You might be a comedian if ...

Plenty of fifth-graders will be present. With the July sun blazing, a few necks may turn red. And lots of food will be available, even if much of it comes fried rather than baked.

Yes, the OC Fair may be a perfect spot for a man who's made a living off redneck jokes, hosted "The American Baking Competition" on TV and scored another network hit with "Are You Smarter Than a 5th Grader?"

Jeff Foxworthy, long hailed as the largest-selling comedy recording artist of all time, will bring multiple capacities with him when he performs for the first time at the Pacific Amphitheatre on Saturday. He's prone to improvise onstage, and anything, from a kid to a corn dog, may prompt a one-liner or reminiscence.

For that matter, don't be surprised if he takes a break from "You Might Be a Redneck If ..." humor and skewers Orange County residents instead. He's performed at the Irvine Improv and lives in an Atlanta neighborhood that, he reckons, isn't far from O.C. suburbia. And given what he's learned of human nature, he won't have to adjust his material too much west of Alabama.

"We have this idea that we're all different, even across this country, and one of the cool things about being a comedian is I've gotten to go to every state — and not just every state, just about every part of every state," Foxworthy said. "And growing up, I had never been anywhere outside the Southeast, so you grow up thinking people in the Midwest are different, or people in California are different, or people in New York are different.

"And what you come to realize over time is that the scenery changes, the accent changes, but people are pretty much the same. We all worry about the same stuff."

Apparently, there's an audience for worrying — of the humorous variety — at the OC Fair. The Pacific Amphitheatre typically books one comedian each summer, with Gallagher and Bill Cosby among those who have performed in the past. This year, the schedule has a double dose of laughter with Foxworthy and Jeff Dunham, who performed July 16.

Fair spokeswoman Robin Wachner said a comedian like Foxworthy, who has ample exposure through albums, stand-up routines and television, made an ideal choice for a larger venue.

"Obviously, we have 8,000 seats to fill, so we need to make sure we have comedians who can fill those seats," she said. "An edgy improv comedian probably wouldn't work. It could work in other parts of the fair, just not in the amphitheater."

Foxworthy, who counts himself as politically conservative and runs a Bible study for the homeless in downtown Atlanta, aims for a wide audience. In 2000, after hearing the Kings of Comedy tour described as a treat for hip urban crowds, he assembled the Blue Collar Comedy Tour to provide an alternative for those outside the major metropolises.

He expresses good-natured bemusement that his redneck jokes took off as they did — even during the routine's heyday, Foxworthy said, it still amounted to five or so minutes of a typical show. Much of his material comes from everyday situations, to the point where even his dentist has pleaded that he not be mentioned onstage.

Sometimes that all-purpose material can be crucial. Foxworthy said that once, when hosting the ESPY Awards, he got a sudden direction to kill time onstage while Ray Charles was in the restroom. He promptly launched into a routine he had written about how men and women dress for a night out, and the transition went seamlessly.

"The next day, my wife and I are walking about Manhattan, and somebody comes up and says, 'Hey, good job with the show last night,'" Foxworthy said. "And I said, 'Ah, thanks.' And the guy says, 'You know what my favorite part was? When you were doing that thing about men and women getting ready to go out.'

"And when they left, I told my wife, I said, 'That's why I do it. Because that should have been a disaster, and they had no idea.'"

If You Go

Who: Jeff Foxworthy

Where: Pacific Amphitheatre, OC Fair & Event Center, 88 Fair Drive, Costa Mesa

When: 8:15 p.m. Saturday

Cost: $39.40 to $69.50

Information: (714) 708-1500 or

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