"Redneck" and "New York Times best-selling author" don't usually
meet in the same sentence, unless you're comedian Jeff Foxworthy.
Known as the best comedy recording artist of all time, Foxworthy
is a devoted dad to two daughters, and a member of the Blue
Collar Comedy Tour starring Larry the Cable Guy, Bill Engvall
and Ron White.
Hide!!!, is his third children's book, and uses
hilarious rhyming prose to reveal an engaging tale of the
neighborhood gang headed out to enjoy an exciting game of
hide-and-seek. Along the way, readers are invited to join in
the fun and find an ever-growing list of kids, animals, and silly
Foxworthy and I sat down and talked candidly about what inspires
him to write, and why family is so important.
Your wit and humor has often been likened to Mark
Twain's. Do you think you fit the comparison?
Well, to even be compared to Twain is humbling because I think
he is one of America's great humorists. I think we are alike in
that in addition to being funny, we both have a serious side.
Family and country are very important to me as I think they were to
him, and like him, I don't take myself too seriously.
What inspired you to write a children's
When my daughters were little, I always made up silly songs,
poems and stories just to make them laugh, so the idea of a
children's book was always in the back of my mind.
When I started hosting Are You Smarter Than A 5th
Grader, suddenly every kid knew who I was. My daughters
said, 'If you are ever going to write a children's book,
now's the time.'
It was more difficult than I imagined it would be. I had to make
myself five years old again and write about the things that young
kids think about. The fact that the first book, Dirt On My Shirt,
stayed on the New York Times Bestseller list for almost six months
straight is something that I'm really proud of.
Did you test out early editions on your daughters? Their
Yeah, I have always tried out everything on my family first.
With the children's books, I let the girls tell me what they liked
and didn't like as I was working on it. When I got the first copy
of each one I would lie in their beads and read it to them. Its
kind of become a tradition.
Are your girls your biggest fans or your biggest
It used to be easy talking about them when they were little
because they didn't realize it was going on. Now that they're both
teenagers that has changed. Now I seem to be good at embarrassing
A couple of years ago, I was hosting the CMT Awards and
had to open the show the show dancing with Lisa Rinna. They had me
in a red shirt slit to the navel, tight pants and flamenco boots.
The dance was wild and ended with me sliding between her legs and
announcing the start of the show.
Later that night when I got back to the hotel, I was checking
messages on my phone and the first one was my girls saying, 'Dad!
Quite doing stuff like that! We have to go to school tomorrow!'
What's the best piece of parenting advice you've ever
One of my best friends told me when they were babies that it's
harder to be a good parent than a bad one. Having grown up with
divorced parents, I swore early on my kids would never know what
that felt like. My wife and girls have always been my priority.
I left Los Angeles and moved back home close to family in
Atlanta over 13 years ago. I have taken the girls to school almost
every day since. I have turned down shows and movies because if
would cost me too much time away from them. They know beyond a
shadow of a doubt what they mean to me.
What has surprised you most about
How much you have the capability of loving someone else. My
girls are like my heart walking around outside my body. By the day
sometimes it goes by slow, but by the year it goes in the blink of
any eye. Don't take your time together for granted. These are the
times that make life have purpose.
Maria Pilar Clark is a mom times two and Windy City-based writer.
See more of Pilar's stories here.
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