Comedy/Spoken  •  Musical Comedy

Country Comedy

Like any kind of humor, Country Comedy isn't suited to all tastes. For fans of more urbane music -- including slickly produced country-pop -- country comedy is crude, simplistic, old-fashioned, and foolish. Nevertheless, the very squareness of the genre is what makes it appealing. Country comedy grew directly out of vaudeville and burlesque, where comedians told silly jokes. Initially, country performers -- including the Carter Family and Jimmie Rodgers -- would perform comedy skits during their shows, and comedians like Minnie Pearl were major figures at the Grand Ole Opry. Often, country comedians were simply comedians, but there were several -- like Grandpa Jones and Homer & Jethro -- that were excellent musicians as well. From the late '40s to the mid-'60s, artists like Homer & Jethro were popular both as comedians and musicians, but by the beginning of the '70s, country comedy became the provinces of comedians. Of course, there were still novelty singles, but country comedy was largely relegated to live performances, not records. In the mid-'90s, Jeff Foxworthy renewed country comedy as a viable commercial proposition with his series of You Might Be a Redneck If... records. In his wake, a number of other new country comedians, most notably Cledus T. Judd, also scaled the charts.