The Blue Collar comic hits the big screen in the Disney/Pixar flick

You say the name, Larry the Cable Guy, and everyone knows who it is. He's one part redneck - ok, 100% redneck - but, also full of laughs. He's part of the Blue Collar Comedy Tour with Bill Engvall, Ron White, and of course Jeff Foxworthy.

When I last talked to Larry the Cable Guy, it was about his first big time starring role as Health Inspector. We discussed working on that movie, but when I mentioned Cars, you could tell how excited he was about being a voice in the film.

In the Disney/Pixar movie, he plays Mater the tow truck who is without a doubt, the scene stealer of the movie. I had the chance to sit down with Larry at the Lowe's Motor Speedway in Charlotte, North Carolina during the junket for Cars. Because of some other interviews going on in the same suite, we went down to the window right in front of the track and infield. The trucks were on the track driving into the infield to park and unload the cars.

I had to start the interview talking about the view we had; we both thought it was a pretty good look-out point. Larry's response was definitely more straight to the point; he said, "Yeah, it's crazy isn't it; grass and trucks and a circular race track. It don't get better than this! People got the Rocky Mountains, some people got the ocean; we got the track!"

I almost couldn't get a straight answer out of him the whole time which made this one of the most fun interviews I've had in a long time. Here's how it went:

You're obviously a huge NASCAR fan.

Larry the Cable Guy: Oh yeah!

Who's your favorite car?{@@@[email protected]@@}{@@@[email protected]@@}Larry the Cable Guy: Michael Waltrip; over the years, I was always a Dick Trickle fan for a long time. I love Dick Trickle; but, Michael Waltrip now.

Where did you grow up?{@@@[email protected]@@}{@@@[email protected]@@}Larry the Cable Guy: I grew up in a little town called Pawnee City, Nebraska; I lived there for 16 years and then I moved to Florida. So I've actually lived in Florida longer; I've been there over 20 years. I kind of claim both as my own.

Talk about the 43 car; what was it like to have Richard Petty in this movie?{@@@[email protected]@@}{@@@[email protected]@@}Larry the Cable Guy: It's pretty cool; I met him one other time up in California when I was the Grand Marshall for the Sonoma race. Yeah, he's awesome; we're wearing the same jeans - 20X Wranglers, so we got a little thing in common. And Bonnie Hunt and I, we're wearing the same thong! So yeah, it's really weird. Yeah, me and Richard have the same jeans; me and Bonnie have the same thong.

Different size, though.{@@@[email protected]@@}{@@@[email protected]@@}Larry the Cable Guy: Well yeah, obviously. Hers is cleaner, too. Mine didn't start out as a thong, they were shorts and now they've worked its way to a thong.

How did you get involved in this movie?{@@@[email protected]@@}{@@@[email protected]@@}Larry the Cable Guy: You know what; they were looking for a voice for this tow truck and they couldn't find one. Then, John Lassiter told me about how they were looking for a voice; he had heard of Blue Collar. He had heard of Jeff before, but had never heard of the others. So he was there doing work in his office, he popped the CD in on the off chance he might hear something he liked and the first thing he heard was me. And he was like, 'What the hell! That's it, man; that's Mater, that's my tow truck.' He got me on the phone and the next thing I know is they sent me this thing asking me if I wanted to do it - and, of course, yeah; who wouldn't want to do it? And not only that, they offered me almost $500! I said, 'Shut!'

$499 was pushing it.{@@@[email protected]@@}{@@@[email protected]@@}Larry the Cable Guy: Yeah, exactly. So, you mean to tell me for $500 all I have to do is talk into the microphone and read off a paper, shut! I'll do this all day. So yeah, I did that and it was awesome! I started doing that in February, 2003.

Have you ever driven a tow truck?{@@@[email protected]@@}{@@@[email protected]@@}Larry the Cable Guy: Nope, never driven a tow truck; I've needed a tow truck on several occasions, but never driven one. No, you know what, I take that back; I didn't drive it, but I got a job as a tow truck driver for three months to get ready for the role. And then after I did it, I thought, 'That was stupid, what did I need to do that for? It has nothing to do with the movie.'

So how did you get into your inner-tow truck?{@@@[email protected]@@}{@@@[email protected]@@}Larry the Cable Guy: Well, I just had to believe I was a tow truck. I put on 1700 pounds and tried to do it that way.

And you look fantastic.{@@@[email protected]@@}{@@@[email protected]@@}Larry the Cable Guy: Well, thank you.

You worked it off.{@@@[email protected]@@}{@@@[email protected]@@}Larry the Cable Guy: I've lost a lot of it. I tell people I've lost my tow truck weight.

