FORT WORTH — Larry the Cable Guy secretly might have been the only person at Texas Motor Speedway who was glad rain plagued last weekend’s Duck Commander 500.
The comedian is wearing a neck brace because he suffered whiplash while filming a scene for the upcoming movie Jingle All the Way 2. He was scheduled to compete with NASCAR star Ryan Newman in a racing event sponsored by Prilosec OTC last Sunday, but it was rained out and the medicine spokesman got a chance to rest his injured neck.
“Ryan got some kind of a witch doctor or something and made it rain because he’s scared to race me,” said the actor, whose real name is Dan Whitney. “I’ve known Ryan for a long time. Ryan and I actually dated in the ’70s.”
He hurt himself March 31 when he fell to the stunt mat after riding a mechanical reindeer.
“Whiplash or not, nothing’s keeping me away from the Fort Worth race and the Prilosec tent,” Whitney said. “I love the state of Texas because I love how people are proud of their state. People need to be proud of where they come from.
“Plus, I’m into cattle and stuff.”
The comic’s love of Texas and things like University of Nebraska football jibes with what he called an “outdoorsy, non-city living lifestyle” that makes his act, NASCAR and Duck Commander all compatible, and he said having to move to New York is a reason he wouldn’t want to replace the retiring David Letterman on Late Show.
“The next host of the Late Show should be Garry Shandling. I’ve always loved Garry Shandling. I loved when he did The Larry Sanders Show. He should be a real talk show host,” Whitney said. “But they’ll probably skew younger. Howard Stern would be a good host.”
Whitney also won’t be filming any more episodes of the History show Only in America with Larry the Cable Guy.
“I quit doing that show because I never get to see my family,” he said. “I did three seasons — 50 episodes — and there comes a time when you’re 50 years old, you’ve got to think about family more than that kind of stuff. The show was going to kill me. It’s a wonder I didn’t hurt my neck on that show.”
Whitney said his recovery could take four to six weeks. He’s had to cancel some comedy shows, but he’s still scheduled to perform May 24 at Circuit of the Americas in Austin and Oct. 17 at the Choctaw Event Center in Durant, Okla.
“I’m taking a little time off, so I’ll be good,” he said.
Despite his injury, Larry’s still taking advantage of opportunities that his career presents, including meeting athletes, driving pace cars and waving green flags.
“It’s kind of like when your job is just a speed bump in the way of hanging out with your friends,” he said. “That’s cool stuff.”
MATT CRIDER can be reached at 940-566-6906.