When he's on stage, he usually wears a suit jacket over a crisp dress shirt and he sips a cocktail.
The look is closer to Dean Martin than to Jeff Foxworthy, but Ron White said he still identifies with the Blue-Collar Comedy Tour that made him a star.
"I'm very proud of my affiliation with Blue Collar Comedy," White said in a phone interview from his California home. "It is the most successful comedy tour of all time. I never was specifically blue-collar but I come from a small town in Texas and my comedy comes from that."
White said his relatively polished persona is as blue-collar as that of his tour cohorts who poke fun at working-class Southerners.
"It never was about the South, and it wasn't all about rednecks," he said. "We were just as popular in the North as we were in the South."
White's fans can see him perform live when he comes to the Straz Center for the Performing Arts in Tampa for two shows, at 7 and 9 :30 p.m. Saturday.
Even though he's still identified with that ground-breaking Blue Collar Comedy Tour -- which also included Jeff Foxworthy, Bill Engvall and Larry the Cable Guy, and spawned three films, a DVD and a TV series -- White has done plenty on his own. He's written a best-selling book called "I Had the Right to Remain Silent, But I Didn't Have the Ability" and he's released six solo CDs and DVDs. Three of his albums reached the top of the Billboard Comedy charts and one, "A Little Unprofessional," was nominated for a Grammy Award for Best Comedy Album earlier this year.
"I feel like I'm continuing to grow as an artist," he said. "Stand-up com
edy is harder than people think. Or maybe it's easier than I think and I just don't know it."
Opening the show in Tampa is Alex Reymundo, a comic whom a lot of people know from his 2007 Comedy Central Special "Alex Reymundo Hick-Spanic: Live in Albuquerque" and from the Showtime special "The Original Latin Kings of Comedy" with George Lopez and Paul Rodriguez and others.
Reymundo is White's brother-in-law. White's wife, singer Margo Rey, is Reymundo's sister.
Rey's a cancer patient, and both she and White have talked openly about her disease. White said she's doing well.
"She lost all her hair," he said. "She had a Mohawk for a while and now she's bald. I'm lucky. She's lucky. She looks good bald. A lot of people don't. She rocked the Mohawk."
Besides his nearly continuous touring, White appears regularly at Mirage in Las Vegas. He's also working on a new "Salute to the Troops," a follow up to his hit 2012 DVD that featured White in other comics in a benefit for the Armed Forces Foundation.
Details: Nov. 8, Straz Center for the Performing Arts, 1010 N. MacInnes Place, Tampa. Show times: 7 and 9:30 p.m. Tickets: $59.50-$109.50 plus service charge. Information: 813-229-7827, strazcenter.org.
Marty Clear, features writer/columnist, can be reached at 941-708-7919. Follow twitter.com/martinclear.