The Liberal Redneck: Southern Born and Southern RED
Comedy and writing partners Trae Crowder, Drew Morgan and Corey Ryan Forrester are ready to meet the people... Specifically Nov. 15 at The Capitol
You’ve seen Trae’s “Liberal Redneck” viral videos, you’ve read their weekly blog, and now you can see them at their best, performing stand-up comedy at the Cox Capitol Theatre on November 15. Brad Evans caught up with the guys recently for a few minutes, out there on the road.
Y’all had a book drop earlier this month – The Liberal Redneck Manifesto: Draggin’ Dixie Out of the Dark. I just downloaded it this morning and I can’t wait to dig into it.
Trae: So, the basic premise is that we take all these stereotypes about the South, things like “we’re all racist, we’re all homophobic” – or guns, obesity, poverty, or pills. We take these stereotypes and examine them one by one. When are they fair, when are they not? What’s the deal with that? Why is the South the way it is? We also give our opinions on how the South can do better, or how the South nails it, depending upon what we are discussing.
Drew: I think the perfect way to sum this up is: we make no apologies or excuses for racism. We do think that we get a lot of heat about it, while other places seem to avoid talking about it at all. But then we do defend guns and the gun movement, because we believe it comes from a more honest place – mistrust of the government.
How did the three of you get together? Did the tour come first? Did the book get written on the road?
Corey: We met on Grindr.
Trae: We met between gigs on tours. Corey, his hometown club is in Chattanooga, and me and Drew started at Side Splitters in Knoxville, which isn’t there anymore. When we met Corey, he’d already been doing stand-up six years or so. He started when he was sixteen, because there is something really wrong with him. He’s broken on a deep deep level. But we met pretty quickly doing that. We had similar styles. All three of us embrace being Southern, but none of us do that stereotypical Southern style of comedy like the Blue Collar Tour – not that there’s anything wrong with that. We aren’t trashing it, we just don’t do it. But we are very overtly Southern. We gravitated towards each other. The book was a no-brainer once we all started.
What are your folks like? I can remember my dad giving me a beating when I brought a black dude to our weight room one day, so until he died, some of the ideas I had about politics, or race, or whatever, took a backseat, because I didn’t want him to stop being my dad.
Trae: Well, it’s always weird for me to answer this by saying I was lucky, because it’s well known my Mama was a pillbilly. It’s kind of weird to say that I’m lucky. But I was, in that my dad, who pretty much raised me because my mom wasn’t around, was just an old rock ‘n roll redneck. Not a hippie. He didn’t hate anyone, he just wanted to have a good time. That kind of thinking kind of trickled down for me.
Corey: Both of my parents have been very conservative my entire life, and I was certainly raised in church. However, I will never stop giving them credit for never pushing me in a direction. Any time I had a question about politics or anything like that, my dad would answer it with a question. “What do you think? What do you believe?” He would let me make my own decisions. He’s always seemed to respect that. But I do understand your conflict there, and I have had some of that too, where I feel like I shouldn’t say anything. I definitely had that with my grandmother. But I was lucky in that they did encourage me to think for myself.
Drew: My folks were very religious. My dad isn’t political. He keeps money in a vault. When republicans talk about gay rights and abortion, he thinks they are just lying to him to get his vote, and he’s right. Politically, I’m lucky. They just didn’t trust any of them. The religious thing is harder with them, but ultimately, they support me.
What can we expect? Do you have more response in the South vs. anywhere else?
Trae: We spent a lot of time in the North, then in California. And we just did a show in Charlotte. It felt good to be back. When we’re in the South, it’s just better. The people that come to our shows typically are on board with us already. When we go to San Fran, those people are just liberals. They don’t really get the Southern thing. People here are exactly our people – you know what I mean.