Larry the Cable Guy understands that he isn’t an obvious fit for his latest television home. In fact, declares the Blue Collar Comedy stalwart, “When I tell people I’m going to be on The History Channel, it’s like Charlie Sheen saying he’s doing commercials for eHarmony.com.”
Well, it’s not THAT bad a fit. Larry’s “Only in America,” debuting Feb. 8, has him traversing the nation, lending his comedic presence to an exploration of the history behind assorted Americana. (E.g.: What government action led to NASCAR? Prohibition.) Along the way, he found himself jumping a frog in Calaveras Country, being pulled behind a boat in a lawn chair mounted on water skis, and being rolled around inside a barrel by a bull in a rodeo ring.
Larry tells us he wanted to do more than discover the history behind some of our all-American stuff and nonsense, however. He recounts that when he met with History Channel brass about the prospective show, he told them, “I want to show the people themselves — the good Americans out there.” In his act, he talks about feeling great since he quit watching the news, which “only covers the bad aspects of daily life. It makes you think kids are all bad, people are all bad. The great majority of Americans are just trying to get along, working together, eating together — red, black, yellow, green, it doesn’t matter. We’re a melting pot. That’s what makes this such a great culture. So that’s what I did, showed as many people as I could in big towns and small towns.”
Not to mention the USS Nimitz and the Marines doing a storm-the-beach exercise. “It was really cool. When you think of all these people who are doing things like that, who are in charge of keeping us safe — they’re all 18, 19 years old and they’re so good at what they do and so disciplined. It restores your faith in youth to see these young men and women.”
MEANWHILE: Larry is in the middle of a long string of concert dates with cohorts Jeff Foxworthy and Bill Engvall. And he has Pixar’s “Cars 2” coming out this June, with his popular rusty tow truck, Mater, in a much-expanded role from the first movie.
“It is a big part for him. ‘Cars 2′ is an action movie — a 180 degree turnaround from the other one,” says the man whose children refer to the character as Daddy Mater. “I just saw a three-minute clip the other day and it had four or five good belly laughs in it. I just couldn’t stop laughing. It’s really cool that Mater is the focal point.”
As for his feelings about this great run of work? “I’ve got mixed feelings about it,” he admits. “I love doing it all these projects, but on the other hand, I wish I had a week at home now and then to hang with the kids. And while I’m on the road, I do get tired.”
But there’s no rest stop in sight for ol’ Mater.
“Tomorrow I have voiceovers to do, the next day promotions. The day after Super Bowl Sunday, I head to Orlando, Florida to start shooting ‘Tooth Fairy 2.’ At least I’ll be in one spot for awhile.”