"Cable Guy" makes it big

Bob Simon interviews the "King Of Comedy," Larry the Cable Guy

This segment was originally broadcast on Dec. 17, 2006. It was updated on Aug. 8, 2007.

If you like your comedy unadulterated and unsophisticated, this story is for you. It's about a man we're calling the "King of Comedy" based on the fact that he made more money touring this year than any other comedian. Who is he? We'll give you a hint: the King of Comedy is a country bumpkin, a tobacco-chewing, pig-raising hillbilly. And as we said last winter, he performs not in small comedy clubs, but before thousands in concert halls all over America.

Correspondent Bob Simon caught up with this comedic king at a packed house in Columbus, Ohio.

His real name is Dan Whitney, but if you know him at all, you know him as "Larry The Cable Guy."

If you're in the mood for subtle, sophisticated, urban comedy, you're in the wrong place. With Larry The Cable Guy, we're out in the sticks with our fishing rods and our hunting rifles.

"It's nice if people can finally loosen up a little bit and just go out laugh at silliness," he says. "I mean, people take themselves way too seriously sometimes."

Larry the Cable Guy is the epitome of a good ole' boy: he loves to tear across his 180-acre farm in Nebraska. And he's no slave to fashion either - he dresses like an average Joe, even at his own wedding. He loves Nebraska football and has a skybox where he and his buddies gather to cheer the Cornhuskers on to victory.

Unlike many comedians the 60 Minutes team has met, Larry is not angry, he's not depressed, he's not paranoid. He's a hard-working, supremely confident, happy-go-lucky funnyman.

But the question that always dogs him is: does he play mainly to rednecks?

"I do just as good in the Northeast as I do in the South. I do just as good in the Midwest, the Northwest, the Southwest," he tells Simon.

"You know, you are so vehement about that, it sounds like I've hit a sensitive spot," Simon remarks.

"I know," he replies.

Asked if he plays a blue state differently than a red state, the comedian says, "Not at all, I play it all exactly the same. I was just in Portland, Ore., I mean, shoots that's about as blue as they get."

Larry conceived his cable guy shtick on the radio, and worked out the kinks doing standup. But the routine really began to take off after he was invited to perform at the Grand Ole Opry in Nashville.

"I went up there and I had a great set, did real good, killed as they say," he recalls.

He killed the crowd laughing. "Yeah, you don't wanna say it at the old folks home though," he adds, laughing.

It was soon after the Grand Ole Opry gig that Larry's career exploded. He played the voice of the tow truck in the Pixar-Disney movie, "Cars." His latest CD, "The Right To Bare Arms," won Billboard's comedy album of the year award. And he starred in a new movie called "Delta Farce." It's about American soldiers who think they're being sent to Iraq but mistakenly get dropped in Mexico. Only, they don't know it. For Larry, life just keeps getting better and better.

"You know what, it boggles the mind everyday. I'm just, I'm real thankful for it. ... It's a dream come true. It really is," he says.