April 7 (UPI) -- Larry the Cable Guy is back with his first solo comedy special in more than a decade, and the longtime stand-up said not much has changed -- other than his material going from "PG-13" to "PG-12."
Larry, 57, real name Daniel Lawrence Whitney, is releasing Remain Seated, his first solo special since 2009's Tailgate Party, on Tuesday on the Comedy Dynamics network. The comedian said he has been keeping busy during the past decade with movies, TV appearances and non-solo stand-up specials alongside longtime collaborators such as Jeff Foxworthy and Bill Engvall.
He said his main focus in recent years has been offstage.
"For the last couple of years, I've been only doing about 30 shows a year. I've been concentrating on my family and enjoying life," Larry told UPI in a recent interview. He said producers from Comedy Dynamics "called me up and asked if I wanted to do one, and I had the material built up, so I said 'Yeah, sure. Let's do it.'"
Larry said preparing the material for the special was largely about organizing unused material he had accumulated over the past several years.
"You go and you do shows and you have material for your last one that you didn't use, and you build on those, so I had a ton of stuff," he said.
The accumulated material came out to about 55 minutes, so rounding out the hour required some work.
"I'm a one-liner comedian, so all my jokes are quick -- set-up, punch, set-up, punch. I'm not a storyteller," he said. "Some people do a whole bit and the laugh's at the end. They've got like a seven-minute story, and that's seven minutes they got that they just wrote.
"But I do one-liners. I can write 20 really funny one-liners, but once you put them together, that's only five minutes."
Larry said the biggest change to his stage persona since he debuted in the 1990s has been incorporating more of his own real life into the character.
"When I first came up with the character, it was completely fictional. I was making up girlfriends, making up ex-wives, because I didn't have a wife and I didn't have kids," he said. "Now I have a wife and kids, so I've incorporated my family into the character."
The performer said he also thinks his "writing's gotten better" and the character is "probably not as rough as it once was."
"I think I went from PG-13 to PG-12," he said with a laugh.
The new special includes plenty of the scatological humor and sexual innuendo for which Larry the Cable Guy became known, but he continues to steer clear of harder profanities.
"I don't need that language to make it funny," he said. "I do regular old country trailer words, but I don't drop any f-bombs, I don't take the lord's name in vain."
Larry said his language choices reflect his upbringing on a pig farm in the 1970s and living with his father, who was a preacher.
"My dad was a preacher, so anything was acceptable except taking the Lord's name in vain and dropping f-bombs. Everything else was pretty good to go."
Keeping it light
Longtime fans might also notice Remain Seated does not feature references to politics or world events -- topics the comedian had taken on in previous material.
"I think everybody's sick of that stuff," Larry said. "I know I'm sick of it, so I just want people to laugh and have fun."
Larry said he also tries to steer clear of controversy.
"Back in the day I would write a joke, and then I wouldn't want to do it, because I knew people wouldn't like it, but it was so stinking funny I didn't really care," he said.
Audiences, he said, "are way too defensive now."
"It's not like it used to be, where you could do a political joke, and they would laugh at it and move on, or they wouldn't like it and they would still move on. You can't do that anymore. Now, you do a joke, and you offend their politics, and they want to ban you from the planet. So it's not worth it," Larry said.
Larry the Cable Guy's fan base gained a younger component in 2005 when he provided the voice of Mater in Disney/Pixar's Cars and its subsequent sequels, but he said it hasn't led to an influx of younger faces at his stand-up shows.
"I still work casinos and stuff like that, so my shows have pretty much always had an age limit. I have noticed every now and then somebody will bring their kids, which is fine," he said.
"If I do something that's innuendo-y, it goes over their head, anyway. There's not a ton of bad language, so it's not like it's going to upset anybody -- not anybody that's coming to my show, anyway."
Offstage, the comedian and his wife, Cara, have been operating the Git-R-Done Foundation since 2009. The non-profit raises money for charities with a special focus on causes that benefit children and veterans.
"I enjoy helping the community, and giving back to my fans. They've bought all my stuff and they made it possible for me to have this awesome life, so I feel that it's the right thing to do," he said.
"I feel that if you've come to a certain degree of success in your field, and you've gotten it through people buying your stuff, I think it's only right to help out."
One way the non-profit raises funds is by sponsoring the Git-R-Done Golf Classic, an annual golf tournament in Lincoln, Neb. Larry said golf has become a big part of his life as he's grown older.
"Golf's a great sport when you get a little bit older," he said. "If you were athletic and you always played sports, you get older and stuff doesn't work as it used to work. I find that golf is the one sport where you can still go out and compete with somebody that's a lot younger than you. It's fun, it's challenging -- it's one of the most challenging sports out there."
Larry's other off-stage interests include highlighting comedians on Jeff & Larry's Comedy Roundup, the SiriusXM radio station he runs with Jeff Foxworthy; signing comedians to his label, Git-R-Done Records; and spending time with his family.
Larry said he's started to notice the humor genes manifesting in his son, Wyatt, 13, and daughter, Reagan, 12.
"It's funny how your kids take on the personality of their parents. My wife is very funny, but she's very reserved, a very dry sense of humor. But it's hilarious. That's what my boy is like. And my girl is just like me. She's always the clown at everything. They're both funny, they're definitely funny," he said.
Larry the Cable Guy: Remain Seated is available Tuesday from the Comedy Dynamics network on streaming platforms and on-demand.