Comedian and redneck "expert" Jeffery M. Foxworthy (1958-) was born on this day in the Atlanta, Georgia suburb of Hapeville. He majored in computer technology at Georgia Tech and worked with IBM mainframes before pursuing stand-up comedy.
"Everybody thinks they know me," he once said. "It's never, 'Excuse me, Mr. Foxworthy,' which I wouldn't want. It's, 'Hey, Jeff!'"
With a natural ability to make people laugh and inspired by Bill Cosby and Bob Newhart, Foxworthy disregarded early career advice to "lose the accent."
"My thought was, you know what? At least a quarter of the country talks like I do. Why do I have to be something fake? Why can't -- this is who I am. And thank God it worked."
Winning a comedy competition in 1984, he hit the club circuit and developed his one-liner routines about rednecks, celebrating a blue collar way of life that he called "a glorious absence of sophistication."
He said, "Sophisticated people have retirement plans. Rednecks play the lottery."
In 1989, he wrote his first of many popular books on the subject You Might Be a Redneck If... and followed with comedy albums, movie and television roles, and radio shows.
"Rednecks aren't just Southerners," he said. "They're everywhere."
As the likeable host of the successful game show Are You Smarter Than a 5th Grader?, Foxworthy made the Forbes magazine power list with an estimated $10 million earning in 2007.
We are all alike, on the inside.