Jim Varney studied Shakespeare at the Barter Theatre in Abingdon, Virginia. Most folks don’t know he began his career as a Thespian. He is of course, most remembered for portraying ‘Earnest’ in hundreds of commercials during the Eighties and Nineties. (And for a few horrible movies based on the same character) I caught my first “Know-what-I-mean-Vern” commercial while living in Nacogdoches, Texas. Instant Bromance. It was for Braum’s. I loved Braum’s. They absolutely did make the best burgers in all of Christendom. And their ice cream weren’t bad neither.
Some may think performing Southern Humor is easy, simple, and formulaic. I guess if based on Larry-The-Cable-Guy, or Foxworthy–‘you-just-might-be-a-redneck” or any number of clones of same–you’d be correct. Not that I am saying these gents don’t have talent and a mass appeal, but if you listen to the likes of Brother Dave Gardner or Kinky Friedmam and The Texas Jewboys, or even Lewis Grizzard you might come away with a new-found love of a Southern humor that is truly funny on top of being cerebral, philosophical, and just a mite bit more poignant—and lasting. To me, comedy is serious business. And yes, I am rather a snob about it–Please don’t shoot me; I’m only the piano-player in this joint.
Feel free to post some comments about your favorite comics and why you love ‘em. Or, if you prefer, why I am full of shit. If you list Lenny Bruce, I will send you a free life-time pass to any theme park of your choice and a Mickey Mouse pencil sharpener. “Lance! Leave Lenny out of it! He was from New-York-City fer Chrissakes!”
Git a rope.
“Oh yeah? So was Jerry Jeff Walker, but y’all dun forgave him, din’t ya?”
If you are not familiar with Varney, please take five minutes and watch this collage. If you are familiar, I believe you will enjoy revisiting his humor. Ya see? The Eighties were not completely devoid of culture.
Thank you for reading (and watching). I appreciate your time. Know whut I mean?