Ron White | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

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Onstage Ron White wears all black, smokes cigars, and sips (and "sweats") scotch. His wide smile and tales of laziness and boozing might make him appear happy-go-lucky, but by the end of his routine it's clear he's been to hell and back. A big Texan, White served in Vietnam, overcame a drug addiction, and sold windows before resorting to comedy; his career took off when he joined the Blue Collar Comedy team part-time. Though he can play up the hillbilly shtick ("I was born and raised in a house with a dirt yard....We didn't waste money watering no grass"), the humor eventually cracks to reveal his hardened worldview. "I got mixed messages when I was a kid," he says. "My dad would spank me and then say, 'Now you do me.'" A lot of Dean Martin and a little Bill Hicks, with a hint of Mark Twain, White is strangely persuasive when he says, "Next time you have a thought, let it go." a Sat 3/31, 7:30 PM, Rosemont Theatre, 5400 N. River Rd., Rosemont, 312-559-1212, $35.75-$45.75.

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