Have people come up to you talking about Mater?{@@@[email protected]@@}{@@@[email protected]@@}Larry the Cable Guy: Yeah, the little kids come up and they say, 'Hey Mater!' Which is awesome, I think that's awesome! Or they'll go, 'Mater, Get R Done;' they'll do my Get R Done line. I just think it's cool; it's cool to bring in a different fan base and I think that's awesome. The only thing that stinks now is on my autograph, on my autograph before, I used to write, 'Get R Done, Larry the Cable Guy.' Now I gotta write, 'Get R Done, Dag Gone, Larry the Cable Guy, AKA Mater.' It takes me for daggone long ever. Every time I see a kid come up with a Mater car, I'm like, 'Oh, damn.'

And you were able to use your line in the movie.{@@@[email protected]@@}{@@@[email protected]@@}Larry the Cable Guy: I got one Get R Done in there, so that was pretty cool. I had to have something to identify me with the truck; oh, well, like my voice doesn't do it. But it was cool, John let me do that; he's a real good guy and I got to put one Get R Done in there. He's a fan of it and they love it at NASCAR; they shout it out in NASCAR all the time, so they had to put it in.

Have you ever thought about buying a NASCAR?{@@@[email protected]@@}{@@@[email protected]@@}Larry the Cable Guy: No, I haven't. I do sponsor a short track car in Florida; I have for the past couple years. But not myself; it's too expensive, daggone. I'd like to have a Larry the Cable Guy car out there in NASCAR, but you know, it's only a million and a half a race and there's no way I'd do that.

Well, look at that. There's a Super Cuts car and if Super Cuts can have a car.{@@@[email protected]@@}{@@@[email protected]@@}Larry the Cable Guy: Yeah, Super Cuts has that one.

And there's a Holiday Inn one.{@@@[email protected]@@}{@@@[email protected]@@}Larry the Cable Guy: Yeah, Holiday Inn and Super Cuts. You know, let me look into this a little further.

I think you might be able to.{@@@[email protected]@@}{@@@[email protected]@@}Larry the Cable Guy: Well, if I see a Motel 6 one out there, maybe I'll go and get me one of them.

So are you going to get in any of the cars and test them out this weekend?{@@@[email protected]@@}{@@@[email protected]@@}Larry the Cable Guy: You know what, I'm going to leave that to professionals; I have a lot to live for. I've done guest races, short track; they'd let me in the car and I'd do a pit crew race. My cousin raced, so I'd take it around the track; it's a lot of fun, but I'll leave that to the professionals.

What's your favorite kind of car?{@@@[email protected]@@}{@@@[email protected]@@}Larry the Cable Guy: Well, I'm not a big car guy, I'm a truck guy. So I drive a 2000 Dodge, up on a 12 inch with 38 Mickeys on it; and then I have a Yukon on a 6 inch with 35 pro comps, so that's what I like to drive.

Which one is your favorite between the two?{@@@[email protected]@@}{@@@[email protected]@@}Larry the Cable Guy: The Dodge; oh yeah, the dodge is my favorite

Which one do you drive more?{@@@[email protected]@@}{@@@[email protected]@@}Larry the Cable Guy: The truck; but I've got a regular Dodge, too. That one's normal and just sits normal on the farm there. It's a lot easier to throw hay bells off from one lower to the ground.

Do you remember your first driving experience?{@@@[email protected]@@}{@@@[email protected]@@}Larry the Cable Guy: Yeah, I do; it was up in Pawnee City and we were going fishing. I was 14 and I was riding with my mom's friend, and he let me drive to the pond which was 7 miles away and I wanted to just gun it. He told me, 'Well, if you're going to gun it, gun it.' And so he put his foot on the pedal and it went (makes vroom sound) - we tore out of there and squealed and we did a complete doughnut right there in the thing cause I didn't know what I was doing. He kind of got freaked out, too; and then all of a sudden, here come the sheriff down the main road and all he did was point at me and make this thing like 'shame, shame, shame.' He was pretty cool. That was my first driving experience; first time I was in a vehicle, right there.

What do you want people to know about this movie?{@@@[email protected]@@}{@@@[email protected]@@}Larry the Cable Guy: You know what, as far as any Pixar movie I've seen, it's got the most heart in it; it lets you know it's not all about winning like the saying goes. It's about your friends along the way, your family along the way; there's things a lot more important than the prize. You know, the prize - if you get it, it's good, but there's a lot more important things on the way. George Straight has a song about it called 'There's a difference between living and living well.' I mean, you can have all the money in the world, and you can have all the trophies in the world, but if you have no one to share it with, what good is it, big deal. So there's a lot of people who would trade those trophies to have some friendship and some companionship. So that's basically what this is telling you. It's a good family story and it's got a lot of heart.

Go check out Larry as Mater the tow truck in Cars when it plops into theaters June 9th; it's rated G. It's got the best animation I've seen ever!