February marked the 10-year anniversary that Brad Stewart packed up his stuff and moved from Los Angeles again to Lincoln to deal with his ailing father, who had been stricken with Lou Gehrig’s illness.
At that time, Stewart’s profession in comedy was simply beginning to take off. He was opening for Joan Rivers and making a reputation for himself.
However household at all times takes priority. You are gifted just one father so his selection was easy. They’d three months collectively earlier than he died.
And that left Stewart to take care of his mom and determine the way to in some way discover a approach to make individuals giggle — one in all his fortes, fact be recognized — from Center America.
“There simply wasn’t lots happening in comedy in Lincoln,” he mentioned, pointing to an open-mic evening at Duffy’s and “perhaps just a few different issues, however that’s about it.”
After which he approached Zoo Bar proprietor Pete Watters and made a pitch for a comedy present on Sunday, one of many few nights when the downtown membership would not host dwell music.
Persons are additionally studying…
In Might 2014, Zoolarious took to the stage for the primary time and — excluding these two godforsaken years that we now not must revisit — has grow to be a Sunday-night staple in Lincoln. After about 300 exhibits, it is truthful to say it is right here to remain.
The weekly present, which does not start till Stewart high-fives everybody within the room — a homage to comedian Ed Salazar, who raised the curtain on the primary Zoolarious present by doing simply that — will have fun its eighth anniversary on Sunday at 8 p.m.
Kansas Metropolis comic Brittany Tilander will headline the eighth-anniversary present.
“She has a star high quality,” mentioned Stewart, who introduced her to Lincoln in February and watched her crush it. “I like her perspective as a younger progressive girl. She’s forward-thinking and he or she is hilarious.
“Her voice is required in our business.”
Stewart has developed a eager sense for figuring out proficient comics after which discovering a approach to get them right here. And that throw-away Sunday has confirmed to be a blessing in Center America as a result of loads of comedians will cease off for an evening on their dwelling to one of many coasts after enjoying weekend exhibits.
“It wasn’t supposed, but it surely turned out to be good for everybody,” he mentioned. “It’s the good setup as a result of they may cease right here for yet another present on the way in which dwelling.”
He has introduced in loads of up-and-comers, and from time to time, he brings in somebody who has already arrived. That was the case earlier this month when Adam Cayton-Holland stopped off on the Zoo Bar on his means again to Denver.
These are the exhibits Stewart remembers from the final eight years. There have been additionally the sold-out exhibits by Kyle Kinane and that point Alonzo Bodden got here from Los Angeles and would not imagine there’s a city close to Lincoln known as Wahoo.
“We have had some nice exhibits right here,” mentioned Stewart, who retains a want checklist of comedians he desires to convey to the Zoo Bar. He is in a position to get lots of them. For the remainder — like Margaret Cho, for instance — he retains making an attempt.
“I don’t know if I can get her right here,” he mentioned. “If they will want $10,000 to return right here, then no. But when she desires to work with us, we are able to promote out the place instantly.”
There was a time when Stewart frightened in regards to the quantity of people that will go to a Sunday-night comedy present. After which he remembered that it is Lincoln, the place most — however not all — individuals are gearing up for the workweek.
That mentioned, any crowd, be it 20, 30 or 40 individuals is greater than most golf equipment are getting on a Sunday evening.
“I used to get annoyed about it after which I needed to change my mind-set,” he mentioned. “The people who find themselves there have a great time.”
And that is essential. America is in a bizarre place proper now. Somewhat laughter could be the most effective treatment for what divides us.
Sunday evening shall be particular, Stewart mentioned. He’ll purchase a cake to commemorate eight years of Zoolarious. He might need some balloons, too — perhaps some glow sticks and foolish get together favors that allow individuals know it isn’t an unusual evening.
“We’re positively celebrating,” he mentioned. “Eight years validates why I do that. I’ve at all times believed on this. If you happen to imagine in what you’re doing, it’ll ultimately catch on with others. Proper earlier than the pandemic, I felt like we have been beginning to catch on. After which we needed to cease for a few years.
“It’s beginning to catch on once more.”
That is positively value not less than a high-five, is not it?
10 issues to find out about Larry the Cable Man
How Larry got here to be
Dan Whitney toured for years underneath his personal title and spent 13 years calling morning exhibits of 30-some radio stations — together with Todd and Tyler at Z-92 in Omaha — 5 days per week.
