It’s Good To Be Ron White

“The Tater’s” Behavioral Problems have led to a very successful career for this small-town Texas boy.

One of Ron White’s biggest assets—his “sharp tongue and no filter”—is also one of the qualities most likely to cause those who don’t know him . . . and a few who do . . . to think the small-town Texas native has Behavioral Problems. That, of course, is the perfectly appropriate title of his third comedy CD, recorded in Seattle, Wash., last November and recently released in conjunction with his new one-hour Comedy Central TV special and a DVD. Ron recently took time out to chat with CW about his new projects and his personal life. Here’s some of what he had to say.

For more from Ron, go to the June 29 issue of Country Weekly.

CW
Are you pretty much at the top of your game right now? Or always improving?
RW
You know what, when I look back, even at the way some of the bits are done in the DVD, and even now I wish I’d done them different, because I’ve changed ‘em. So I still tweak it and improve it. And now I’ve gotta replace the whole act, which is a daunting task. Because I don’t like to do [the material live] once it’s been released. I’ll have to for a little while. I’ve got probably another half hour right now that’s new in the show. And I’ll just keep takin’ stuff out of it until it’s a new act.
CW
Is that a series of months to do that?
RW
Yeah. I really have pretty lofty standards of what I like to see happen on stage. I haven’t led my fans to a pile of s**t yet, so they tend to show up. I just sold out four shows, every seat in the Majestic in Dallas, this weekend. Because I put something worth paying to see on stage. It’s a lot more fun to perform when you do that, too. But it’s a lot of work.
CW
How much of creating is really sitting down and thinking about it and how much is just being observant as you live your life.
RW
B would be the answer [he chuckles]. I can structure write, but it’s no funnier than anybody else. My brain processes information a little bit different than most people’s and whatever comedic twist my brain gives it . . . that’s something I can’t force out. That’s something that just comes to me in a turn of phrase. And then, timing I was blessed with. So it’s a lot easier for me to learn a new show than it is somebody that hasn’t done 10,000 shows.
CW
I would guess earlier in your career, you probably came closer to panicking when a line you think will get a laugh doesn’t than you do now.
RW
Oh now I couldn’t care less. The reason is I’ve gotten so close to who I really am, onstage and offstage, there’s not a character involved. And that’s just something you should strive for as a comedian, unless you’re Carrot Top, and then I don’t know what you strive for . . . I guess better, newer props. But it’s just to be true to your nature and let that come out. Because that’s what they laugh at. I don’t take things real serious on stage . . . if they go right or wrong or whatever . . . it’s still entertaining.
I used to love it when [Johnny] Carson . . . a joke wouldn’t work, and he would get a bigger laugh than if it had.
CW
Have your family members just made peace with the fact that they are gonna be part of your act? Is that just part of the gig of being related to you?
RW
Well, they know that the show is off limits. So if there is somethin’ that they don’t particularly like in it, I don’t care. They don’t bring it up. They know I won’t change it . . . I mean, for anybody . . . not for the police, not for Wal-Mart not for anybody. Unless they have a really nice, brilliant piece of comedy to replace it with . . . which they don’t. And you know what? A lot of the jokes I may write about somebody . . . a lot of it’s not true anyway. It’s just a joke. But you’ve gotta pin it to somethin’. . . some people don’t like that. But, who cares? It’s just comedy.
CW
So when you’re talkin’ about your wife’s piercings and implants that haven’t been given to her yet , she’s fine with that?
RW
Ah, well . . . we fly home on a jet.
CW
How many kids do you have . . . is Tater Tot the only one?
RW
Just him. He’s 18 years old. His name is Marshall.
CW
Is he a big fan? Come to your shows?
RW
Yeah, he was at those shows in Seattle and the four shows I just did this weekend, he was there. He goes to college, so he can’t follow me around everywhere. But we hook up all the time. And I know he’s a fan of comedy in general, but I know he likes me, too, specifically. He still sits over the side and watches the show and laughs.
CW
How far beyond where you thought you could go back when you were sellin’ windows for a living have you gone? So far that you can’t even articulate it?
RW
Literally, I watched this happen to Jeff. Quite frankly, comedy doesn’t cost anything to produce if you produce it. You also don’t have to take it around with you in a big truck. I have friends that are in bands . . . big bands, like Rascal Friends, that are really jealous of me. Those guys wish they didn’t have 16 18-wheelers of stuff rollin’ around behind them. And 100 roadies to pay. My assistant on the road is my best friend since I was 16 years old, Steve Cook. And he and I pop in on the plane and pop back out on the plane. Play a little golf here and there.
CW
I know this is a ridiculous question . . . but I’m guessing it’s good to be Ron White these days.
RW
[he laughs] It is good to be Ron White these days. My son is thriving. My mother is healthy. I have a clear direction of where I want to go. It’s busier than I ever wanted it to be. Life’s good.

For more from Ron, go to the June 29 issue of Country Weekly.

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