Comedian Jeff Foxworthy has experienced a few big aha moments in life.
The earliest one? In elementary school he realized he had an innate ability to make people laugh. Another? People are more alike than they are different, something he's learned after traveling to every state in the country over the last three decades of his career.
"I've found the scenery and the accents change, but at their core people don't change," he said from his home in Atlanta. "We all want the same thing. The things I'm talking to people about are the same."
Foxworthy and fellow comedian Larry the Cable Guy will bring their "We've Been Thinking Tour" to The Broadmoor World Arena at 7:30 p.m. Friday. Each comic will do a 45- to 50-minute set, then come out together and do a Q-and-A session with the audience.
Many of Foxworthy's favorite subjects revolve around his family and the human condition. As his life has changed, so has his material. Whereas he once talked about being a dad to two daughters, now that they're in their 20s and out of the house, caretaking has gone in a different direction.
"When the kids were growing up, I thought how will we have a life when they leave?" he said. "But they left and my wife and I look at each other and think this ain't bad. You do move from taking care of the kids to taking care of your parents. I jokingly say the kids and the parents passed each other in the driveway. It's a natural season of life. For me and the audience, we're going through these same things together."
His career got jump-started when his co-workers at IBM thought he was funny and entered him in a working comic competition at an Atlanta comedy club in 1984. He won the whole shebang and even met his future wife after the show.
Nowadays, she and her folks frequently star in his material, something he's learned to compensate them for. "Years ago I said 'Look, I'm going to talk about you, but as compensation I'm going to take you on a fabulous vacation,'" he said about bribing his in-laws. "And then we go and I wind up with another 20 minutes of material. I tell my wife this is the loop I can never get out of - they're going to be going on vacation until the day they die."
Whatever topics the longtime comic decides to light upon during his gentle, good-natured set, he's grateful for the biggest aha about what he does. "When I began, I didn't think that there was a therapeutic value to laughter," Foxworthy said. "I guess it's sunk in on me. I just accept that everybody is going through some kind of struggle, but laughter is like the release valve that keeps the boiler from exploding. We easily forget how good it feels to laugh."