Tennessee comedian Trae Crowder is becoming a viral-video sensation simply by being the one thing people wouldn’t normally expect him to be: liberal.
On YouTube, the Celina-born, Knoxville-based Crowder refers to himself as the “Liberal Redneck,” a progressive-minded good ol’ boy using his down-home twang to vent on hot-button issues (racism, transgender bathroom laws, Donald Trump) Southern folk are usually known to have more conservative opinions on.
After catching a popular anti-transgender video online, Crowder knew he had to give his two cents on the interwebs.
“I saw this video of this guy in North Carolina, during the whole transgender bathroom thing,” recalls Crowder, 30, on the phone from Queens. “He was some preacher. He was just out in the woods by his truck, just yelling at his phone about how much he was against transgender people using the bathroom and just, you know, perverts and fire and brimstone and yada-yada and all that. And he got, like, 15 million views. Like, the more stereotypical redneck types saw that and it hit me. I realized if this is what I’m trying to parody or satirize, then I don’t need any of that fancy stuff at all. I can just go on my back porch and just use my phone, you know. I mean, that’s what these types of people do. So, why not?”
A six-year veteran of the stand-up stage, Crowder didn’t start using his “liberal redneck” moniker until he began doing these videos. “I had a bit I used to close with for a long time, and that bit, in my notebook, was named ‘liberal redneck,’” says Crowder. “But I didn’t actually say the words or whatever.… And I decided to do a series of videos based on that.”
(WARNING: VIDEO CONTAINS ADULT LANGUAGE)
Even though he’s only been posting these videos for a couple of months, he’s beginning to amass quite a following. His YouTube page has over 76,000 followers. He’s also been called on by the New York Daily News, where he’s known as the paper’s “hillbilly-in-chief,” to do more video rants.
“Actually, that came about from their editor-in-chief tweeting at me,” he says. “He sent me a tweet on Twitter and, then, we got hooked up in emails and stuff and had a discussion about it. It was his idea and, then, it just went from there.”
Currently on the road as part of the WellRed Comedy Tour (the tour will make a sold-out stop at the Pour House Music Hall Saturday), Crowder continues to enlighten people with his stand-up, which usually has him riffing on being the type of Southerner who loves football, his truck and his momma – but also knows who Wes Anderson is. So far, Crowder has found that people both above and below the Mason-Dixon line have been appreciating his progressive musings.
“I’ve gotten a lot of that response from people in and out of the South,” he says. “Like, people in the South who are, you know, like-minded with me in that regard have been like, ‘thank you for showing people that not everybody in the South is an inbred hick’ or whatever. And, then, people from outside of the South have told me the same thing – like, ‘you give me a better opinion of the South than I had before’ or whatever, that kind of thing.”
What: WellRed Comedy Tour, with Trae Crowder, Corey Ryan Forrester and Drew Morgan
When: 7:30 p.m. Saturday
Where: The Pour House Music Hall, 224 S. Blount St., Raleigh
Cost: Sold out
Details: 919-821-1120 or thepourhousemusichall.com