The Country's Best Blue-Collar Comedians

They range from down-home to urban, but the sensibility is Middle American

Blue-collar comedy is a hugely popular movement in stand-up comedy, largely inspired by working-class citizens and spawning countless tours, TV series, and comedy careers. Blue-collar humor relies on jokes and gags to which Everyman can relate, bits about the shared struggle of manual laborers and minimum-wage workers alike.

From Jeff Foxworthy's "you might be a redneck" jokes to Larry the Cable Guy's Southern trucker persona, comedians in the blue-collar genre relate to audiences known for being "home-grown" and typically Southern. However, not all these comedians are from the South: female comic Kathleen Madigan relates more to Middle American city dwellers. Here's a list of 10 of the best:

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Jeff Foxworthy

Jeff Foxworthy
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Essentially the godfather of blue-collar comedy, Jeff Foxworthy might be the nicest guy in stand-up. Creator of the famous routine "You might be a redneck if..."—which helped provide the basis for the blue-collar movement—Foxworthy organized the original Blue Collar Comedy Tour, and the rest is history.

Foxworthy, the best-selling comedian in history, has a massive body of work, with six albums, 11 books, and several TV shows including "The Jeff Foxworthy Show," "Blue Collar TV," and the FOX game show "Are You Smarter Than a Fifth Grader?"

Unlike some other blue-collar comedians, you don't get the impression that Foxworthy's "regular guy" act is a put-on.

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Larry the Cable Guy

Comedian Larry the Cable Guy
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If Foxworthy helped introduce the blue-collar comedy movement, Larry the Cable Guy took it to its extreme and became its unofficial face, outpacing many other blue-collar comics in terms of success. Ironically, he came by it the least honestly.

"Larry" actually is formerly unsuccessful comedian and radio personality Dan Whitney's adopted character, complete with a fake accent and a costume consisting of a sleeveless shirt and trucker hat. Despite that, Larry the Cable Guy has become one of stand-up comedy's highest earners, launching several successful tours and best-selling albums but garnering a few critically reviled movie flops.

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Ron White

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Though an original member of the Blue Collar Comedy Tour, Ron White is probably the least blue-collar of the touring comics. He's also placed the greatest distance between himself and the movement, finding a great deal of success as a hard-drinking, hard-living, bitterly sarcastic stand-up.

His act is often very adult and obscene, another way he stands out from other blue-collar comics. To audiences who may not enjoy the usual working-class shtick, White's act is probably the most accessible—and maybe the funniest.

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Bill Engvall

85th Annual Hollywood Christmas Parade
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Alongside fellow blue-collar comic and good friend Foxworthy, Bill Engvall is among the more "family-friendly" of the lot. He never "works blue" and a good deal of his comedy is based on his life as a family man. 

This approach to comedy might have led to his TBS sitcom "The Bill Engvall Show," which debuted in 2007. With eight albums and over two decades in stand-up, Engvall has proven himself to be hard-working and devoted to comedy.

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Jeff Dunham

Jeff Dunham Honored With Star On The Hollywood Walk Of Fame
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Though not typically associated with the movement, comedian and ventriloquist Jeff Dunham has a lot in common with some blue-collar comics: His comedy is mostly clean, he traffics in the same kind of humor—stereotypes and a pro-America sensibility—and he has become a the hit with mainstream Middle Americans.

It's hard to believe that a ventriloquist could become one of the most successful names in stand-up, but Jeff Dunham has done just that, with the highest-rated special in Comedy Central history and his own show on the same network.

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Reno Collier

Comedian Reno Collier gets his shots in during the Comedy Central Roast of Larry the Cable Guy, held at the Warner Bros. lot in Burbank, California on March 1, 2009. Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images

Reno Collier is in the second wave of blue-collar comedy, called "Blue Collar Comedy: The Next Generation." Getting his big break as an opening act for Larry the Cable Guy, Collier quickly found success and became a regular opener for acts such as Foxworthy and Ron White.

​A frequent contributor to Country Music Television, Collier may be most recognizable as host of NBC's reality show "The Great American Road Trip." He also scored laughs at Comedy Central's ​"Roast of Larry the Cable Guy" in 2009.

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John Caparulo

Comedian John Caparulo Opens His New Residency at The Comedy Lineup at Harrah's Las Vegas
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Another member of "The Next Generation," Midwesterner John Caparulo was ​the host of "Mobile Home Disasters" on CMT, is a regular contributor to "Chelsea Lately," and was a featured comedian on Vince Vaughn's "Wild West Comedy Show."

Like other members of the second wave, Caparulo is less pigeonholed as a blue-collar comedian than his predecessors, but his roots are still firmly in working-class humor. His 2009 stand-up album "Meet Cap" is full of home-grown laughs.

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Jon Reep

Nashville Comedy Festival
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When stand-up comic Jon Reep won Season Five of the NBC reality series "Last Comic Standing," it was obvious that a blue-collar comedy star had been born. Though not affiliated with the other comedians or tour, it's not difficult to see that Reep's comedy is in that genre.

He describes himself as a "Metro Jethro," or someone who grew up in a small town—in his case, Hickory, North Carolina—but now resides in a big city. Reep's comedy, like that of other blue-collar comedians, is based on applying small-town ideas to more mainstream life.

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Rodney Carrington

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Comedian and musician Rodney Carrington is one of the top touring acts in the U.S. with six successful comedy albums under his belt. In addition to starring in his own short-lived ABC sitcom, "Rodney,"  Carrington co-starred in country singer Toby Keith's movie "Beer for My Horses."

Additionally, Carrington regularly appears on CMT, where music videos for his comedic country songs—with names such as "Letter to My Penis"—are in heavy rotation. Though several blue-collar comedians combine stand-up with a country sensibility, Carrington is the only comedian on the list to succeed as a country star and stand-up comic.

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Kathleen Madigan

Comedienne Kathleen Madigan Performs A Private Show For SiriusXM Subscribers At Nashville's Third Man Records
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Kathleen Madigan presents a different side to blue-collar comedy: not only is she a female comedian, but while most others reflect Southern country sensibilities, Madigan's a more Middle American, metropolitan comic. 

Like all the blue-collar comics, though, Madigan's humor is populist and universal. She has a wealth of material about her Irish Catholic upbringing, her family, and everyday life in general. She also tours nonstop and performs in USO shows for the troops overseas.

In case there was any doubt about her blue-collar credentials, Madigan hosts a regular show on SIRIUS XM's Blue Collar Radio.