Posted Monday, April 9, 2018 by RODNEY HOemail@example.com on his AJC Radio & TV Talk blog
I’m out of the country through April 18. I’m posting a few items that I wrote before I left. This is one of them. If you want fresh entertainment news, check out Jennifer Brett’s AJC Buzz or Melissa Ruggieri’s AJC Music Scene.
Alpharetta’s own Jeff Foxworthy is not just a savvy stand-up comic but he’s been hugely successful on the merchandise side over the years. His “You Might Be a Redneck” calendars have sold millions. He rode the wave of CD and DVDs when people used to purchase them.
He has also had his name attached to two previously popular board games using his famous ‘You Might Be a Redneck” and the Fox show “You Might Be Smarter Than a Fifth Grader.”
Inspired by the insanely popular adult card game “Cards Against Humanity,” he has created “Relative Insanity.” (Available for $20.99 on Amazon.)
He saw family members during Thanksgiving playing “Cards Against Humanity” and given its explicit nature, he got to thinking, as his creative mind is wont to do: “There’s got to be something you can play that’s still funny like that but not filthy like that. So I guess I reverse engineered it. I sat down and wrote 500 punchlines. No jokes. Just punchlines that sounded funny.”
Then he wrote 100 joke set ups on index cards, all related to family members. Players are each given seven of the punchlines and they have to picks one they think works best with the set up. Then the host has to decide which was is funniest. The person whose punchline is chosen gets a point.
For example, the set up might be “Right before he went to bed, my brother announced…”
Choices might be: “I’ve always thought your baby was ugly” or “Here’s a crazy idea… why don’t you take your hand out of your pants?” or “Them things are more fake than wrestling.”
In other words, it’s a cleaner version of the often outrageously dirty “Cards Against Humanity” though he does rely on plenty of sexual innuendo. “Suggestive,” Foxworthy said. “Not filthy.”
As reviewers on Amazon noted, though, don’t think this is for 10 year olds because it’s Foxworthy. As the front of the box notes, it’s good for folks 14 and up.
Jokes about family are de rigueur in stand up. “I’ve always operated on the premise that everyone’s family is crazy,” he said. So it was easy for him to come up with ideas such as, “When my sister walked in with her baby, my grandmother blurted out…”
He had his friends and family test it out, then he shopped it around to game makers. PlayMonster bit. They took his index cards to game experts to try to make it better. They ended up largely keeping his cards as is and told him that he must have spent a long time creating this. “I’m laughing,” Foxworthy said, with characteristic modesty. “I don’t know what I’m doing. I’m an idiot!”
“Here’s my theory,” he added. “When you play a game, if it makes you laugh, if it makes everybody laugh, you’ll play it over and over again.”
Foxworthy is always doing stand up when he’s not pitching more TV projects. He’s pondering another children’s book. “Just trying not to get a real job,” he said.
He last worked a 9-to-5 job in 1984 at IBM fixing computers. “I enjoyed the social aspect going from business to business talking to people,” he said. “Then some guys entered me in a comedy competition.” And his life changed.
Ironically, he isn’t much of a computer guy when it comes the creative process. Like the board game, he just jots his ideas down long hand. “My kids laugh at me and call me Fred Flintstone,” he said. “For some reason, if I put it in the computer to star, it’s not as funny that way.”
In fact, when he’s on stage trying to recall a joke, he sees it in his own penmanship, not in computer font. “I did this joke about all the side effects medicines have,” he said. “There were 50 of them. When I tell it, I literally see it in my head like I’m reading a page in my handwriting.”
He has stacks of yellow notebooks with jokes on them in his basement office/studio, most of them never told. “I’m on the radio [on Sirius XM] and I’ll put notebooks out and flip through to find jokes. ‘Crap! Why didn’t I tell that?’ I’ll try it that weekend.”