Larry the Cable Guy Admits to Using Fake Accent Throughout His Career
Photo credit: Graham Bensinger/Youtube
Daniel Lawrence Whitney, a comedian popularly known as Larry the Cable Guy, does not apologize for his infamous fake Southern accent.
In fact, it has been a source of laughter for millions of people throughout his career. In the video clip below from an interview he did on In-Depth with Graham Bensinger, Whitney described his ability to shift back and forth from accent to accent. He further shares even his real-life accent is ever-changing, and calls himself a “linguist chameleon.” He explained that his own accent has always been influenced by who he is talking to, where he is at that moment, and that he can turn them off and on with ease.
According to Alta, he probably has a case of convergence. Don’t worry, it isn’t catchy, he’ll be fine. However, many people have a case of it. They explain it is simply the changing of one’s speech including pronunciation, pause and utterance lengths, and vocal intensities – to match, or converge, with the speech of another.
Growing Up Daniel Lawrence Whitney
Raised his first 15 years on an 80-acre farm in Nebraska, it is safe to say that Whitney’s first words would have been formed with a local midwestern accent. His father, Tom Whitney, once a guitar player for the Everly Brothers, was full-on country. He was also a pig farmer, school principal, and a backwoods preacher with his own radio show. The comedian seems to have inherited his father’s approach to the country lifestyle and his occasional shift in accent. Although rooted in Nebraska, his father had relatives in Northeast Kansas. Whitney noticed from time to time the preacher’s tongue would turn a bit and a Southern accent would spill out.
Whitney found himself in West Palm Beach, Florida, at 16. Though it was not Nebraska, he gravitated toward the country folk from the area and fit right in. After graduating from high school, he moved to Georgia to attend the Baptist University of America and majored in drama and speech. Hanging out with his college buddies with their strong southern accents inspired him to create his Larry the Cable Guy character.
Larry the Cable Guy is Born and He’s Wearing Flannel
Whitney found himself more cut out for comedy than college. As a result, he dropped out of college during his junior year to pursue a comedy career. Although he was making progress in the comedy scene, his comical country satire routines only took off after he transformed into Larry the Cable Guy and stopped using his real name. The character was created by Whitney when he called into his friend’s radio show pretending to be a fed-up cable worker with a long list of political grievances. Donning a strong Southern accent, hunting cap, cut-off flannel shirts, and catchphrases like “Git-R-Done” lead him down a path many struggling comedians dream of walking.
During an interview with Flagship Military News, Whitney shared how his character Larry the Cable Guy came about,
“I loved improv and I would do characters on stage. One night I did a cable installer character and my buddy had a radio morning show and he thought I was real funny and had me call in as that character and he became really popular. Much later, a station in Orlando called me up and said they loved what I did and would I do it for them? They were syndicated in three states and payed me pretty good to do that. This was in the mid 90s. I did it for a while and I enjoyed doing it because it was all theater of the mind. You could get away with a lot. Everybody was pushing the envelope. I learned from the Howard Stern form of comedy that first you had to be shocking and then get them to come back for more.”
For years, Larry the Cable Guy has obtained fame from one end of the spectrum to the other. From comedy tours, radio, interviews, movies, voice-overs, penning books, and potato chips, he brought his character into nearly every home in America. Ultimately, in the 2000s, Whitney slowed his role to spend more time with family on their farm in Nebraska and seriously entertain his passion for golf.
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Larry the Cable Guy and Daniel Whitney Slow Down For Family, Farm, and Golf
During an interview with The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, 60-year-old Whitney shared he had reduced his workload by 90% since 2015. Previously traveling an average of 287 days per year for 15 to 20 years, he was now able to better maintain his personal priorities with only 24 scheduled dates a year.
“I still love being onstage,” Whitney said, “but you get sick of the travel.”
“My kids grew up on the tour bus,” he said. “They got baths on the bus. We toured so hard from 2003 to 2015. I have since started slowing down as my kids get older.”
Slowing down doesn’t mean going away. No fear, Larry the Cable Guy is still doing stand-up, and his notorious accent will still bring us abundant laughter with past, current, and future comedic projects like Jeff and Larry’s Comedy Round-Up on SiriusXM.
Take a look at the below BGN YouTube video where Larry The Cable Guy discussed his strategy of using an accent during his appearance on the Fox reality competition series The Masked Singer.