Before Making Millions, Radio Helped Dan Whitney Git-R-Done!
June 17, 2014
Could you imagine how our lives would be if chocolate ran into peanut butter, but instead they just yelled at each other, "HEEEEEEYYYYYYYYY, Watch where you're going!!!!!?"
The opportunity for what is the Reese's Peanut Butter Cup would have never been realized.
There is a great quote from Abraham Lincoln that says, "I will prepare, so that when my day comes, I will be ready."
Had peanut butter not been ready to embrace chocolate, and vice versa, in that meeting of fate, magic would have been missed and an opportunity squandered.
In the mid to late '80s, Dan Whitney was on a roll, but in spite of opportunities performing his comedy act on TV shows like A&E's Night At The Improv, Carolines's Comedy Hour and others, it would be a chance encounter with radio that would propel him into the stratosphere.
FATHER KNOWS BEST
My father, although one of the most critical people in my life, taught me a valuable lesson in my youth. I had a flair for the funny ... and knew that someday, radio, TV or the stage would be my place to showcase that creativity. However, as creative as I was, I was also as equally critical of others.
So, here's how dad taught me that lesson. I'd be watching TV and see an actor or performer that, in my own critical eye, brain and disposition, appeared to lack something, so, because I apparently knew everything, I would be the first to call it out.
"OMG, did you see how he's obviously looking at a cue card? Learn your lines! Take an acting class, pal!"
For years, I'd blurt out these criticisms that, while they may not have been wrong observations, revealed that I had a blind spot, because of my vantage point ... my point of view. It would be equivalent to believing that a quarter is worth twenty-five cents as long as George Washington's face is showing, but heaven forbid if the eagle is showing, that coin would be deemed worthless.
Every time the negativity came out of my mouth, my father's response was exactly the same. "Robert, do you know what the difference between you and that kid on TV is?" he'd ask.
"No," I'd respond.
"The difference between you and that kid on TV is this. He got the job!"
To quote E.T., "Ooouuuuuuuuch!"
WHO IS DAN WHITNEY?
If you've never heard of Dan Whitney, one-time known as the "Freight Train of Comedy," you're going to know who he is the second you click the link below. Dan would have a run-in with radio that would be as powerful, memorable, lucrative and life-changing as chocolate running into peanut butter.
In 1992, at the same time Bubba The Love Sponge was first planting his roots into the soil of Tampa-Clearwater-St. Pete, there was something else already sprouting green leaves in Tampa Bay. Planted by one of our industry's great morning shows, Ron & Ron on Y95, WYNF; the character known as "Larry The Cable Guy" would emerge, appearing on buttons, billboards and bumper stickers, and there was immense word-of-mouth about the campaign of "Larry The Cable Guy For President."
Dan Whitney's hard work and brilliance had manifested into a character, so truthful, so relatable, that the character's impact would overtake the persona of the man who created it. And just like you can see from the clip above, titled "Larry The Cable Guy is a Fraud," that instead of seeing the work ethic that got him here, the fact that in tough times, Dan did not give up, and instead followed an idea all the way from beginning to end; some people would rather attempt to tear him down for his success than admit that they would wish that same level of success upon themselves.
Bill Clinton was NOT the only winner to emerge from that 1992 election that would take President G.H. Bush out of office after one-term. I would contend that Dan Whitney was chosen that year, by the few Americans who knew him then; chosen for an opportunity to become one of comedy's premier talents, an opportunity he wouldn't squander.
SETTING THE BAR
From the early 2000s to the present, there isn't another comedian who has consistently sold out arena after arena, night after night, town after town, able to command the paycheck of the one, that is Dan Whitney, a.k.a. "Larry The Cable Guy."
Just as Jim Brown set the bar in the NFL for OJ Simpson, who set the bar for Walter Payton, who set the bar for the many who followed him, Dan Whitney set a bar; and for those motivated by great success stories, a bar that will be a motivator for young, up-and-coming talent in radio, TV and on stage, for generations to come.
Who wouldn't want to be the voice of that Pick-Up Truck in the Pixar animation Cars? Who wouldn't want to host a show, like Only In America, on the History Channel, where your wit is the main ingredient to keeping 3 million weekly viewers plugged into oddities that occur across our great States?
FORGET HILLARY, LARRY THE CABLE GUY IN 2016!
I can't think of a better example of BRANDING than Dan Whitney's alter ego, Larry The Cable Guy, who when you see him, hear him and think about him, immediately you KNOW what he stands for; what he is all about.
When RADIO had a chance encounter with DAN WHITNEY and created an opportunity, just like Reese's, he was prepared enough to maximize the moment as it came upon him, which would have made Abraham Lincoln extremely proud.
This is a promise. YOUR day, too, will come! If it were today, would you be prepared enough to put a lasso around it, take it down and carpe diem it? This is your friendly reminder to make sure you are prepared, and here's a quote from the next President of the United States to keep you motivated, inspired and encouraged in the process.
"Git R Done!"