10 Essential Blue-collar Comedians

Blue-collar comedy is a hugely popular movement in stand-up, largely inspired by working-class citizens and spawning countless tours, TV series and several successful comedy careers. Blue-collar humor relies on jokes and gags to which the everyman can relate, bits about the shared struggle of manual laborers and minimum wage workers alike.

But do you know who the blue-collar comedians are? From Jeff Foxworthy's "you might be a redneck" jokes to Larry the Cable Guy's southern trucker persona, comedians in the blue-collar genre relate to audiences known for being "home-grown" and typically from the southern United States. However, not all comedians have to relate to the south — in fact, one female comic, Kathleen Madigan, actually relates more to middle-American city dwellers. 

Jeff Foxworthy
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Essentially the godfather of blue collar comedy, Jeff Foxworthy might be the nicest guy in stand-up. Creator of the famous routine "You might be a redneck if..." —which sort of provided the basis for the entire Blue Collar movement — Foxworthy organized the original "Blue Collar Comedy Tour" and the rest is history.

Foxworthy has a massive body of work with six albums — he's the best-selling comedian in history — 11 books and several TV shows including "The Jeff Foxworthy Show," "Blue Collar TV" and the FOX game show "Are You Smarter Than a Fifth Grader?"

His long list of credits back up his success, and unlike some other blue-collar comedians, you don't get the impression that Foxworthy's "regular guy" act is a put-on. More »

Comedian Larry the Cable Guy
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If Jeff Foxworthy helped introduce the blue-collar comedy movement, Larry the Cable Guy took it to its extreme and became its unofficial face, outpacing all of the other blue-collar comics in terms of popularity and success, making it all the more ironic is the fact that he came by it the least honestly.

"Larry" is actually unsuccessful comedian and radio personality Dan Whitney's adopted character — complete with fake accent and the costume of a sleeveless shirt and trucker hat.

Despite the nature of his act, Larry the Cable Guy has still become one of stand-up comedy's highest earners, launching several successful tours and best-selling albums yet also garnering a few critically reviled movie flops — I guess you can't win them all! More »

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Comedian Ron White
Photo courtesy of Comedy Central/Paramount

Though an original member of the "Blue Collar Comedy Tour," Ron White is probably the least blue-collar of the touring comics. He's also placed the greatest distance between himself and the movement, finding a great deal of success on his own as a hard-drinking, hard-living, bitterly sarcastic stand-up.

His act is often very adult and obscene — another way he stands out from the "Blue Collar" comedians. To audiences who may not enjoy the usual working-class comedy, White's act is probably the most accessible — and probably the funniest. More »

Comedian Bill Engvall
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Alongside fellow "Blue Collar" comic and best friend Jeff Foxworthy, Bill Engvall is one of the more "family-friendly" of the lot. He never works blue and a good deal of his comedy is based on his own life as a family man — bonus points for "working clean." 

It may be this approach to comedy that led to his own TBS sitcom, "The Bill Engvall Show," which debuted in 2007. With eight stand-up albums and over two decades in stand-up, Engvall has proven himself to be incredibly hard-working and devoted to comedy.

Even if you don't find his particular brand of clean humor funny, it's hard to disagree that he seems like a heck of a nice guy and deserving of his success. More »

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Comedian Jeff Dunham
Photo by Richard McLaren, courtesy of Shock Ink

Though perhaps not typically associated with the movement, comedian and ventriloquist Jeff Dunham actually has a lot in common with the "Blue Collar" comics: his comedy is mostly clean, he traffics in the same kind of humor — complete with stereotypes and a pro-America sensibility — and has become a huge hit with mainstream middle-Americans.

It's hard to believe that a ventriloquist act could become one of the most successful names in stand-up, but Jeff Dunham has done just that. With the highest-rated special in Comedy Central history and his own show on the same network, Dunham just keeps getting bigger and bigger — even though his lips never move! More »

Comedian Reno Collier gets his shots in during the Comedy Central Roast of Larry the Cable Guy, held at the Warner Bros. lot in Burbank, California on March 1, 2009. Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images

Reno Collier is part of the second wave of blue-collar comedy, called "Blue Collar Comedy: The Next Generation." Getting his big break as an opening act for Larry the Cable Guy, Collier quickly found success among fans of blue-collar comedy and became a regular opener for acts like Foxworthy and Ron White.

​A frequent contributor to Country Music Television, Collier may be most recognizable to many Americans as the host of NBC's reality show "The Great American Road Trip." He also scored laughs at Comedy Central's ​"Roast of Larry the Cable Guy" in 2009, proving that he could be funny outside of the blue-collar crowd. More »

Comedian John Caparulo
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Another member of "The Next Generation," Midwest native John Caparulo can be seen as the host of "Mobile Home Disasters" on CMT. He's also a regular contributor to "Chelsea Lately" and was a featured comedian on Vince Vaughn's "Wild West Comedy Show."

Like other members of "The Next Generation," Caparulo is less pigeonholed as a blue-collar comedian than his predecessors, but his roots are still firmly in working-class humor. For evidence, check out his 2009 stand-up album, "Meet Cap." It's full of home-grown laughs! More »

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Comedian Jon Reep
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When stand-up comic Jon Reep won Season Five of the NBC reality series "Last Comic Standing," it was obvious that a blue-collar comedy star had been born. Though not affiliated with the other comedians or tour, it's not difficult to see that Reep's comedy is decidedly in the genre.

he describes himself as a "Metro Jethro," or someone who grew up in a small town — in his case, Hickory, North Carolina — but now resides in a big city. Reep's comedy, like other Blue Collar comedians, is based in applying those "small town" ideas to everyday life. More »

Comedian Rodney Carrington
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Comedian and musician Rodney Carrington is one of the top touring acts in the U.S. with six successful comedy albums under his belt. In addition to being the star of his own short-lived ABC sitcom "Rodney," Carrington went on to co-star in country star Toby Keith's movie ​"Beer for My Horses."

Additionally, Carrington regularly appears on CMT where music videos for his comedic country songs — with names like "Letter to My Penis" — are in heavy rotation. Though several of the blue-collar comedians combine stand-up with a country sensibility, Carrington is the only comedian on the list to successfully be both a country star and a stand-up comic. More »

Comedian Kathleen Madigan
Photo by Alberto E. Rodriguez

Kathleen Madigan represents a different side to blue-collar comedy — not only is she the only female comedian, but whereas most others reflect Southern sensibilities, Madigan's a more middle-American, metropolitan comic. 

Like all of the blue-collar comics, though, Madigan's humor is populist and universal — she has a wealth of material about her Irish Catholic upbringing, her family and everyday life in general. She's also incredibly hard working, touring nonstop and performing in U.S.O. shows for the troops overseas. 

And, just in case there was any doubt about her blue-collar credentials, Madigan hosts a regular show on SIRIUS XM's Blue Collar Radio. Boo-yah! More »