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Mouths of the South: WellRed comedians come to Indy

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Posted at 11:40 AM, Jan 27, 2022

INDIANAPOLIS — As a Georgia native who also lived in four other Southern states, I've heard all the names — hick, goober, hillbilly, yokel, cousin-lover and of course redneck.

So have Trae Crowder, Drew Morgan and Corey Ryan Forrester, natives of the South putting a human face — and a funny one — on those monikers.

For years, they have chronicled — in a book, in comedy shows and on a weekly podcast — what they call their "love/hate relationship with their homeland."

But Trae, Drew and Corey have also worked hard to show what some of us who grew up there already knew — a Southern accent does not equal "stupid."

"Is somebody playing a racist banjo? That's what some people think when they hear the accent," said Trae Crowder, one-third of the WellRed Comedy trio whose tour is in Indianapolis this weekend at Helium Comedy Club.

Crowder grew up in Tennessee but now lives in Burbank, California, and says the trope is something that has followed him for years.

"It's funny, because I make these "Liberal Redneck" videos and guys that grew up with me have said 'Trae was the least redneck dude in our school,'" he said. "But I'm the most redneck dude in Burbank by a lot. Back home, I was Karl Marx, and here I'm just some old boy named Karl."

Crowder and friends Corey Ryan Forrester and Drew Morgan have done comedy for years. But they started getting national attention in 2016 when they published "The Liberal Redneck Manifesto: Draggin' Dixie Out of the Dark."

They know of the reputation of their Southern home; Morgan and Forrester still live in Tennessee and Georgia, respectively. But while they admit that reputation has been well earned in some places, they also point out that the South is more complex than "yankees" understand.

"We just try to allocate the pride and the shame in appropriate measures," Crowder said.

"The reality of the South is the reality of America," Morgan said. "One thing we talk about without apologizing for anything is 'hey stop making the South your whipping boy, Boston'...or whoever else. You have a lot of these same problems, too, you don't really acknowledge them. Because we have funny accents, it's easy to pick on us."

What is a "liberal redneck," you ask?

"It means we like gay people, and we like blowing stuff up," Morgan deadpanned.

But the comedians emphasize that their shows are for everyone, even "the conservative dude dragged there by their liberal spouses."

"Just last week in Omaha, we had a couple just like that, and he (the conservative boyfriend) said he had a better time than she did," Morgan said. "But it's not all politics. I think a lot of people are tired of hashing out some of those wars, and they just want to not think about it for little while, sit and have a beer and listen to comedy."

The WellRed Comedy Tour will be at Helium Comedy Club in downtown Indy through Saturday. Tickets are available here, and a reminder, the show is for 18 and older only.