STORY WRITTEN BY BRIAN BINGAMAN
@brianbingaman on Twitter
When you think of Ron White, cigars and a highball glass of scotch probably come to mind.
And yes, he said, the alcohol has derailed his train of thought on stage.
In a phone interview about his two March 12 shows at the Keswick Theatre, White said that after 25 years of being a die-hard “heavy scotch drinker” he doesn’t drink it anymore. He also tries to steer clear of beer. “Beer makes me fat and (does it) fast,” he said.
But don’t get the idea that Ron White’s turned into some kind of teetotaller. He and his brother-in-law, fellow comedian/actor Alex Reymundo, have been owner/operators of Number Juan small-batch tequila since 2013. Just as he used to do with scotch, he drinks Number Juan Extra Añejo straight up. Boasting that it’s “the best drink of liquor on the planet,” he said that extra añejo is cognac-like in its flavor and has won eight gold medals in two years.
If you see “Ron White” on the independent ballot for President on Election Day, yeah, it’s that Ron White. Check out www.ronwhiteforpresident.com.
“It’s like figuring out which ‘Golden Girl’ you wanna make out with,” he said of the field of candidates, while referencing the 1985-1992 sitcom. “The only one I believe is Bernie Sanders, and I don’t agree with him.”
He added that the Republican candidate he most respects is Ohio Governor John Kasich. “I’d be a better President than Donald Trump because I know the American people. He’s a billionaire from New York. He thinks the minimum wage is too high,” White said.
A reason he can claim to “know the American people” is that for the last year and a half, White has been offering his fans a VIP option, which comes with an after-party with White and a maximum of 65 people, and includes an autograph, a photo opp and a Q&A session. “I kind of enjoy it, and I didn’t think I would,” he commented, adding that he’s sometimes surprised by the questions people ask him.
The “Blue Collar Comedy Tour” alumnus has appeared in movies like “Jayne Mansfield’s Car,” “Sex and the City 2” and “Horrible Bosses,” and will play a road manager in the new Cameron Crowe/J.J. Abrams Showtime series “Roadies,” which debuts June 26 at 10 p.m., according to White. “I had a blast doing the pilot with (Crowe), and then it didn’t look like it was gonna happen because there were so many big egos involved,” he said.
With an RIAA gold certification for his album “Drunk in Public” and a Grammy nomination in 2013 for “A Little Unprofessional,” White’s the bad boy of the “Blue Collar” bunch. “I’m a little rowdy for those guys,” he said of Jeff Foxworthy, Larry the Cable Guy and Bill Engvall.
When pressured to make a public apology for a 2008 marijuana possession arrest in Vero Beach, Fla., “I said: ‘I don’t apologize for anything I do.’ I have a medical license (for marijuana), just not in Florida.”
Opening for White is Josh Blue, who actively incorporates his cerebral palsy into his humor. “Don’t give him a glass of red wine in your (tour) bus without a lid,” White quipped. “He is the funniest person I know of off stage. He laughs at his problems, even though they seem like they’re so frustrating. If I’m not on my game, he could (upstage me).”
But it doesn’t sound like White will be off his game. “It’s the strongest show I’ve ever done … this is something nobody’s ever seen,” he said.
When asked about discovering his talent for stand-up, White said: “I didn’t start till I was 29, and I’m 59 now.” Having struggled with undiagnosed Attention Deficit Disorder through high school (he didn’t graduate), “I just thought I was a dumb-ass,” he said. But when he walked on stage for the first time, “this is it — this is what my brain does,” he remembered realizing.