“I knew I needed to create my very own breaks,” Whitney mentioned. “I could not sit again and let one thing occur. If I had a possibility to do it, I did it. Typically, it paid completely nothing. However you by no means knew who can be within the crowd or what was going to occur.”
He found the voice of Larry the Cable Man whereas hanging with Jeff Foxworthy and different comedians at Atlanta Braves spring coaching baseball video games. He has at all times been in a position to do a Southern accent, and “we have been making an attempt to crack one another up.”
He started utilizing the voice at a present in West Palm Seaside in 1991 (or 1989 – accounts differ) as a result of Whitney was “bombing, and it obtained amusing,” he advised the Journal Star’s Jeff Korbelik.
A radio pal in Tampa, Florida, heard him and requested Larry to name his present and use the voice. Larry pretended he was going to put in cable TV. It took off from there, he advised Korbelik.
In 1998, the up-and-coming comedian carried out on the now-closed Royal Grove in Lincoln.
“It’s like a cult following,” Whitney mentioned in 1998 of his then-growing recognition. “I’m simply as shocked as anyone else.”
Proprietor of a bull, different pursuits
Larry the Cable Man has an in depth merchandise line in addition to CDs and films. He additionally has accomplished commercials for Prilosec heartburn drugs.
Larry and four-time Skilled Bull Riders Inventory Contractor of the 12 months Jeff Robinson additionally personal a bull named Hen on a Chain. The bull is being honored in 2015 because the model of honor on the PBR Heroes & Legends Celebration in October. Hen on a Chain competed within the PBR from 2005-2012 and was 2007 champion.
Larry additionally was part-owner of a now-defunct sports activities bar in Omaha, the Scarlet & Cream Letter Membership, with former Huskers. Final yr, he partnered with 50 Cent and others to purchase Dangle w/, a social video app.
The person behind Larry
Dan Whitney was born Feb. 17, 1963, and grew up in Pawnee Metropolis. He’s 52. He and his spouse, Cara, obtained married in 2005 and dwell simply east of Lincoln on a $2 million acreage. They’ve a son, Wyatt, and daughter, Reagan.
Whitney’s household moved to West Palm Seaside, Florida, in 1979 when he was a sophomore in highschool. Whitney attended Baptist College of America in Georgia however did not graduate earlier than going full-time along with his comedy profession.
In Nebraska, his father was a minister in close by Humboldt and Verdon and a steering counselor at Wymore Excessive College. The senior Whitney had been a guitarist for the Everly Brothers.
“My dad was a tough employee,” Whitney mentioned of the late Tom Sr. “He had a ton of jobs and by no means took a break. I suppose I realized from him. Everyone (in Pawnee Metropolis) is like that. You simply do not sit again and wait. You exit and make it occur.”
Whitney was the youngest of three youngsters. He performed trumpet within the faculty band, and his household raised pigs.
After Whitney moved to Florida, he returned the subsequent three summers.
“My associates in my graduating class, we actually have been like a household,” he mentioned. “We had been collectively since kindergarten.
“After I moved to Florida, I by no means forgot my Nebraska roots.”
And when he had youngsters, he moved again completely to offer them the possibility to develop up the way in which he did.
Git-R-Carried out Basis
Larry began the Git-R-Carried out Basis to profit youngsters and veterans. The muse has a yearly golf occasion, this yr benefiting the Bryan Well being Neonatal Intensive Care Unit Rooftop Therapeutic Backyard. It additionally has donated to Morning Star Driving Heart and Creighton College (for prosthetics) throughout the previous yr.
Larry has donated greater than $7 million to numerous charities, together with $1.2 million to Madonna Rehabilitation Hospital for a pediatric rehabilitation hospital and greater than $1 million for the Lincoln Youngster Advocacy Heart.
“I had the possibility to see Madonna’s work in serving to youngsters overcome all forms of accidents and sicknesses, and after I met Alexis (Verzal) and noticed the large braveness in her little physique, I knew we needed to dedicate the hospital in her honor,” he mentioned.
Final yr, Larry carried out at a profit for the Group Jack Basis. When he turned 50, he used the event of getting a colonoscopy at Saint Elizabeth to make a web based video to induce others to get checked.
“I don’t wish to die. I’ve obtained youngsters,” he mentioned. “Everyone’s obtained any person who loves them, so you must get this accomplished.”
Larry additionally has made a sequence of Zoofari movies with the Lincoln Youngsters’s Zoo which have been despatched free to hospitals and rehabilitation facilities across the nation in order that youngsters who cannot get to the zoo can see what occurs there.
