Many comics can be permanently tied to a trademark, from Rodney Dangerfield's "I don't get no respect" to Tim Allen's machismo-fueled grunting, but perhaps no stock phrase is more easily identifiable than that of schtickmeister Jeff Foxworthy. Foxworthy's slogan "You might be a redneck if..." endeared him to millions of American blue-collar types during the early to mid-'90s and served as a veritable staple of his approach to humor. Born in Atlanta, Foxworthy attended the Georgia Institute of Technology but dropped out prior to graduation and worked as an IBM technician during the early to mid-'80s, when he impetuously decided to enter an amateur standup contest. The then-nascent comedian won the competition -- an accomplishment that encouraged him to drop out of his IBM gig and step behind the microphone full-time.
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Foxworthy's debut book, presciently entitled, You Might Be a Redneck If... hit stores in 1989, followed by a CD, which racked up an astonishing 3.5 million copies -- making it the single most lucrative comedy record up through that time. Successive albums followed, in addition to a blizzard of Foxworthy (and "redneck") themed merchandise that grossed several million dollars per year in its prime. Unfortunately, the comedian's transition to filmed entertainment was a somewhat bumpy one; a domestically themed sitcom, The Jeff Foxworthy Show, premiered on ABC in 1995 but folded after only two seasons. Foxworthy encountered far greater success by pooling the resources of several similar comedians into a "Blue Collar" comedy troupe that toured throughout the country. Comprised of Foxworthy, Bill Engvall, and Larry the Cable Guy, the ensemble turned out a series of standup films and scored high ratings with their own sketch comedy series, Blue Collar TV (2004), presented as a kind of "redneck variation" on Saturday Night Live. Foxworthy also found considerable success by hosting the game show Are You Smarter Than a 5th Grader? (2007). ~ Nathan Southern, Rovi