Jeff Foxworthy sorts through scraps of paper to find his latest "You Might Be a Redneck" jokes.
Turns out you might be a redneck if you get pulled over for a speeding ticket with a mattress propped atop your car — Foxworthy saw that happen on the highway recently and knew he had to write it down.
You just might be a redneck if nothing under your Christmas tree is paid for. If you think "recipe for disaster" has something to do with your wife's chili, you might be a redneck. And if your wife's boss paid for her boob job, you might be a redneck.
"A guy told me that his wife works at a dentist's office and in lieu of a Christmas bonus he offered her breast augmentation — now, how many red flags is that?" Foxworthy says.
Foxworthy cranks out 365 "redneck" jokes a year for his popular one-a-day calendars alone, and finds examples everywhere.
"The greatest success with my stand-up routine is not when I make stuff up, it's the true stuff," Foxworthy says, noting that "redneck" jokes are just a small part of his routine.
"Even with the redneck jokes: If you have a complete set of bowls and they all say Cool Whip on the side of them, well, that's my sister. I know my sister has good dishes somewhere, but you never see them."
Foxworthy's redneck humor has been inspired by his upbringing in Hapeville, Ga., just south of Atlanta, he said. During summers, he would stay with his grandmother in her trailer in Denmark, S.C.
"We didn't grow up in a Dumpster, but we had a dirt yard. All you know is what you know. I never felt like I was deprived."
But he does remember the sting of going to the north side of town as a kid and being made fun of because of what he was wearing and what kind of car he was driving. It's a feeling that returned to him later in life, when as an IBM employee-turned budding comic in the early 1980s, he traveled to the nation's largest cities with his stand-up routine.
"I always wore blue jeans and cowboy boots and had this accent. It was pretty good-natured but I'd hear, 'Oh, Foxworthy, you're nothing but an old redneck from Georgia.' I was in Detroit at this comedy club that was attached to a bowling alley. They're calling me a redneck.
"I look next door and there are people going to a bowling alley with valet parking. I thought, if you don't think you have rednecks, go look out the window. People are valet parking at the bowling alley. Lord, I know what I am, but obviously a lot of people don't."
Foxworthy went on to make the line "You Might Be a Redneck If … " what he'll most be remembered for.
These days, after living in Los Angeles for eight years, Foxworthy is back in Georgia near old friends and family. He does a syndicated radio show and just released a comedy CD, The Best of Jeff Foxworthy: Double Wide, Single Minded on Rhino Records.
He's heard it said that someone who's lived on the West Coast and made a lot of money doesn't know what it's like anymore to be working-class. But Foxworthy says fame and fortune haven't taken the redneck out of him.
"Elvis had $100 million and he had carpet on the ceiling," he said. "I've gone from a dirt yard and I have a beautiful home, and made more money than I ever dreamed of making. I'm wearing jeans and a T-shirt. I'm the same guy, I have the same friends, and I live next door to my brother."