Today’s cuppa: Bag Ladies English breakfast tea

larrythecableguy_bluecollar_240.jpgOn Sunday, Jan. 31, the man who made sleeveless plaid shirts a down-home fashion statement — in real life, he’s Dan Whitney, but onstage, he plays a character called Larry the Cable Guy — comes to Comedy Central with the dual goals of thanking his fans and helping some people in need.

“Larry the Cable Guy: Tailgate Party” airs Sunday on Comedy Central. Taped at Memorial Stadium in Lincoln, Neb., it features around 50,000 fans who got in for only $4 each.

“It was awesome,” says Whitney. “It went really, really well. It sounds good; the jokes all hit. I was really on fire that night. It’s the largest taped standup special in history.”

In his free time, Whitney has created the Git-R-Done Foundation, which, last December, donated $1.2 million to develop a new, 14-bed children’s rehabilitation center within the Madonna Rehabilitation Hospital in Lincoln, Neb. Inspired by the story of a 13-month-old Texas girl who suffered a brain injury in 2008, it’s to be called “The Alexis Verzal Children’s Rehabilitation Hospital at Madonna.”

“She was so brain-damaged,” says Whitney, “that she couldn’t walk, talk, hear, lost some of her eyesight. Then, since they’ve been working with her, she can walk, she can talk, she can see. She slurs a few words, but she’s really getting back on the right track.

“That touched my wife really big. So when we gave the money, they asked us what we were going to call it, and right there, at that second, we looked at each other and said, ‘We’re going to name it after that little girl.'”

Whitney is from Nebraska, and splits his time between there and a home in Florida. One reason he chose Madonna is that, while it raises the profile of Lincoln and helps Nebraskans, it also helps children from all other parts of the country.

“My foundation, we have a tall order,” says Whitney. “We give to families in need. You can’t give to everybody, but every little bit helps.”

But considering the sometimes ribald and risque humor of a Larry the Cable Guy show, Whitney doesn’t plan to be talking much about his charity work during the performance.

“I talked about it one time on stage,”
he says, “and it felt a little awkward out there, after talking about my Grandpa tucking his nuts into his socks. I don’t think it’s right to talk about kids with brain injuries right after it, so I quit doing that.”

Whitney says he has an animated show coming out on CMT (Country Music Television) sometime in 2011, called “Lazy Acres.”

He also has a show coming out on History Channel, probably this fall, called “The United States of Larry.”

According to a statement issued last week from History president/GM Nancy Dubuc, Whitney will be “immersing himself in different lifestyles, jobs and hobbies that celebrate the American experience.”

Says Whitney, “It’s a cross between ‘Dirty Jobs’ and ‘How It’s Made,’ so that’ll be pretty cool.”