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Guffaw Guys

Dr. Laura.



From left, Bill Engvall, Ron White and Larry the Cable Guy, whose (Matthew Staver For The Washington Post)


Fats at flea market.


His style is fast. "Eight seconds per joke," he says. "Jokes on the way to telling the joke."

"Yeah, I love critters," Larry says in his act. "I got a horse with a broke leg, so I had to shoot it." Beat. "Now it's got a broke leg and a gunshot wound." Beat. "What the hell you shot 'em for?" Beat. "They say it helps the healing process." Beat. "If it ain't better next week I'm going to shoot it again."

He admires vaudeville, Henny Youngman, early Steve Martin. "I'm one of those annoying one-liner comics." Like: "I was seeing this good-looking girl in Miami for about three weeks. Then somebody stole my binoculars out of the truck." In a 70-minute show, he might hit 360 jokes.

That's the general gist. The audience howls. And while Larry doesn't use much profanity, he is obsessed with bathroom humor: grandmothers with flatulence, flatulence at the gym, combustion involving flatulence.

"Look," he explains. "I'm not trying to change the world. I'm just doing comedy that makes people laugh. Goofy stuff. My act is nonsense. Everyday things. Other comedians would call it lowbrow. Who cares? That's what we laugh at. It's a guilty pleasure. I understand it's stupid. But I'm not running for president."

Engvall comes backstage after his set. He is wearing a blue oxford shirt without a drop of sweat.

"Now I'm getting nervous," Larry says.

"You should be," Engvall says. "Bring out the body bags. I killed."

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