Jeff Foxworthy is down.
Oldest daughter Jordan has just gone off to college and empty nest is settling in big
"I'm in a little bit of mourning right now -- nothing prepares you for it," the
comedian says from his Atlanta home. "She is such an amazing girl. At her age, I was
throwing pony bottles out of a Camaro in Daytona Beach."
Foxworthy and wife Pam still have teen daughter Julianne to keep them company, but
dealing with the first one to go is tough.
"I love what I do, but the girls were always my priority," says the 51-year-old who
first burst onto the laugh track in the '90s with blue-collar jokes (‘‘You know you're a
redneck when . . ."). "I don't know how good a comedian or actor I am, but I've been a
good dad. You don't know how many projects I've turned down because it would have meant
being away from them."
Foxworthy is one of the rare ones who manages to have it all -- a successful career and
The former star of The Jeff Foxworthy Show has just signed on as judge for the ABC
reality show Shark Tank and has hosted Fox's Are You Smarter Than a 5th Grader?
Watching adults squirm over elementary questions has been a great gig.
"I still get to do the comedy and have fun but unlike Alex Trebek I can bust on
people," says Foxworthy, who recalled some embarrassing moments on the set. Like when a
third-grade astronomy teacher didn't know what planet was closest to Earth or when
American Idol's Kellie Pickler thought Europe was a country.
"I said, ‘Oh we are off to the races now!' I mean, are they gonna have jobs in the
Another side job Foxworthy enjoys is writing children's books. His first, 2008's Dirt On
My Shirt, was on the New York Times bestseller list for six months.
His newest one, about a game of hide and seek called Hide!, comes out in October.
It was harder to write than, say, Games Rednecks Play: "You have to make yourself be
five years old. It takes a while to get into that mind-set. No wonder Dr. Seuss is such
a big deal."
His girls approve.
"From the day they were born I've been singing silly songs and telling them little
rhymes and poems and things," Foxworthy says.
"But there was always that special book they wanted read to them hundreds of times.
That's the kind of book I wanted to write."