J.P. Williams

Making Red States laugh & H'wood honchos take notice

You don’t have to be a redneck to know the name J.P. Williams. A former comedy agent at Spotlite Enterprises in the ’80s, Williams was in on the early days of the careers of clients Jamie Foxx, Jerry Seinfeld, Adam Sandler and Damon Wayans, among others. In 1991, he bowed Parallel Entertainment, a boutique management firm focusing on comedy. But Williams and his clients truly hit pay dirt in 2000 when they created the Blue Collar Comedy Tour, a no-frills roadshow boasting Jeff Foxworthy, Bill Engvall, Larry the Cable Guy and Ron White. Playing to sold-out houses — sometimes doing two shows of 6,000 seats per night — the redneck shtick stuck. Williams soon expanded it into feature films, DVDs, highly rated TV specials and series. He also launched the all-comedy label Jack Records, a joint venture with Warner Bros.

P.O.V.: “When things are bad, people want to laugh, and when they are good, people want to laugh. We’ll always be able to work.”

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