Opening for T.G. Sheppard
I did this gig for eight months and it was a blast. T.G. was a popular country music singer for many years before he settled in Pigeon Forge, TN for two years. His first year a lady magician opened for him. I do not remember her name. I have been told that following her time with him she got married and now has a horse farm.
I auditioned while I was working as the comedian at Dolly Parton’s Dixie Stampede in Pigeon Forge. The Stampede has now been renamed Dolly Parton’s Stampede. Anything related to the civil war is slowly being removed from public life in the south. After winning the position, I was given a 15 – 20 minute opening slot and two other bits in the show. All my portions took place before intermission and I did autographs during intermission. Therefore, I rarely stayed for the entire show. Great gig.
T.G. is a very nice fellow, although very egotistical. However, I have a bit of an ego too so no judgment here. We had a blast and it was a great learning experience for me. It was a total change from my previous image as a magician. I went from silly coats and tennis shoes to Italian suits. Never saw that in my future. My performance was perfect for the time and market. Pigeon Forge is a vacation destination in the south with over 12 million visitors a year. Visitors come expecting clean programs with a country flavor. At least they did at that time. You may notice that portions of my program may not be considered clean by today’s standards. Just like the word “dixie” is being removed from southern life, some of my humor wouldn’t play today. Stealing a kiss for a woman during the show wouldn’t play today. In a comedy club maybe but not to the standards of the new generation. I’m quite surprised I got away with it.
What’s the point of my story? It’s is both to explain some of my performing history and to reveal how the world changes and we must change with it. The person I am today is very different from my performances then. Well maybe not “very” different but I hope that it has matured in some ways. From Italian suits to custom bowling shirts and children’s shows has been a wonderful ride. Where will I be 10 years from now. Hopefully still telling my story here in the studio.
About the Video Footage
This is a mix of shows revealing how I worked with audience helpers. Same show content, different people.
This bit goes all the way back to 1996 when I was opening for T.G. Sheppard. We did 8 months together at a theater in Pigeon Forge, TN. I opened the show and did two extra bits in the show, which I wrote. The other bit was the DRESS. This character has much more energy than my present version of Barry Mitchell.
Dress bit from the Country Tonite Show. CLICK HERE
Knife to a Gunfight
This is one of my favorite moments on stage. It was an unexpected adlib that could NEVER happen today. I did the old gun gag in every show. However, there was a group of bikers in the audience this night. Bikers is a term for rich guys who own Harleys. My helper was feeling his oats and we had a blast together. The gun cannot be seen on the video but when Bob pulled out his knife, I pulled out my gun. A 22 starter pistol.