No one would ever accuse Ron White of keeping things to himself.
The scotch-swilling, cigar-chomping Texan, who performs January 21 at the Clay Center, is one of the biggest names in comedy, and will talk about anything on his mind.
The Blue Collar Comedy Tour vet has a lot on his mind. Currently, he’s thinking a lot about Patron, politics and promoting “Roadies,” a new series coming to Showtime in March.
The comedy, produced by Cameron Crowe (“Almost Famous”) and J.J. Abrams (“Star Wars: The Force Awakens”), revolves around the backstage happenings of a road crew for a superstar rock band on tour.
White plays Phil, “the most famous and colorful road manager of all time.”
“It’s a big, big project,” White said from his hotel room in Las Vegas. “Abrams is basically Spielberg for this generation, and Cameron Crowe is just amazing.”
But the show almost didn’t happen.
After the premium cable network picked up the initial pilot, one of the stars, Christina Hendricks (“Mad Men”), abruptly dropped out, throwing the entire project in doubt.
The comedian blamed himself.
“I was like, ‘Oh great, I’m just the kiss of death for television shows,’” he said.
So much for that, he thought. But Crowe and the network arrived at a replacement, though White worried he might get called back for re-shoots. Almost every shot with Hendricks had to be retaken.
“Most of my dialogue was in these long blocks of material,” he said. “I was worried I might have to learn it again. It took me a long time to do that, and no time at all to forget it.”
White lucked out. They were able to shoot around his material, which is good. White is a very busy man.
Besides the television show and his stand-up career, the comedian has a tequila company with his brother-in-law, comedian Alex Reymundo, called Number Juan Tequila.
“We’ve been in the country 24 months and won nine gold medals, two silver medals and two bronze medals,” he said, boasting, “It’s the best tequila in the world.”
White doesn’t physically distill the tequila himself, but instead imports it from an 80-year-old small-batch distillery in Mexico.
“It was never sold in the U.S., only in Mexico, and only at high-end results,” he said. “It took us four year to convince them to let us sell it here.”
Known to sip a glass of scotch on stage, White said he’s always been a fan of tequila.
“A lot of my childhood was spent drinking crappy tequila and puking it through my nose,” he said.
This is the good stuff, White swore, but people in West Virginia will just have to take his word. Currently, Number Juan Tequila isn’t available in the state.
Beyond television, touring and tequila, White has also thrown his hat into the ring for the presidency — no joke.
The comedian has a platform and, given half a chance, can bloviate with the best of them. White said the difference between him and the other, more mainstream candidates is he’s sincere and he’s focused on the real problems facing America.
“The biggest problem we have is crystal meth,” he said. “It’s not ISIS. ISIS killed 14 people that one time, and it wasn’t really ISIS. Crystal meth kills 100 people a day.”
Drugs like cocaine are relatively benign compared to meth.
“Cocaine is almost good for you compared to meth,” he said. “Meth turns you into a monster.”
White believes the country needs to have a common sense war on drugs, which would be to aggressively eradicate meth labs, using military forces if necessary, and fund operations through taxes on legalized marijuana.
“This is what I believe, but it’s not funny,” he said. He added, “Which is why I don’t talk about it at the show.”
What White will talk about on stage is immigration: Republican front-runner Donald Trump is all wrong about immigration and the idea of building an 800-mile wall separating Texas and Mexico.
“That guy, El Chapo, did you see the tunnel he used to escape?” White joked. “It was six-by-six with beams. It was the nicest tunnel I’ve ever seen. It had a fountain and a Dairy Queen.”
The U.S., added White, would have better luck trying to keep Canada geese out by putting up a net.
Reach Bill Lynch at firstname.lastname@example.org, 304-348-5195 or follow @LostHwys on Twitter.