At the conclusion of his final of four sold-out shows at the Majestic Theatre, Ron White responded to the thunderous applause with "there is no better crowd anywhere, I love playing here." You could tell it was good to be home. Now 26 years after plying his trade to a few hundred people at the Arlington Funny Bone, he had all 1,500-plus people begging for mercy at the end of his set: If they laughed anymore they'd die.
With Ron White, you laugh at things you shouldn't laugh at. A long tirade about golfer Tiger Woods was sympathetic at first, but ended by noting that Woods could no more change his way than a chicken-killing dog—an exceedingly Southern metaphor. Fans loved the routine about how working out to lose weight "hurt my fat" and how a medical marijuana prescription cured the symptoms of being out of marijuana.
But it's a slightly softer Ron White act these days, though the Scotch and cigar are ever present. His marriage to vocalist Margo Rey threads through his show, vignettes of their life on the road together and attempts by Margo, who has a deep spiritual core, to engage the equally agnostic White in yoga, meditation and vegetarian dining options. Even the white French bulldogs, Pearl and Gertie, with whom he courted Margo, made an adorable appearance on stage.
Yet underneath this soft approachability is a master in control of his room. In our interview a few days earlier, White mentioned that he was a "pace, rhythm and timing comic" whose craft was "working out the beats." Few things bother him more than being interrupted on stage, which throws his rhythm off. Early in his set he delivered a routine about a loud babbler at a Las Vegas show whom he took to task by saying that talking during a show "is like sh---ing in the street." When she still didn't shut up, he spun a fantasy about taking her out to the desert and ending the babble for good. Afterward, anytime a heckler popped off in the Dallas audience, White cautioned "Don't sh-- in the street." Turns out when you've just killed off a prior heckler in a routine, folks can get cooperative mighty quick.
A storyteller to the core, White ended his show with the hysterically told "Dr. Phil story" about being invited to join the doctor and some of his conservative friends from Dallas on the celebrity's annual Mediterranean yacht vacation. Once White discovered a rare, expensive Scotch on board he proceeded to drink—a lot. After a fantastic impromptu concert on the deck by Margo that drew hundreds of fellow nearby yachters to hear, the very drunken White was asked to do a set. He pulled out a very unprintable sexual story about Mamie Eisenhower, of all people, that sent the beautiful people fleeing.
Ordered back to the hotel by Margo, an 18-inch step off the yacht was missed and White was sent into a drunken, shoulder-dislocating, arm-lacerating sprawl. As he related musing the next day on how he must change his ways—"You just had to do the Eisenhower joke, didn't you?" kvetched Margo—fans wondered if we were seeing the end of his reprobate days. Then the good doctor called, wondering when White and Margo were coming over to party.
Yep, once again, White got away with it, which is why we love him.
Here's a video of Ron White with a tale of nightclubbing in New York City: