May 12, 2009 / 2:56 AM / 11 years ago

Comedian Ron White aims to have the last laugh

NASHVILLE (Billboard) - Comedian Ron White’s new album, “Behavioral Problems,” recently debuted at No. 1 on Billboard’s Top Comedy Albums chart. But White, who made a name for himself on the Blue Collar Comedy Tour with Jeff Foxworthy, Bill Engvall and Larry the Cable Guy, says the new album will be his last.

“Three’s kind of a magic number with comedy albums,” he says, “and I’ve really done more than that because of all the Blue Collar stuff. I just don’t want to overstay (my welcome).”

Instead, White will focus on touring. “The live show is staying real steady,” he says. “That’s not true for everybody, so I’m happy about that. People don’t have the disposable cash that they did.”

White began paying his comedy-act dues in 1986, doing 50 weeks per year on the road for 15 years, and he no longer performs some of his best-known material. “It’s comedy, not like a song,” he says. “If you know the joke, you know the joke.”

“Behavioral Problems” (Capitol Nashville) touches on material as diverse as bidets (“Fifty million gay men can’t be wrong”), his bust for possessing seven-eighths of a gram of marijuana (“When I have seven-eighths of a gram of marijuana, I consider myself to be out of marijuana”) and writer Norman Mailer, who died at 84 after a life in which he drank daily, smoked pot, was married six times and stabbed his second wife (“I’ve never read one of his books, but I got to tell you, I’m a huge fan”).

White, who doesn’t so much tell jokes as share hilarious tales, says he’s always been a storyteller. “When I was a kid, 10 people could see the same car crash, but I would see it in a funny way,” he says. “I’ve got this dysfunctional brain. For some reason it processes information and it comes out funny.”

The chart performance of his new release returns White to familiar territory: His 2006 set “You Can’t Fix Stupid” also bowed at No. 1 and has sold 339,000 copies, according to Nielsen SoundScan. His best-selling album remains 2003’s “Drunk in Public” (527,000).

His most recent Comedy Central special, which aired April 19 (also titled “Behavioral Problems”), drew 3.3 million viewers, according to the network, and ranks as Comedy Central’s most-watched stand-up special of the year.

Meanwhile, White has inked a new deal with Comedy Central for “The Ron White Show,” a half-hour program that will be shot in Atlanta. White will offer his “dysfunctional” take on national stories, focusing on the heartland.

(Editing by Sheri Linden at Reuters)

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