Trae Crowder looks and sounds like what some people think of as a typical Southerner, but his comedy shoots those same expectations in the foot. Sporting a beard, partial to gimme caps and sleeveless T-shirts, and speaking in a drawl that confirms his Tennessee heritage, Crowder likes to call himself "the Liberal Redneck," as his humor takes aim at the conservative movement from a viewpoint that's leftist but down to Earth.
Trae Crowder was born and raised in Celina, Tennessee, a town so small it didn't have streetlights or a traffic light. Crowder has said that growing up in abject poverty strongly informed his views about economic and social justice, as did having an uncle who was gay and frequently had to deal with homophobia. While his family was poor, Crowder's father was insistent that his son attend college and improve his chances for a better life. After graduating with an MBA, Crowder took a job with the United States Department of Energy in 2009. But he had long had a dream of doing comedy, and he performed as a stand-up in his spare time.
The "Liberal Redneck" persona -- which Crowder described as just an exaggeration of who he is -- was long part of his act, and in April 2016, he posted a video he shot with his smart phone of himself ranting about the Tennessee legislature's efforts to make the Holy Bible the state's official book. Once Crowder posted the video on line, it soon racked up over 100,000 plays, but he truly broke out with his second clip, a bit about North Carolina's "bathroom bill" that would force transgender people to use facilities designated for their biological gender, not the gender with which they identify. The video spread like wildfire, viewed more than 26 million times, and Crowder now had a major presence on social media.
Before long, Crowder was posting "Liberal Redneck" videos on a regular basis, and his career as a stand-up comic took off. In addition to touring on his own, Crowder headlined the WellRED Comedy Tour, where he teamed up with like-minded Southern comics Corey Ryan Forrester and Drew Morgan. The three collaborated on a book, <I>The Liberal Redneck Manifesto: Draggin' Dixie Out of the Dark, published in 2017, and a date from their comedy tour was released in April 2019 as WellRED Live from Lexington. ~ Mark Deming, Rovi
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