Only a handful of people in the world have accumulated a net worth of $100 million from comedy. Even fewer have done it without conforming to the standards of Hollywood, and fewer still have stuck to their roots after gaining fame, refusing to compromise their authenticity for fame and success. Only one man has done all this, broken a man’s arm while arm wrestling, made a redneck persona appealing at the height of political correctness, and remained relevant enough to earn a living from a handful of shows a year.

Despite enjoying all this success, Larry the Cable Guy is rarely in the public eye, and his tours, appearances, and performances are rarely publicized to people beyond his target market. Larry’s laid-back lifestyle, deliberate distance from Hollywood, and reduced appearances on television have him barely making any headlines, leaving fans wondering what happened to him. Here is an update on what he’s been up to since his days on television.

Larry, the Southern Redneck

60-year-old Daniel Lawrence Whitney is popularly known as Larry the Cable Guy, a trope he created for his stand-up comedy. Larry grew up in Pawnee City, Nebraska, and his midwestern upbringing influenced the trope that catapulted him to fame, and made him a multi-millionaire. Larry is the stereotypical redneck, who works in the trades as the cable guy, has the quintessential redneck ragged look, and favors a cap, sleeveless shirts, and jeans as his typical look. Whitney completes the persona with an exaggerated Southern accent, and stereotypical catchphrases.

Larry the Cable Guy first went public on a radio show, on which he pretended to be an actual cable guy. When the audience loved the character, Larry started appearing in stand-up comedy shows, sharing his opinions about events that were happening in the United States at the time through the eyes of the typical redneck with a trade job, who was known for his catchphrase “Git ‘er done.” As the persona’s fame grew, Larry expanded his performances beyond stand-up comedy and penetrated several entertainment niches.

Multiple Niches

Whitney leveraged the fame from his Larry the Cable Guy trope early on in his career. Following the character’s success on radio, Whitney partnered with Jeff Foxworthy, Bill Engvall and Ron White on the “Blue Collar Comedy Tour”, by the end of which people across the cities they toured knew and loved Larry the Cable Guy, and were looking forward to hearing more of his humourous patter. Whitney didn’t disappoint  – he immediately went to work starring in a series of comedies that were recorded, making it easier for his fans to keep up with his work. One of the most popular big-screen comedies he did was “The Right to Bare Arms,” which was recorded at a live performance in Houston, Texas. The album sold close to a million copies, and was certified platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA).

With ten comedy albums under his belt, Whitney turned his attention to the film industry, hoping to bring Larry the Cable Guy to new audiences in and beyond the US. His first film, “Larry the Cable Guy: Health Inspector,” featured Whitney as a rookie health inspector with questionable work practices. Though hilarious to his fans, the film attracted negative reviews and tanked at the Box Office, failing to recoup its budget of $17 million by over a million. Undeterred by his unfavorable film debut, Larry the Cable Guy went on to create and appear in several successful films in the 17 years since the release of his first film.

A few years into his acting career, Larry the Cable Guy lent his voice in bringing to life characters in video games and films. One of his most popular roles as a voice actor is the voice of Mater in “Cars,” which he’s reprised for all sequels, including the recent Disney Series “Cars on the Road.” Larry has also made occasional appearances in his friend, and fellow Hollywood outsider Tyler Perry’s films, including “A Madea Christmas.”  Larry writes and produces all his films and comedy albums, and in 2023, is set to appear in “Animal Crossing Christmas Festival: The Movie” and is a character in a second film that is in its pre-production stage.

Besides his presence in a wide range of visual and audio arts, Larry has dipped his toes into the literary world through his books “Git-R-Done” and “Moon Mater.”

His work has earned him several invites to perform at corporate events and industry conventions.

Finally, Larry has secured several brand collaborations in his long career, which have had him doing commercials for snack and food companies, over-the-counter medication, and kitchen equipment. 

Hollywood Outsider

Despite enjoying success in multiple types of media in the entertainment industry, Larry the Cable Guy is not a mainstream entertainer in Hollywood. According to him, his absence from Hollywood is by design, since his character doesn’t fit the image of political correctness that Hollywood fronts. In fact, Larry has faced criticism on various fronts for racism and homophobia. In his defense, Larry argued that he reads the audience and delivers appropriate jokes, adding that he avoids raunchy jokes, and some that disrespect God, Besides, his audience, is primarily people living in rural America, and they’ve never complained about his content. Larry has also faced criticism for making unintelligent jokes that aren’t funny, complaint for being too simplistic in his fart jokes, which mainstream comedians and Hollywood insiders consider juvenile. To this, Larry responds with his classic catchphrase “Now that is funny right there.”

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Larry may be a Hollywood Outsider, but he’s created a wide network in the entertainment industry. One of his notable friendships is with Tyler Perry; according to Larry, he admires Perry for creating a large audience for his films without conforming to Hollywood’s limitations, and investing in the film industry in Atlanta as opposed to chasing the elusive dream of making it in Los Angeles. Inspired, Larry the Cable Guy is working to set up a studio in Lincoln, Oregon.

For the Love of the Game

Whitney will walk away from a gig without thinking twice about losing money for two reasons – his family and football. Unlike most celebrities, Whitney didn’t start out in search of fame. He wanted a career that would earn him enough to support his family and give back to his community, while leaving him enough time to spend with his wife and kids.

Whenever his career has threatened his family time, he’s walked away. For instance, in 2011, the History Channel offered Whitney a chance to travel across America, trying interesting things and places for a show dubbed “Only in America with Larry the Cable Guy.” For three seasons, he toured the country trying activities on everyone’s bucket list. After a successful third season, he walked away from the show, as it was keeping him away from his family.

His career came with one additional perk besides allowing him to spend time at home – he could take time off his work to enjoy football. Each football season, Larry the Cable Guy is put on the back burner as Whitney enjoys every Cornhusker Game. For three months, Larry doesn’t accept gigs, and has even put tours on hold to enjoy the football season. In the 2016 season, Larry made headlines for breaking a man’s humerus mid-game. The man, who was watching the game with Whitney, challenged the comedian to an arm-wrestling match. By the end of the evening, the challenger was in the operating room having a metal plate installed in his arm after Larry broke his funny bone.

 

2023 Shows

2023 has been a busy year for Larry the Cable Guy. From April to 8 July, he’s been all over the US on his “An Evening with Larry Tour,” which started in Cincinnati and took him to Atlanta and Charlotte before ending in a collaboration with Jeff Foxworthy at the National Cherry Festival in Miami. He’s taking a few months off to enjoy his beloved sport before resuming the tour in October. In November, he will take the show beyond the US to Ontario, Canada.

Ultimately, Larry the Cable Guy has worked hard to remain relevant and maintain a solid following, amidst accusations of racism, homophobia, and simplistic jokes. We’ll be watching to see what major moves he makes next in his career.

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