‘Larry’s’ creator will deliver his popular blue-color character to the gaming hall Nov. 2
When Dan Whitney peers into his imaginary crystal ball, he doesn’t like what he sees as a possible future for his chosen field. More specifically, Whitney, who is far-better known as his beloved creation, Larry the Cable Guy, is concerned that the intellectual and artistic freedom he and his fellow funny folk have enjoyed for the past half-century or so currently finds itself in a precarious position thanks to what many consider to be the over-sensitizing of society.
His canaries-in-a-coal-mine are the fines (in 2013 and 2016) assessed against two Canadian comics after audience members filed lawsuits charging they were offended by the content of each performer’s act.
“I don't think society’s gonna outlaw [standup comedy]. I think that there'll be a small fragment of society that will start coming down on it,” said Whitney, whose drawling, down home alter ego is one of the pillars of the “redneck humor” sub-genre of standup comedy. The veteran funny man performs Nov. 2 at Ocean Casino Resort.
“I mean, it's bound to happen. Look, in Canada, two comics got fined for doing a couple of jokes. I mean, we're not Canada, but you know, all it's gonna take is for somebody to be offended and to sue the comedy club. And if they win, that's going to end it because comedy club [management] will say, ‘That's it. We've got to start monitoring what people say ‘cause we don't want to get sued anymore.’
“I think it's ridiculous. Hopefully, that won't happen, but I mean it's already happened in Canada.”
Whitney a 56-year-old native of Pawnee City, Neb., claimed today’s social climate has yet to force him to change or excise a joke. “I mean, I'm going to do what I'm going to do,” he insisted. “I’m just a comic doing goofy one-liners. If I write a joke and [you don’t] like it, I still go under that rule: If you don't like it, don't go to the show!”
Nonetheless, Whitney did cop to being a little more cautious when it comes to social media.
“I think it's changed the way that I do stuff on Twitter,” he said. “I mean, sometimes I think of a really funny thing to put on Twitter and then I [think], ‘You know what, it's not worth the hassle,’ so I just don't send it out.
“I tweeted one the other day and it was, ‘I can't wait for Halloween. Gives me a chance to clean out my refrigerator. I still got coleslaw cups from my last barbecue order I got to get rid of.’ And of course, we got a hundred people who thought it was funny, and then you had that one person [who replied] ‘Some people might do that and it'll make some kids sick. These are the kinds of jokes that we don't need!’
“So, it makes you think twice.”
Ocean Casino Resort, Boardwalk at Connecticut Avenue, Atlantic City; 8 p.m. Nov. 2; $65, $55 and $45. For tickets, click here.