Mid-western town ‘comedian’ is not an option they present to you on career day.” So he went to college and got a Masters degree in Education. This, plus his askew but well-informed perspective, served him well during his years as a teacher in Australia, Thailand, Japan, Italy, and inner-city Houston, Texas. It was in Houston, while teaching junior high school math & science that Jena’s comic persona ripened and he devised his E=M+$40.00 equation; meaning your Expenses equal your Money plus the extra $40.00 you always need but never have. He began performing at the Comedy Annex, honing his skills along with other talents like the late Bill Hicks and Sam Kinison. He then moved on to Chicago to study improvisational comedy with the legendary Del Close of Second City.

During the next decade on the comedy circuit, audiences continued to respond positively to Jeffrey’s thought-provoking humor and rapid-fire delivery that is reminiscent of his personal hero, George Carlin. He also acquired a reputation for having sharp social and political observations. Though he shies away from being labeled a ‘political’ comic, Jena-a Libertarian–is often quoted in the media at election times and has commentated on the Conventions for a number of radio stations.

Jeffrey’s journey up through the comedy ranks has been filled with good fortune. When he’s not headlining on the road two weeks out of every month, he performs regularly for corporate audiences, lends his services to numerous charity events, and adds to his growing list of radio and television appearances that include “The Jenny McCarthy Show,” “Evening At The Improv,” “NBC’s Friday Night,” and HBO’s “Short Attention Span Theatre.”

Jeffrey is an avid golfer (he boasts a 6 handicap) and a runner. He is also a newly-wed who notes that he found himself “suddenly out of the planning loop” for the Big Day when his wife asked what kind of cake he thought they should have. “Honey, I like pie. Couldn’t we have a huge wedding pie?”

Jeffrey has a seasoned, relaxed attitude about stand-up after 17 years. “Performing is the easy part…finding good material is the hard part. You have to be like a shark, always looking for food.” During the last couple of years, clubs around the country have hosted Jeffrey’s one-man show, “Grounded Forever.” The performance piece draws humorous observations from his seven years of teaching and 40 years of living. Like many experienced comics, Jeffrey has made some inroads into television and film and is currently developing a sitcom for a female comedian and himself.

Watching him on stage, it’s clear that he loves live performance. “I’ll never stop doing it, “says Jena. “It’s a real high. I keep thinking of that line in that movie about Patton with George C. Scott, where he’s standing on the battlefield and thinking about the war coming to an end and he says “God help me, I love it so!” Then Jeffrey laughs at the image. “I have a job just like anybody else has a job. And when I go home at night, I take out the garbage, pet the cat, and go to bed.

Shout Out to Jeff Jena for his performance for the Durham N.C. GOP Fundraiser. The client was extremely laudatory and said things like, “The best entertainment ever.”