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Chewin' the fat with Ron 'Tater Salad' White

July 23, 2019
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He’s irreverent, he’s unapologetic and he’s outrageously successful. Comedian Ron White is scheduled to bring his “If You Quit Listening, I’ll Shut Up” tour (with ever-present cigar and glass of Scotch) to Cross Insurance Center in Bangor on July 26.

The tour shares a name with White’s current Netlflix special, but he assured me that his Bangor audience will hear material they’ve never heard before – along with his favorite stories from the special.

Nearly 20 years ago, White – along with Jeff Foxworthy, Bill Engvall and Larry the Cable Guy – launched The Blue Collar Comedy Tour, a series of concerts, specials and CDs that sent the careers of each comedian into the stratosphere (or at least into your home in one form or another).

That success has placed White in the enviable position of calling every aspect of his career. He does what he wants how he wants and when he wants to do it. He’s sold well over 10 million CDs, while all four of his DVDs have gone platinum.

A Texas native, White spends as much as time as possible in the Lone Star State but he also maintains a residence in Beverly Hills. He says he doesn’t take himself seriously, but he takes his comedy very seriously. When he isn’t touring, he says he’ll perform three sets per night at one of the local comedy clubs near his home.

In the following interview, White explains why he can’t wait to return to Maine and why he never wants to return to Omaha.

The Maine Edge: It’s been a few years since you last appeared in Bangor. Do you recall any of your previous trips here?

White: I visit about 120 cities a year, so it’s all kind of a blur, but I remember doing a show up in Houlton, right across the Canadian border. Everybody in the whole town came out to that show.

The Maine Edge: I remember when you were there. I’m from Houlton. People are still talking about seeing you there.

White: Well, I’m still talking about it, too. It was amazing, and it was so sweet. People came from everywhere; they had these signs on the buses (laughs). Nobody has ever made such a fuss about me coming to town. They sent me away with tons of lobster and we had a great time and I have very fond memories of that trip. They have some really good people there. Maine in general is a beautiful place to visit. People there tend to be very kind and I’m really looking forward to this trip.

The Maine Edge: Being a Texas guy, I’m sure you’ve been to a lot of state fairs, where they deep fry everything from Snickers bars to steak bombs. Your show here will coincide with the start of the Bangor State Fair. What’s the best deep-fried food you’ve ever eaten?

White: I eat at a place called Jack Allen’s Kitchen in Austin. Their motto is “Chicken Fried Anything.” He does these chicken fried beef ribs that are smoked and then fried and then they serve it up with gravy. Oh dude, it’s so good.

The Maine Edge: You have a current Netflix special that shares the title of our current tour: “If You Quit Listening, I’ll Shut Up.” Do you plan to include some of that material in your Bangor performance on Friday night?

White: I’ll have some new material but there will be big blocks from that special. We tried to do this tour without doing anything from that special and everybody got mad; they said they wanted to see me perform it live. So I’ll do my favorite parts from that show with a bunch of new stuff that I’ve written since then.

The Maine Edge: You’ve been one of the most successful comedians in America for nearly 20 years. When you’re coming up with new material today, do you ever stop to ask yourself “Wait, have I done this before?”

White: Not so much that I think I might have done it before, but comedy is a very difficult art form. I don’t piddle on stage. I go out and beat crowds to death. That’s what I do and that’s why I’m still up here. I’ve always worked hard at it because I always thought it would end, but it hasn’t. In fact, it’s even stronger now than it’s ever been. Part of that is the Netflix special and the new exposure to a younger crowd.

The Maine Edge: What attracted you to Beverly Hills, California?

White: I live in Beverly Hills because there are two comedy clubs two miles from my house. I go out every night and do at least three sets a night, working on new stuff and just staying sharp. I take it really, really seriously.

The Maine Edge: How do your neighbors in Beverly Hills like having Ron White living next door? Do they ever knock and ask to borrow a cigar or some whisky?

White: (laughs) No, they couldn’t care less in Beverly Hills. The person next door is Jessica Alba and she doesn’t need anything from me. I don’t even know the people that live on the other side. When I moved in, they left me a bottle of wine in a nice big box, so I thought I’d do something nice for them. I got ‘em a nice big bud of weed, a pack of matches and a little one-hitter; put it in a little box and left it on their doorstep. I never heard from them again, so I guess they don’t smoke pot. My neighbors in California don’t care, but in Austin they’re a little more impressed.

The Maine Edge: I noticed that you have a show scheduled in Moncton, New Brunswick on the night after your appearance in Bangor. Have you ever had a tense experience with the customs agents at the Canadian border?

White: You know, it used to be a cakewalk but it’s a lot more serious than it used to be. I did have some trouble when I was trying to get to Vancouver for a month to shoot a pilot. I had some stuff on my record that had been expunged by the U.S. Dept. of Justice but (laughs) it wasn’t expunged by the Canadian Dept. of Justice. They can still see remnants of it from years ago from some arrest or something. They don’t give me too much trouble about it.

The Maine Edge: You travel everywhere to do comedy. Did you have any preconceptions about Maine before you came here for the first time? If you did, I was wondering if they were accurate or off the mark. We’re always curious about how “people from away” perceive our state.

White: I don’t think my preconception of Maine was wrong at all. Maine puts itself out there as an extraordinarily beautiful place with friendly people and really good food. They seem to be very welcoming to visitors. Maine is one of the things on my calendar that I’m really looking forward to doing – as opposed to Omaha, which is a town I don’t want to go back to.

The Maine Edge: What happened in Omaha?

White: Omaha is just boring, that’s all. Maine has the flavor of Maine. It’s a totally unique place and that’s what I like. It doesn’t remind you of other places. From the way people talk to the food they eat, Maine is original.

(Tickets for Ron White’s show at Cross Insurance Center in Bangor on July 26, at 8 p.m. are available online at www.Ticketmaster.com/cicbangor, by phone at (207) 561-8333, or at the venue’s Trusted Choice Box Office, open Monday through Friday from noon to 4 p.m.)

Last modified on Tuesday, 23 July 2019 15:37

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