Born on September 6, 1958, in Atlanta, Georgia, Jeff Foxworthy eventually quit his job to become a comedian. Foxworthy became famous as an opening act for country music superstars Garth Brooks and Emmylou Harris. Each of his books has sold more than 1 million copies. His first recording, You Might Be a Redneck If..., went double platinum. In 1995, he starred on the sitcom The Jeff Foxworthy Show. He followed with gigs hosting popular television shows such as Are You Smarter than a 5th Grader? (2007-10) and The American Baking Competition (2013).
Comedian, radio personality and talk show host Jeffrey Marshall Foxworthy was born on September 6, 1958, in Atlanta, Georgia. Foxworthy himself is from the South, but his father was a computer executive at IBM, and the family lived in the affluent suburb of Hapeville, Georgia. Foxworthy claims that although his father had a high-level professional job, he displayed many of the traits Foxworthy would later describe as being "redneck."
Foxworthy was a class clown during his youth. In his spare time, he listened tirelessly to the recordings of comics Bob Newhart, Flip Wilson and Bill Cosby. Cosby was Foxworthy's favorite because the veteran comedian was able to entertain without using profanity, unlike many other contemporary comedians. Foxworthy was also a competitive football player in high school, playing in an aggressive manner that led to frequent visits to the local emergency room, but his slight build kept him from continuing in the sport.
Foxworthy planned to follow in his father's footsteps by majoring in computer technology at Georgia Tech and working at IBM. Yet he discovered that he gained more enjoyment from making co-workers laugh than working with computers. He eventually quit his job to devote his life to being a comedian. With the support of his wife, Pamela Gregg Grethe—a former actress he had met during one of his shows—he went on the road, laying the groundwork for his later success.
'You Might Be a Redneck If'
At a club date in Detroit, Michigan, Foxworthy discovered his comedic voice. Next to the club was a bowling alley offering valet parking; he was struck by the irony and immediately went to his room and compiled a list of factors that would make a person a redneck. For example, you might be a redneck if: "You ever mowed your lawn and found a car," or "You go to a family reunion to meet women."
At a time when country music was experiencing a boom, Foxworthy's redneck-jibing humor caught on. He became famous as an opening act for country music superstars Garth Brooks and Emmylou Harris. Each of his books sold over a million copies. His first recording, You Might Be a Redneck If..., went double platinum, breaking Eddie Murphy's previous record for a comedy recording made in the 1980s. In 1995, Foxworthy starred in the situation comedy The Jeff Foxworthy Show, roughly based on his comedy routines. In 1996, NBC picked up the series and lasted two seasons.
Foxworthy has been very successful marketing his comedic insights into the identification and spoofing of "rednecks, " so-called country dwellers who generally lack sophistication. Foxworthy, with roots deep in the South, counts himself as a typical "redneck." Riding the popularity of the country music wave during the 1990s, Foxworthy has parlayed his southern brand of humor into his own huge popularity. With a television situation comedy, several sound recordings, and many books, Foxworthy has become virtually a household word.
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