Ashland native comedian Vic Clevenger
If Jeff Foxworthy had a Kentucky cousin it might well be Vic Clevenger.
Dressed in his red cowboy boots and cowboy hat, Clevenger, an Ashland native who now lives near Orlando, Fla., has been making a living comically carving up his country Kentucky roots as a stand-up comedian.
Clevenger, who has been a professionally touring comic for the past five years, is back in the Tri-State on Friday, Nov. 4, for a comedy show at the Whiskey River Saloon, 154 County Road 450, South Point.
Clevenger, who has performed around the country with such comedians as John Reep, April Macie and others, said he's excited to be coming back to the Tri-State -- and not just so he can nosh on some Giovanni's.
"I've still got a lot of family and friends there, so it's great to get back home," said Clevenger, whose cousin owns the Lee David Salon in downtown Huntington. "I was just up in Wheeling about eight weeks ago and usually don't get back this direction that quick, so this is going to be a lot of fun. I've got some more time, so I can hang out with family, and maybe get a barbecue in."
Clevenger, who has been a guest on Batten Outdoors Radio sponsored by Larry the Cable Guy, ESPN Radio, WPCV and HawgWild Radio, said he's a comedian who walks the edge but who is purposefully not vulgar.
"I walk the edge, but you won't hear me drop the F-bomb," Clevenger said. "It's pretty clean in that respect. I'll talk about being married and kids and growing up in Kentucky and the craziness of life on the road. You just look around and there are things all of the time. You just pay attention to it and mention it, and you'll see people in the audience nodding their head like 'Yeah, I thought about that last week.' "
While his bits run from "fishing and the Jehovah's Witnesses," to a "prostate infection," he often draws from his Kentucky roots for a few laughs.
"If you haven't been to Kentucky I encourage you to go. It's beautiful and it's an easy state to slip into," Clevenger said. "That's why we abbreviate it 'Ky.' "
A 1986 graduate of Boyd County High School, Clevenger, who attended Marshall for a bit before landing at Kentucky Christian University in Grayson, said he has always been a bit of a cut-up.
"I really wasn't so much a class clown although I always tried to find something to make fun of," Clevenger said. "I guess there are some stories. I remember interrupting an English class and teacher wanting to throw me out but couldn't because they were laughing too hard."
Clevenger, who has lived in Florida for eight years, said he first set his sights on the ministry, before becoming a professional motivational speaker.
Then when everyone kept cracking up at his entertaining speeches, his career path made a natural diversion five years ago.
"I would teach about leadership and communication in churches and corporations, and it really wasn't real in-depth but more of 'I am here to entertain you and have some fun,' and so people were leaving my speeches saying 'I've never had so much fun and never laughed that hard.' "
Clevenger and his brother hit an open mic, scored a bunch of laughs, and the rest is history.
"It was something I had wanted to do ever since I saw Jeff Foxworthy," Clevenger said. "I was like, 'I want to do that.' I just didn't know you could make money at it. When I was growing up there were no comedy clubs in the Tri-State. We had the Comedy Zone in Ashland for a little while, but when I was growing up there, there was nothing like that so I didn't know anything about comedy clubs."
Clevenger said 2011 has been a great year as he's worked nearly every weekend and has got to hang out with everyone from Bill Engvall to Foxworthy.
He and Foxworthy chatted it up about their love of boots since Clevenger has about 15 pairs including his trademark red boots that he, like long-time Kentucky friend Eddie Montgomery of Montgomery Gentry, likes to wear.
"Everybody has their shtick, and I love boots," Clevenger said. "It's kind of evolved. I got so many cool ones that I'll die. I've got a pair of Cobras, Stingrays, some that are cowhide with fur that are black and white. They're my Chik-fil-A boots. I've got Ostrich boots, and of course everybody has snake boots and I've got leather ones when I go hog hunting down here."