Theater Review: Comedian Ron White performs to a near-full house at Stephens Auditorium

John Blue opened the show for Ron White Friday night at Stephens Auditorium.

Melissa Garrett

With hundreds of people in line for alcoholic beverages and lines wrapped around Stephens Auditorium, it was clear that comedian Ron “Tater Salad” White attracted a near-full house. 

A loud chatter of voices filled the auditorium as couples edged their way across the aisles, from the packed first 20 rows to the highest balconies, with beers in hand as many made their way to their seats. On a Friday night, it seemed White’s performance was something that the crowd had been looking forward to for a while.

Opening for White, Denver native John Blue walked onto the stage in a navy blue t-shirt, slightly baggy jeans and blue sneakers toward the stage, attired with a simple stool with red lighting.

Blue’s long, curly mop of hair flopped around comically during his set as he joked, “Don’t worry folks. I’ll be serving up some tater salad in a minute.”

While Blue joked about disabilities, at his own expense, and made jokes about cerebral palsy and Michael J. Fox, the audience laughed and cheered politely, while some others were highly enthusiastic in their merriment. 

Blue talked about being a father and random things like if Spider Man had cerebral palsy, but his best joke was about Judge Judy, although crude.

“I’d f— Judge Judy. Who am I to judge Judy?” Blue said.

After about a 25-minute set, Blue thanked the audience and invited them to follow him on Facebook or Twitter versus in person, since it is “creepy but less creepy.” Roughly 20 members of the upper 20 rows and some random audience members throughout the theater stood to give Blue a standing ovation, while a vast majority stayed seated.

As the stage darkened only briefly, music started playing as White emerged with a bottle of tequila in hand–deviating from his typical scotch–and puffing a cigar in his widely grinning mouth as he waved hello to the audience and set down his liquor on the stool. Situating himself, White looked suave in his shiny black suit and slicked back greying hair.

Thanking the audience for coming out, White asked the audience to give Blue another round of applause and brought him back out on stage, where they embraced and smiled at the crowd before Blue disappeared again.

White opened the show talking about drinking and told the audience, “They tell you, ‘Don’t drink and drive.’ But then they also tell you, ‘Friends don’t let friends drive drunk.’ … Well, which is it? Somebody has to drive.” 

Describing himself as a 59-year old raging alcoholic, White joked, “I’ve drank so much that on my driver’s license there’s a list of organs that I need to keep.” 

Laughing and smiling at the audience in between jokes, White drank a few glasses of Number Juan tequila throughout his show, which he is currently promoting.

White said he has decided to run for president, since picking a presidential candidate for the current political race is “like trying to choose a Golden Girl you’d like to f—… for four years,” to which the crowd hooted and hollered. 

He also shared a story from his youth about being attacked by Canadian geese, which he hilariously turned into an ongoing joke about why he hates “those f—ing unnatural geese with their beady eyes.” White proposed that one of the first things he would do as president was to build a large net to keep the geese out of the country.

“You ever seen a dead goose? No, because the evil motherf—ers won’t die!” White said.

While the audience was accustomed to hearing White drop the f-bomb throughout his set, he was not afraid to talk about anything from sex to marriage to gay love to how he got kicked off of the Christian Mingle dating website.

“Apparently you can’t tell them what you’re going to do onto others,” White said of his profile on Christian Mingle. 

White amused the audience with his idea for an app called “Tuber,” combining sexual solicitation services and Uber, and said the app would “find you someone to f— and take you over there,” to which the audience roared with laughter.

After 29 years of touring, White thanked the audience for his life toward the tail end of his set before talking a bit about his wife, Margo.

White said he used to get hit on frequently by women and that he jokingly had to grow a “protective layer,” to which he rubbed his stomach, to keep the women away. This followed a joke about the restaurant Golden Corale.

Of the restaurant, White said, “They call it that because somebody was already using ‘Ye Olde Fat F—ery,” as he continued by making “moo” cow noises.

Following a story about his cousin Ray only dating “huge women,” White told the audience, “Thanks for coming out tonight. I’ll come back to Ames. I hope you all enjoyed me.”

The audience replied with a full standing ovation, cheering overwhelmingly loud enough that White decided that if there were that many people standing that he owed them a little more of a show and invited everyone to sit back down. 

“I have nowhere to be,” White said. “Go ahead and sit back down.”

White then treated the audience to a story of him back in 1996 when he first met comedian Jeff Foxworthy, who he worked with alongside Bill Engvall and Larry the Cable Guy on the Blue Collar Comedy Tour, which has sold millions of hit albums and films.

Of Foxworthy, White said, “Jeff always believed in my talent but not my work ethic.” 

According to White, when Foxworthy became famous enough, he took White along with him to Las Vegas, which is around the same time they met Engvall and Larry the Cable Guy. Of the Blue Collar group, White thanked the audience from the bottom of his heart for buying millions of Blue Collar Comedy Tour CDs.

Although unorthodox, as White said, he used the last of his set to promote a show called “Roadies,” which is produced by J.J. Abrams, that is set to premiere on June 26 on Showtime. 

Ending his set, White said, “Thanks for playin’; thank you guys very much,” as he inclined his head toward the crowd and clapped for the audience, who greeted him with a second standing ovation.

Humble and smiling, White picked up his cigar and put it back in his smiling mouth, grabbed his bottle of tequila and sauntered off stage. 

Judging from the two standing ovations he received and the almost full house, White received high praise and was enjoyable for the entire audience.