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Country-fried comedian flips YouTube fame to stand-up career

Check out Ginger Billy at The Clyde on Nov. 3


Steve Penhollow

Whatzup Features Writer

Published October 27, 2021

Ginger Billy is a country comedian in the rich tradition of Jerry Clower, Catfish Cooley, Junior Samples, and Larry, the Cable Guy.

But he became a comedian entirely by accident.

From Nobody to Notoriety

A few years back, he was a respiratory therapist named Adam Parkins living in South Carolina with his wife and children.

In spring of 2017, he posted a comically weepy video about the retirement of Dale Earnhardt Jr. to YouTube.

“Well, when he retired, I thought to myself, ‘Man, you know what? This would be something that all rednecks would love if I talked about,’” Ginger Billy told the Daily Yonder. “When I saw how many views it got, I thought to myself, you know what, this might be actually pretty cool. This might be something I want to try again.”

He did try again. And again. And he succeeded again and again, earning more views each time.

Eventually, he hired a manager and started doing stand-up.

“I’d never done stand-up before in my life,” he said. “So the first time I ever did stand-up, he put me out on the stage and said, ‘You’ve got five minutes in front of 4,000 people – have fun.’ It was a real sink or swim situation, you know?”

Amazed at Success

Nowadays, Ginger Billy is living his dream life without ever having dreamed about it.

“Every day I wake up and I’m just like, this is absolutely amazing,” he said. “I grew up in a little blue-collar town. You’re supposed to grow up. You go to school then you work here. I am making a very good living doing videos and acting the total jackass.”

Of course, acting the total jackass has its own challenges and pressures.

“It sounds cool, but it is the most stressful thing I’ve ever done in my life,” he said. “Because every day I have people walking up to me saying, ‘Man, I love you,’ which is the coolest thing in the world to me.

“But the downside is that your income is based on you, that’s the thing. If I put out a video and it doesn’t get five million views, I think it’s a failure. Now I’m so picky at what I put out, I think I hurt myself because I will work my butt off to make a video and then be like, ‘That’s not good enough.’”

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