Larry is the voice of Mater in “Automobiles” and “Automobiles 2.” The comic has offered out arenas throughout the nation.
He has gained a number of Billboard Music Awards and was nominated for a Grammy Award. He labored with Jeff Foxworthy and Invoice Engvall on the Blue Collar Comedy Tour and the Them Idiots Whirled Tour, with a recording of the present debuting at No. 1 on the Billboard Comedy Charts. Larry, Jeff and Invoice additionally starred in CMT’s animated “Bounty Hunters.”
Larry had his personal present in 2011, 2012 and 2013 on Historical past Channel, “Solely in America with Larry the Cable Man,” which featured an episode of him going to Washington and assembly with Rep. Jeff Fortenberry.
In March of this yr, SiriusXM introduced that Jeff Foxworthy and Larry the Cable Man will lead their very own 24/7 comedy channel known as “Jeff and Larry’s Comedy Roundup.”
Larry has starred in “Tooth Fairy 2,” “Witless Safety,” “Delta Farce,” and his first function “Larry the Cable Man: Well being Inspector.”
On July 4, 2009, at Memorial Stadium, Larry carried out in entrance of greater than 50,000 followers and taped his Tailgate Celebration for Comedy Central. The present was a thanks to his followers and Nebraska for his or her longtime help. Tickets have been offered for less than $4 and the present offered out in a single weekend. The comedy CD of the identical title debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard Comedy Charts.
Well-known Husker fan
Larry made picks for soccer video games within the Journal Star within the 2006 season. His checklist included some gems: “I went spearfishin’ with a buddy of mine for the primary time final week and obtained 5 4-pound koi fish! Boy, the Henry Doorly Zoo actually has no humorousness!”
Larry is usually noticed at Husker soccer video games.
“I bear in mind the outdated dudes on the sale barn once I was about 12 years outdated bitching about how (Tom) Osborne couldn’t beat Oklahoma. They stored saying this factor ain’t going to work. Then growth.
“I suppose that’s why they have been pig farmers and never coaches.”
One other time, he mentioned: “I nonetheless bear in mind how excited we obtained at any time when Nebraska would rating a landing, even earlier than kindergarten. We by no means obtained to attend any video games as a result of we didn’t have the funds for to purchase a ticket, however we have been like each different one that lived on this nice state. The Cornhuskers have been our crew, and we lived and died with each play.”
Whitney’s Florida dwelling sported an outside basketball court docket painted in Husker colours, and the pickup he drove in Florida was lined in Husker paraphernalia.
“If you happen to fly over Sanford, you possibly can look out (the aircraft window) and see a crimson ‘N’ and a Husker brand in the course of the woods,” he mentioned in 2006.
“As soon as a Husker, at all times a Husker.”
Larry’s checklist of the seven wonders
The Journal Star in 2007 requested comic, native Nebraskan and present resident Larry the Cable Man (aka Dan Whitney) what he considers the highest Seven Wonders within the state.
No drawback. He “Received-R-Carried out.”
1. Runza Eating places: Paris has the Louvre, we now have Runzas. Who wants France?
2. The Waco grain elevators: I haven’t seen such structure wonders for the reason that Louisville grain elevators.
3. The apple pie on the Beatrice Sale Barn Cafe: It’s so good they really coax cattle into vehicles utilizing a contemporary piece of apple pie.
4. That Huge Empty Glass Church on I-80 Between Lincoln and Omaha: I don’t know what it’s or the way to get to it, however I’ve to incorporate it as a surprise as a result of for the final two years my spouse and I ponder what the hell that’s once we drive by.
5. The Nebraska farmer: They feed the world and preserve everybody alive. Sufficient mentioned.
6. Nebraska Cornhuskers in any sport.
7. The cartoon Marmaduke within the Lincoln Journal Star: Marmaduke hasn’t been humorous since 1973 and I “surprise” why it’s nonetheless within the comics.
What others say about Larry
— “We at all times tease Dan as a result of he hasn’t modified a lot, and I do not imply that in a nasty means,” mentioned Pawnee Metropolis’s Mike Habegger, a longtime pal of Dan Whitney. “He at all times was a wise aleck. Now, he will get paid for it.”
— “In all seriousness, working with Dan was a terrific expertise,” Rep. Jeff Fortenberry mentioned after filming for an “Solely in America” episode. “It was a pleasure having him go to the workplace. He is a really beneficiant one that’s accomplished an important deal for these in want in our neighborhood.”
