LIMA — Dan Whitney was a comedian who enjoyed bringing to life his various characters on radio. Little did he know that one of those characters, Larry the Cable Guy, would take on his own persona and launch Dan into a world where “Git R Done” has become a mantra to many.
“Larry the Cable Guy came about by happenstance. I enjoy writing and doing my radio stuff. One of the characters I used was Larry, and it just stuck and people enjoyed it,” Whitney said in a phone interview last week with The Lima News.
He used his old buddy Jeff Foxworthy as a sounding board to perfect his routines. “We’ve been friends for so long. Jeff was really the guy who helped me solidify my character,” Whitney said. A native of Florida, he remembers going to Atlanta Braves pre-season games with Foxworthy, where the two of them would do schtick in the stands.
“We would ad-lib for the entire game. He’d start something like, ‘your sister makin’ that potato salad for the family reunion this weekend?’ Then I’d say, ‘naw, Gramma got sick last year on the salad so she’s stickin’ this year to slaw.’ We’d carry on those conversations for hours, and laugh so hard we’d cry,” Whitney said.
The two still perform together, having just completed with Bill Engvall “Them Idiots Whirlwind Tour.” They also star in a new animated show for CMT, “Bounty Hunters,” scheduled to premiere this spring. And, Whitney’s show on the History Channel, “Only in America,” has just been renewed for a third sesason.
“I think 'Only in America' is the best project I’ve ever done. No critic ever likes what I do, but this is really a good show. It’s the only show where I can come out of character every once in a while, and I like that,” Whitney said.
But, he continues to enjoy being Larry the Cable Guy, and is grateful for the opportunities that character has provided him. As Larry, he has been able to donate more than $7 million to various charities through his Git-R-Done Foundation.
“I think it’s my duty as a citizen to do things for other people, and I’m glad I have the opportunity to do that. I’m proud of my charity and everything that goes into that. I don’t have eight friends taking salaries from it. My wife and I are active in it, and we donate everything. We only have one person taking a salary, and I’m proud to share that with people,” he added.
And he owes it all to Larry the Cable Guy.
“Ever since I was a kid I liked to see people laugh. I’ve been blessed — I work hard — but when people like what I do and they leave laughing, I’m happy,” Whitney said.