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New Act, New Drink

Comedian returns with fresh material

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Photographs by Courtesy photo

That drink in Ron White’s hand is not scotch. It’s Number Juan tequila — which he owns.

With 30 years of constant touring, it's impossible that comedian Ron White hasn't performed somewhere close to you before (especially since he's visited Northwest Arkansas several times). But if you've somehow missed him, White returns to The Natural State with two performances May 19 at Fort Smith's new entertainment venue, Temple Live. And if you haven't missed him, White's performances in Fort Smith are full of completely unpublished material for his upcoming Netflix special, so he promises you haven't heard any of the jokes before.

Even after three decades of doing it, "it's no easier to write stuff that's good enough to go in my show," White admits of his high standards from his home in Austin, Texas. "I change the show one joke at a time so I never go, 'OK, here's a whole new set.' So it's already a little different than the [set] that's coming out in October on Netflix. But when I write something funny enough to put in the show, I can look at the show and take something out -- usually it's the thing that's been in there the longest. So I constantly change it a little bit at a time.

FAQ

Ron White

WHEN — 7 & 10 p.m. May 19

WHERE — Temple Live, 200 N. 11th Street in Fort Smith

COST — $69.50-$79.50; 7 p.m. show is sold out

INFO — 222-6186, templelive.com

"If you come see it two and a half years after you saw it, it'll pretty much be a different show completely," he adds. "And if you just want to see the same thing again, which people do, just come out and see it again."

White's 7 p.m. show at Temple is already sold out so promoters added a 10 p.m. show, keeping White to a tight schedule the night of (doors open at 9 p.m. for the second performance). Back-to-back shows are just part of it for White, though -- the man keeps a pretty crazy schedule.

"When I'm in Beverly Hills, I do three sets -- I do The Comedy Store, the Laugh Factory and the Improv," he says of the town which is his second home. "So I'll do big shows on Thursday, Friday, Saturday, then I'll fly back there on Sunday, and I'll do Monday three sets, Tuesday three sets, Wednesday three sets, then I'll fly out Thursday and do big shows. So I do stand-up every day of my life."

After rising to fame as the cigar-smoking, scotch-drinking, sarcasm-dripping "bad boy" of Jeff Foxworthy's Blue Collar Comedy Tour quartet, White's fortunes have only escalated. He's been one of the top three grossing stand-up comedians on tour in America the last nine years, and his accolades and chart-toppers only continue to multiply.

"It's my seventh album," he says of the current touring show, "and all of them have been No. 1 comedy albums, three of them have been nominated for Grammys, and I think this is the best one yet.

"It was never my goal to get to where I am today," White continues. "It was my goal to continue to do stand-up til the day I died, and then all this happened. And thank God it did, because my retirement plan was, 'Maybe something neat'll happen.' That's it. Don't recommend that plan, by the way, but it did work for me."

Something neat that did happen was White's purchase and founding of the Number Juan tequila company with lifelong friend and Latin Kings of Comedy member Alex Reymundo. That's right, the man known almost as much for the ever-present glass of scotch in his hand as for his "Tater Salad" nickname has been holding only his award-winning tequila in that glass for the past six years.

"A lot of people think I drink scotch, but I don't; I only drink Number Juan tequila, my brand. I bought the company because I couldn't get the tequila here, and other tequila tastes kind of like mud compared to it. So it's unbeatable tequila," White says of his slow-growing company. The liquor isn't available in Arkansas yet, but it is available for shipping. White's not so worried about mass-production, though. "We really just drink all we can and sell the rest. It's a rare tequila.

"Comedy's been very, very good to me so I get to do some fun things."

NAN What's Up on 05/13/2018

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