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'My dad is the OG redneck' - Trae Crowder on culture, politics, and dragging Dixie into the spotlight

Arsonhouse Entertainment

The wellRED Comedy Tour is landing Saturday night (8/17) at the Englert Theatre in Iowa City, featuring (from left) Drew Morgan, headliner Trae Crowder and Corey Ryan Forrester. They’re touring in support of their best-selling book, “Liberal Redneck Manifesto: Draggin’ Dixie Outta the Dark.”
Arsonhouse Entertainment The wellRED Comedy Tour is landing Saturday night (8/17) at the Englert Theatre in Iowa City, featuring (from left) Drew Morgan, headliner Trae Crowder and Corey Ryan Forrester. They’re touring in support of their best-selling book, “Liberal Redneck Manifesto: Draggin’ Dixie Outta the Dark.”

You might be a redneck if the only flag you own is confederate. It’s not a Jeff Foxworthy joke, but it hits home for comic-writer Trae Crowder.

“My dad is the OG redneck,” Crowder said by phone from his Los Angeles home. “My dad raised me to be agnostic and loved his gay brother. But as progressive as he was, my dad had all kinds of Confederate flags in his house. He had this giant Confederate flag in his bedroom.”

Crowder, co-author of the best-seller, “The Liberal Redneck Manifesto: Draggin’ Dixie Out of the Dark,” riffs about the South when he performs.

“When I was a kid the Confederate flag was ubiquitous where I lived in Tennessee,” he said. “The South wasn’t a very forward-thinking place 20-some years ago. But the cool thing is that things have changed. You’ll still see the Confederate flag in the South, and actually all over the country, including places like Maine and New Hampshire, but the cool thing is that people in their 20s don’t bat an eye when it comes to those who are gay or when they see interracial couples.

“We’ve come a long way over the last 25 years. Yes, there are still some people that hate homosexuals but I have a theory that they hate homosexuals because it makes them feel better about themselves. They view homosexuality as the ultimate sin. They think they’re closer to God because they’re straight,” Crowder said.

Like many recent upstarts in the changing world of entertainment, Crowder, who grew up in a hardscrabble, rural Tennessee town, became a known commodity three years ago courtesy of a video that went viral.

Some pundits were skeptical of the wise guy/philosopher with the molasses-thick accent. But Crowder proved he is not a flash in the pan. The quirky humorist continued to produce videos, which built a solid fan base.

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He tours with his comedy and book-writing partners, Drew Morgan and Corey Ryan Forrester, who will open for him when they hit the Englert Theatre in Iowa City on Saturday night (8/17).

“I have a lot of fun with those guys,” Crowder said. “We’ll come into Iowa and each do our set and just have fun. This whole ride has been a blast for me.”

It didn’t get any better for Crowder than when he appeared on HBO’s “Real Time with Bill Maher” the week Donald Trump won the presidential election.

“That was absolutely surreal,” Crowder said. “That show is a well-oiled machine. On top of being on the show, I appeared during a crazy time in American history. America was hit with a gut punch. It was such a cool experience being on that program, but it’s so cool doing these live shows.”

Crowder will talk about politics, which is always part of his act, and life in Los Angeles when he performs in Iowa City.

“It’s a different life out here with coastal people,” he said. “It really has been fascinating.”

Politics is always part of Crowder’s act, and audiences can expect him to discuss the 2020 Presidential election.

“This is a huge deal, and I hope this time that people get out and vote,” Crowder said. “You saw what happened the last time people in this country didn’t vote. Donald Trump won the election. I hope at the end of the day that whomever the Democratic nominee is, that America will rally around that person and go vote. I’m hopeful. I know some Republicans who voted for Trump, and they say that they regret it.

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“It’ll be interesting to see what happens. I couldn’t stand George W. Bush, but if I could snap my fingers and trade him out to be President, I would do it. We need to move on from where we are. The good thing is that the election isn’t that far away.”

Besides touring, Crowder, Morgan and Forrester are pitching television show concepts, too.

“We’re hoping to do something like a Chappelle’s Show,” Crowder said. “It would be amazing to do something like that. In the meantime, we’re on the road having the time of our lives just sharing what we think.”

Get Out!

WHAT: Comedian Trae Crowder, with Drew Morgan and Corey Ryan Forrester opening

WHERE: Englert Theatre, 221 E. Washington St., Iowa City

WHEN: 8 p.m. Saturday (8/17)

TICKETS: $20 and $55, Englert Box Office, (319) 688-2653 or Englert.org

ARTISTS’ WEBSITE: Wellredcomedy.com

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