Larry the Cable Guy has found the perfect home for football Saturdays.
By Randy York
Sometimes, when August drags its feet and you can’t wait to see an expanded football stadium with its biggest sold-out sign ever, plus a renovated Devaney Center rocking and rolling right into your highly predictable life, you stumble onto people who are waiting for the same things you are. Someone, for instance, like Dan Whitney, a.k.a. Larry the Cable Guy. Since he badgered me four months ago about getting bonus money when I raved about the newly expanded East Stadium, I counter-badgered Larry the Cable Guy, especially since it was his wife, Kara, a Wisconsin native, who wondered how much extra I was paid for writing a blog about the spectacular views high up in the East Stadium.
This is the week when all new East Stadium suite owners, including the Whitneys, get a chance to inspect their new digs and see their new views (look for an N-Sider on that on Tuesday). That makes it hard not to needle Dan, the sleeveless wonder/Husker diehard/comedian extraordinaire. “Hey,” I ask Whitney, “you moved from your North Stadium Suite to the West Stadium. Now you’re moving from the West Stadium to the expanded East Stadium. What’s your next stop – one of those little video boxes on top of the South Stadium?”
For a guy who thought I went overboard when I told him I’d be perfectly happy sitting in the top row of the expanded East Stadium, Larry the Cable Guy went one step beyond that while answering a legitimate question. “Move?” he said. “I’m thinking of selling the house and having my whole family moved into the East Stadium by next year.”
Yes, Dan is always quick on his feet and always on, so I decide to serve him another softball question. Seriously, I said, I know you’ve checked out the new East Stadium digs. Just how sweeping are those views I raved about? “Awesome,” Whitney said, reaffirming what we’ve both known all summer long, so please join the rest of our conversation with Larry the Cable Guy:
Q: Do you plan your concert schedule around Nebraska football, and if so, how long have you done that and how long will you continue to do that?
A: Yes I do. I never work on any home game. I’ve actually turned down a couple of TV projects and one movie project because they filmed during football season. Unless I can find a way to film and be in the stadium at the same time, that will continue to be my approach. Who knows? Maybe someday, someone will come up with an app for that!
Q: You once wanted to buy everyone in Memorial Stadium a hot dog. Why not commemorate the East Stadium with a Wimmer moment for 91,000-plus?
A: Still haven’t got that one by the wife yet, Randy. As a matter of fact, just bringing that up is kind of a sore subject, so shut up, and let’s move on.
Q: You’ve been so many places in your “Only in America” series on The History Channel. What’s your favorite stop and what’s your next stop?
A: My favorite stop has to be when I flew onto the USS NIMITZ and got to launch jets off of it. Completely amazing and something I will never forget. I’ve done a lot of things that I normally would never get to do. My next stop will be psycho analysis!
Q: I’ve been trying to catch up with you. You have to be the hardest worker in showbiz. Aren’t you about due for another Tonight Show gig?
A: Actually there are three harder working people than me … Hugh Hefner’s fiancé, Paula Dean’s body guard and Michael Moore’s underwear. I’m fourth after those three. Seriously, I’m just fortunate enough to have really great fans that like what I do and always support me. I love what I do for a living, and there’s no greater thrill than making arenas full of people wipe away tears of laughter. Either that or they’re crying because they can’t believe they actually spent money on this crap. I’m very blessed and thankful to be able to make a living doing what I love. The Tonight Show’s been great to me. In fact, I actually hold a Tonight Show record for the most appearances in a row for a guest. I went on one Monday night, and they invited me back the next three nights. I’ve had 23 appearances so far and they want to try to get me to 25 before Jay (Leno) leaves. I have a great relationship with all those folks at that show.
Q: Now that you’re set for appearance No. 24, isn’t it time to share your battle with a snake and where that ranks in the Tonight Show’s storied history?
A: Ah yes, the dreaded python. It was my third day in a row on the show and I was on after Joan Embry from the San Diego zoo. She was doing a segment on mating habits of various critters. I had a whole set list prepared and at the last minute they asked if I’d go out with this python and talk about its reproductive organs. Well, I agreed like an idiot and during the commercial Joan tried to fill me in on some facts on the snake, and I was absolutely clueless. So I figured I just take out some notecards of facts and wing it. It turned out to be an ad libbers paradise, and it became my funniest all-time segment. Somehow, I had just adlibbed my way through 15 minutes on national TV with a python snake. Debbie, the stage manager who’s been there since the Johnny Carson days, told me afterwards that it was – by far – one of her favorite all-time segments. Since the comment came from someone who worked during that era, it meant a lot to me.”
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