How Notorious Comedian Ron White Quit Drinking And Why Will Smith Will Be A Joke Forever

The Blue Collar comedian comes clean about navigating life without the sauce, marriage woes, and why he’s an unlucky psychedelic tripper in a new episode of LA Mag’s podcast hosted by Andrew Goldman

Comedian Ron White is a legendary hard partier. The 65 year-old, who became famous as a member of the Blue Collar Comedy Tour alongside Jeff Foxworthy and Larry the Cable Guy, developed a large and rowdy following among fellow middle aged party animals for relating hilarious tales of inebriation, his life as, in his parlance, “an amok-running motherfucker.” In an often poignant, affecting episode of Los Angeles magazine’s podcast, The Originals, White talks candidly about the triumphs—and challenges—of quitting drinking 14 months ago, and his plans to stop touring at the end of 2022.  

 Five takeaways from the episode:  

  • White quit drinking cold turkey after consulting a Santa Monica hypnotist and doing a series of shaman-led ayahuasca trips while at Costa Rica’s Rythmia Life Advancement Center. He had a not uncommon, but unpleasant reaction to drinking the psychoactive brew. “Most people are throwing up in these buckets, but if you’re really unlucky, like I was, you get the shits,” White says. So you have to actually get out of this bed that you’re on and go to bathroom instead of puking in a bucket. So I never thought I’d ever see a room full of people puking in a bucket go, lucky.”
  • White’s contentious 2019 divorce from singer Margo Rey was a topic frequently covered on TMZ but White now takes the lion’s share of responsibility for the end of the union. “The bottom line is that she was living with a drunk and that can’t be fun for anybody,” White says. “I think that was probably, more than anything else, the source of the trouble. My drinking was just so out of hand.”
  • White’s trademark has for decades been telling jokes onstage while puffing on a cigar and sipping from a tumbler of booze. He still appears on stage with a glass and a bottle of Number Juan, the craft tequila company he cofounded but confirms it’s no longer alcohol in the glass from which he sips. “Well, I don’t take a slug out of the bottle, I drink out of a glass, but it’s not tequila,” White says. “The reason is, I quit drinking, I didn’t quit selling tequila…I probably should address it on stage. I just don’t have time to get into it. I’m winding this career down at the end of this year. So maybe I will, maybe I won’t.”
  • White says he know exactly how he’d react if someone came on stage and slapped him, as Will Smith did to Chris Rock at March’s Oscar ceremony. “Well, I’m going to tell you right now, I hit back, and then I pay somebody to hit too,” White says. “So be ready.” 
  • White shares further thoughts on the Will Smith controversy. “Will Smith turned himself into a joke,” White says. “If last night [on stage] I wanted to pick the low-hanging fruit, I could have just said ‘Will Smith’ and everybody would’ve laughed. So he’s a meme and a punchline and it doesn’t matter what else he’s done in his career. When you say the words ‘Will Smith,’ nobody thinks about anything but that slap and that ridiculous thing that he said, and how they didn’t know Will Smith like they thought they did…I considered it to be a character reveal party. My question for him would be, ‘who the fuck do you think you are?’ Cause I’d like to know.” 

Listen to the entire episode of The Originals here below or at Apple Podcasts. 

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