Cheat Sheet: Country Humor
Ever since country's earliest days, humor has gone hand-in-hand with the music. It might have started with just a few jokes between songs on such popular syndicated radio shows as the Louisiana Hayride -- a little cornpone to ease nerves and make folks feel at home -- but by the 1930s and '40s, many musical groups had invented elaborate skits, complete with silly costumes and makeup.
The Grand Ole Opry and other radio barn dances regularly featured comics, including Minnie Pearl, who would go on to parlay her early regional success into a national spotlight, thanks to the television shows Ozark Jubilee, which began airing in 1955, and Hee Haw, which emerged in the late '60s. In addition to Pearl, Hee Haw also showcased many country funnymen, including Roy Clark and Buck Owens.
Over the years, country comedy has spanned everything from the comedic songs of Ray Stevens to the easy rural storytelling of Jerry Clower to the stand-up comedy of Jeff Foxworthy and the parodies of Cledus T. Judd. Here are some albums to get you started.