Thursday, November 22, 2012

Jeff Foxworthy, "The Jeff Foxworthy Show," 1995

Standard-Examiner staff

Previewing tonight at 7 p.m. on KTVX Channel 4 is "The Jeff Foxworthy Show," starring comedian Jeff Foxworthy -- guess that's where they got the title -- who's most famous for his redneck-themed stand-up act.

In the series, which was not made available for yours truly to preview, Foxworthy plays Jeff Foxworthy (that way you won't get confused), a Southern-born heating and air conditioning contractor who lives with his wife and son in Bloomington, Ind.

The show's executive producer, Tom Anderson, said at the Summer Press Tour that he equates Foxworthy's brand of humor with Jerry Seinfeld's.

"Seinfeld does what he does in New York," Anderson said. "And he kind of makes fun of people. And we like him because he's so nice. But Jeff really is kind of like the Seinfeld for the rest of the country." Thus, he said, the Midwest was chosen for the setting of the sitcom.

The Georgia-born Foxworthy has a pronounced accent, which is very much a part of his stand-up routine. Still, he complained, writers use it to define him -- just as I've already done in this column.

"Every time my name shows up in a story, it always says 'Southern comedian,' " Foxworthy said. "And I laugh and say, if a comic is from Seattle, it's never prefaced 'Northwestern comedian.' ... A lot of people think everyone in the South is a redneck. And from traveling the country I found out rednecks are everywhere."

And, he's quick to point out, inventing a word in the process, "I think there are varying degrees of redneckism. My dad was an executive with IBM. And he would  work all day long and come home and he would pop a beer and sit out on the back porch and watch the bug-zapper."

Foxworthy said the design of his show was to specifically make it a vehicle for his type of stand-up humor, much like Tim Allen or Roseanne or Seinfeld have done. And, he emphasized, it'll be a show about a family that gets along.

"There are so many shows on now where it's single parents or, you know, they don't get along. And I don't know why you can't have a show where they do get along, and they do like each other. I think life itself just provides the setups for the comedy."

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