Stand-up comedians Trae Crowder, Drew Morgan and Corey Ryan Forrester are on a mission. Known together as the WellRED Comedy, the trio set out to prove that not all rednecks are conservatives and not all rednecks are idiots. On Friday, March 31, its tour stops at The Lyric in Oxford. Despite being a notorious Southern town with a deep-rooted history of conservatism, tickets have sold out.
Each having a distinct upbringing, the three come together in a perfect comedy storm. Hailing from rural east Tennessee, Morgan weaves stories from his days as a small-town son of a preacher with his observations on everything from race to religion, politics and gender from his experiences living across the globe. Forrester, often seen sporting a PBR ball cap, calls on North Georgian roots that left him with an affinity for Southern wit and storytelling.
Rounding out the group is Crowder, whom you may know from his viral YouTube series of highly unsophisticated yet topical progressive ‘Liberal Redneck’ rants. He finds himself, as a Southerner who is not conservative, to be an anomaly.
“We’re not the norm, but it’s not as rare as people from outside of the South like to think it is,” he said. “I grew up in a tiny little redneck town, and some of my best friends from growing up are liberal rednecks.”
By embracing this notion of loving the South while also being frightened by it is the epitome of what makes WellRED Comedy different from similar acts that have come before it. Acts like Jeff Foxworthy and Larry the Cable Guy have made their careers in redneck-centric comedy within the conservative threshold. WellRED does not. And it works.
“What I like most about Trae [and WellRED] is that [they] demolish stereotypes,” Oxford native Connie Braseth said. “I love to think about the confusion folks have in other parts of the country when they hear him. They have the accent and upbringing of (what I assume is) the way the rest of the country thinks the South is. Then, they come out with hilarious, common sense commentary that is very progressive. I’ll be on the front row.”
WellRED, which recently released its book ‘Liberal Redneck Manifesto: Draggin Dixie Outta the Dark,’ has drawn national attention with its slogan, “thereʼs a New South, and weʼre coming to claim it.”
Moira Alice Flanagan, a nursing student at the University of Memphis, has had her tickets since the event was first announced and looks forward to being in attendance.
“These guys provide a new, fresh, liberal voice in a Southern accent and jeans,” she said. “It’s almost oxymoronic humor with a direct, witty delivery. Some may think it’s mockery of the South, but it’s more so a representation of the up-and-coming views of my generation and the generation below me.”
The WellRED guys, while never demeaning Southerners for being simplistic rednecks or having conservative viewpoints, do not let hypocrisy or bigotry slide. Their goal is to make people laugh, but they also want to show the rest of the nation, and the world, that the South is not a big red blob of dumb racists.
“The rest of us are trying to ensure that the next generation grows up in a world that’s a little more open-minded,” Crowder said in his first viral video. “And that’s happening, whether you like it or not.”
This story was submitted to The Daily Mississippian from an advanced reporting class.