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Ginger Billy bringing backwoods humor to Riverside Casino Event Center
Comedian finds new direction from switching careers
Ginger Billy could be the punch line to many of Jeff Foxworthy's "You Might Be a Redneck" jokes.
Ginger Billy, aka Adam Parkins, grew up and lives in the backwoods of South Carolina and has a number of self-described “trashy tattoos.” While coming of age in the hinterland, Parkins sported a mullet and kicked back by indulging in rural activities.
“I was a shy kid growing up, but I was always looking for a way to make people laugh,” Parkins said.
If you go
What: Ginger Billy
Where: Riverside Casino Event Center, 3184 Highway 22, Riverside
When: 8 p.m. Friday, Jan. 27, 2023; 9:30 p.m. meet and greet, $50 separate ticket
Tickets: $25 to $45, casino Gift Shop, 1-(877) 677-3456 or riversidecasinoandresort.com/eventcenter.html
Artist’s website: gingerbillycomedy.com/ginger-billy
Parkins, 35, loved comedy as a teenager. Now the married father of a son, he particularly enjoyed Foxworthy and his Blue Collar Comedy mates Larry the Cable Guy, Bill Engvall and Ron White.
“Larry the Cable Guy is perfect humor for a kid,” Parkins said while calling from his South Carolina home. “Teenagers love silly humor. I loved Larry the Cable Guy and the Jim Carrey movies ‘Dumb and Dumber’ and ‘Ace Ventura.’ But the funny thing is that I never wanted to be a comedian.”
Parkins became a respiratory therapist.
“I saved lives working in critical care for 14 years,” he said. “I dealt with gunshot victims, people who were in car wrecks. I was the guy who operated life support. What I did was anything but funny.”
Parkins was impressed with the medical crew who saved Buffalo Bills safety Damar Hamlin’s life after he suffered cardiac arrest during a game earlier this month.
“They did an amazing job,” Parkins said. “I’m blown away by the fact that the least-paid guys on the field did the most amazing thing to react like they did. Medics save so many lives and they don’t get paid like they should. It’s a noble profession. I was proud of what I did for all those years.”
However, Parkins found another calling three years ago after crafting comedy videos.
“I was shocked how they blew up,” Parkins said. “Some of the videos I made got 30 million views. Now when I make my videos if I don’t get 5 million views I feel like a failure.”
Parkins was performing as a comic and toiling as a health care professional for a year but then the pandemic hit.
“I was told that I would have to shave my beard after the coronavirus hit,” Parkins said. “There was no way I could do that, so I quit that job since my beard is part of who I am as a comedian. I’m also glad I left that line of work then because I know how stressful it became. My wife is a nurse and it took a lot out of her. So I focused on being a comic and making my videos.”
You might be a redneck if you blow up stuff on your 32-acre property like Parkins was doing last week.
“The cool thing is that I can make a lot of wild videos where I am, because I’m isolated out here,” he said. “I love living out here.”
Expect Parkins to deliver anecdotes when he appears Friday in the Riverside Casino Event Center.
“I talk about my life,” he said. “I talk about growing up. I talk about my marriage. I tell people that my wife is the man of the house. I have fun talking about the family stuff and my past. I’m so different than how I was as a kid.”
The physical difference between teenage Parkins and now is dramatic. He was a scrawny kid who had a full head of hair and was clean shaven. Now, he’s bald, bearded and muscular.
“I lucked into weightlifting,” he said. “It wasn’t my idea. My best friend, who was like my brother, started lifting weights and he encouraged me to try it, and I loved it. He was killed six years ago, but I think about him all the time, since lifting is one of the best things that ever happened to me. I have a very good build. I was blessed genetically. I’m looking good.”
However, few comics have six packs, like Parkins.
“I’m fine with that, because I didn’t want to be another fat comedian,” he said. “There are enough of them.”
Parkins is looking forward to returning to Iowa, especially since it looks to be warmer than when he made his initial appearance in 2019.
“It was so cold,” he said. “It was minus 4 degrees. I didn’t have a coat for that kind of weather. I remember ... buying a coat that you could scale Mount Everest with. It’s got to be warmer this time.”
The temperature will be tolerable for Parkins, who will be back delivering his folksy stories.
“I get to do what I love,” he said. “It’s a great deal. The crazy thing is that a few years ago, I was doing something completely different, not ever having an idea that I could be a comedian. Life is crazy.”