— “Larry the Cable Man has every little thing: sleeveless shirts, silly catchphrases. He is Mr. T with out the performing chops.” — Lisa Lampanelli, throughout a roast of Larry
— “He busted all people,” former Oklahoma coach Barry Switzer mentioned of a roast on the Champions Membership, “and, clearly, he hated me. He’s humorous as hell. It was an important occasion.”
— “Don’t you type of really feel just like the Beverly Hillbillies moved in?” requested Colleen Quinn, supervisor of Omaha’s Humorous Bone Comedy Membership, throughout a roast, about Larry’s buy of a Memorial Stadium skybox.
— “Some individuals say Larry’s solely profitable as a result of he is pandering to the bottom frequent denominator, blatantly and never mockingly exploiting individuals’s racist and homophobic tendencies. Do not hear to those individuals, Larry. They’re simply bitter and jealous and proper.” — Greg Giraldo, throughout a roast
Religion and household
Dan Whitney says his household and his religion are two key drivers for him.
“When you could have youngsters, it fully adjustments your life, in a great way. Your priorities change. It’s not about you anymore. Every little thing you do is for these youngsters. You’ll be able to’t clarify it to individuals who don’t have youngsters. It’s simply humorous how every little thing adjustments when you could have individuals relying on you. It actually adjustments each side of your life. It’s so superior being a dad. I like each a part of it.”
Throughout an interview with Randy York’s N-sider, Whitney credited his upbringing along with his religion.
“I respect the Midwest, and I respect the religion that folks have within the Midwest. I’ve two cardinal guidelines in my stand-up act. I cannot take the Lord’s title in useless, and I cannot use four-letter phrases.”
Later, he mentioned: “Backside line, religion is essential to me. How I used to be raised and the ambiance I used to be raised in may be very private. I hope individuals perceive that leisure is leisure. It’s what I do to make individuals giggle and really feel higher. My live shows are designed to assist individuals get by the day. They aren’t non secular crusades, they usually don’t have anything to do with my very own religious stroll. An act is strictly what it implies — an act. I don’t dig into it any deeper than that.”
Within the phrases of Larry
Larry (Dan Whitney) on himself and Nebraska:
— “I’m having the time of my life. It’s actually wonderful. It’s all due to my followers. I can’t say sufficient about them. They imply that a lot to me.”
— “Larry says what he feels, and he doesn’t care should you prefer it or not. He tries to make individuals giggle. He loves all people. He’s not imply. He simply calls them a sure means.”
“Look, I am not making an attempt to alter the world. I am simply doing comedy that makes individuals giggle. Goofy stuff. My act is nonsense. On a regular basis issues. Different comedians would name it lowbrow. Who cares? That is what we giggle at. It is a responsible pleasure. I perceive it is silly. However I am not working for president.”
— “Oh man, the best days of my life was once I was a child. I had an important childhood right here and was associates with all people.”
— “You realize what, I’m very grateful. I’m lucky I’ve nice followers who like what I do. I’m one in all them. I grew up the identical means they did.”
— “I beloved Pawnee Metropolis, and I beloved each individual I obtained to fulfill, regardless that most of them have been a lot older. They took me in and shared their life tales, with a little bit of grownup humor thrown in for good measure. So I realized at an early age what I might say and get away with and what I couldn’t say and never get away with. That sale barn might have been crucial expertise I had for my total method to comedy.”
— “I couldn’t be prouder of my state. After I grew up there, it was the best time in my life. I’ll at all times attempt to point out my dwelling state.”
— “It’s like Dick Cavett says in all these commercials, ‘There is no such thing as a place like Nebraska.’”
— At July 4, 2009, Memorial Stadium present: “If you must go to Wal-Mart, this may be the right time to go,” he mentioned, alluding to his followers’ penchant for buying on the division retailer. “They have been trying ahead to this as a result of it provides them an opportunity to restock the cabinets.”
— “Yeah, I like critters. I obtained a horse with a broke leg, so I needed to shoot it.” Beat. “Now it is obtained a broke leg and a gunshot wound.” Beat. “What the h*** you shot ’em for?” Beat. “They are saying it helps the therapeutic course of.” Beat. “If it ain’t higher subsequent week I will shoot it once more.”
— “I used to be seeing this handsome woman in Miami for about three weeks. Then any person stole my binoculars out of the truck.”
— “I do not care who ya are, that is humorous proper there.”
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