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Q&A: Ron White

Ron White, who first rose to fame as the cigar-smoking, scotch-drinking funnyman from the Blue Collar Comedy Tour phenomenon, has come a long way since selling windows in Arlington, Texas.

Donna Leahey
November 28, 2019

Ron White is a comedy icon. His dapper suit, his signature tumbler of golden scotch in one hand, fat cigar in the other, that friendly grin, and those eyes twinkling with glee and a promise of a great story. A story, like that time he got arrested in Des Moines, Iowa. Or the time his wife didn’t want to pick up the poop left by White’s bulldog, Sluggo, and left little teepees of tissue all over the floor. Or when a New York City cop asked if he was Ron “Tater Salad” White.

White’s a man who seems like he would have been at home hanging with the Rat Pack but still fit in with the blue jeans and overall-wearing comics on the Blue Collar Comedy Tour. White has four No. 1 Billboard comedy albums under his belt and two Grammy nominations. Between his solo albums and his albums with the Blue Collar Comedy Tour, White has sold 14 million comedy albums. His charm, quick wit, and natural storytelling talent has made him consistently one of the top-grossing stand-up comedians touring in America and gained him a name as an actor with credits on the big and the small screens.

White has always been a storyteller, relaying stories from the time he was a boy growing up in a small town in the middle of Texas oil country to selling windows for a living in Arlington to performing in sold-out theaters and arenas as a headlining comedian all across the country. For two decades, he lived the life of a struggling comedian, bouncing around comedy clubs and driving to gigs in his beat-up Nissan pickup truck, to becoming a successful middle act club comic.

White is a famously private man, sharing only what he chooses. He has shared that he began dreaming of being a comedian from a young age while growing up in Fritch, Texas, but he took the long route there. White served in the Navy near the end of the Vietnam War and spent a few years living in Mexico before returning to the U.S. to start his career in comedy. His relatable, intelligent routines had him opening for Sam Kinison, among others.

In 2000, Jeff Foxworthy invited White to join the Blue Collar Comedy Tour with Bill Engvall, and Larry the Cable Guy. The show toured for an impressive three years, selling out shows in over 270 venues. Warner Bros. filmed the tour and Blue Collar Comedy Tour: The Movie was released in 2003, later premiering on Comedy Central as the highest rated movie in the channel’s history.

White released his first comedy album, Drunk in Public, in 2003, and followed it with a one-hour TV comedy special, They Call Me Tater Salad. In 2004, Drunk in Public hit No. 1 on the Billboard comedy chart. White followed up his success with a second comedy special, You Can’t Fix Stupid, in 2006. The CD of the special earned White his first Grammy nomination.

White’s first book, I Had the Right to Remain Silent… But I Didn’t Have the Ability, was released in 2006, establishing White as a New York Times bestselling author.

White followed up on that success by trying his hand at acting. He’s appeared in Horrible Bosses and Sex and the City 2, as well as on TV in Cameron Crowe’s Showtime series Roadies.

If a successful career as a comedian were all there was to White, that would be plenty. He’s a hilarious man. But he’s also an entrepreneur, establishing Number Juan Tequila with his friend and fellow comedian Alex Reymundo. Rumor has it that recently, White’s signature scotch has been replaced with his own brand of high-quality tequila. The line includes a crystal-clear blanco tequila, a caramel-colored reposado tequila, and a rich, golden extra Anejo tequila.

White is a dedicated supporter of our troops, donating not just money, but time to causes. His comedy benefit, Ron White’s Comedy Salute to the Troops, donates to the Armed Forces Foundation to aid injured troops and their families. Previous shows have been at the Grand Ole Opry in Nashville, Tennessee, and the Mirage Hotel in Las Vegas.

Ron White
Paradise Cove | River Spirit Casino Resort
8330 Riverside Parkway | Tulsa
Dec. 31: 8 p.m.
Must be 21 or older to attend