White: Comic builds rock-solid red-state base

Comedy Impact Report 2012: Standup - Ron White

Ron White credits hard work, not Hollywood with making 2012 such a success. “I’ll have done 140 live shows by the end of the year,” says the Grammy-nominated Texan, estimating the haul for his current “Moral Compass” tour at $7 million. “That’s great — and it balances out those first 16 years when I made dick.”

The cigar-smoking, scotch-drinking funnyman, who over the past decade has turned his good ol’ boy persona and country-themed yarns into a bestseller, top-rated Comedy Central specials and CD/DVD sales of more than 10 million units, also found time to shoot a film, co-starring in the Billy Bob Thornton-directed “Jayne Mansfield’s Car,” which premiered at the Berlin Film Festival. “It’s a dark comedy, and I play this blowhard bowler,” says White, whose movie credits include “Sex and the City 2” and “Horrible Bosses.” “My business model is very simple: Movies have to fit in with my touring schedule. I’m a standup comedian, first and foremost.”

For White, his live audience comes first. “The best thing I have going is that I’m 55, a baby boomer and my core fan base is between 40 and 66,” he says. “We’re all aging together, and that’s given me a long shelf life.”