Paisley hopes to land punchlines with first comedy special

NEW YORK — Country singer Brad Paisley can carry a tune, but can he land a punchline?

On Tuesday, audiences will find out when the Grammy-winning recording artist hosts his first Netflix special, the "Brad Paisley Comedy Rodeo." But Paisley isn't worried.

"You know for me it's not that big a leap because I write comedic songs anyway. I have for years goofed around onstage and tried to tell some jokes," Paisley recently told The Associated Press.

Paisley admits he enjoys making people laugh, and cites his toughest critic.

"My wife will tell you I think I'm funny, and think I'm funnier than I probably am," he said with a smile.

The special came about after Netflix reps saw Paisley host the annual Nashville Wild West Comedy festival.

"It's the strangest name for one because it's east," Paisley joked.

Paisley sees a natural connection between comedy and country music, from the songs to the stage banter.

He also cites the old long-running variety series "Hee Haw" as an inspiration. Country music stars Buck Owens and Roy Clark hosted the show and traded barbs with each other and their weekly guests.

"(There was) this sort of playful self-effacing nature of everyone willing to go on there. You see Johnny Cash goofing around. He doesn't care if the joke lands or not," he said.

Paisley is also aware that playing music to large crowds is his comfort zone, but making jokes poses its own challenges.

"It's sort of all or nothing with a joke. You either get laughs or you don't. There's a threshold you reach you realize that it worked. Then there's a threshold of sort of polite chuckling where it just didn't work and that's terrifying."

He handpicked the five comedians who will appear on the show, including Mike E. Winfield, who does a bit making fun of Paisley's "I'm Gonna Miss Her," calling Paisley "gangsta" for writing a song about leaving your girl to go fishing. Paisley will come out to sing the song with Winfield.

Paisley will tell jokes and perform some comedy songs, including "Selfie."

"It deals with our obsession with this ridiculous taking a picture of ourselves, which is so often a bad idea."

Paisley credits his hosting duties with Carrie Underwood on the Country Music Awards as his gateway to comedy.

"The CMAs was preparation in every way for something like this. I definitely wouldn't be doing it if I hadn't learned alongside Carrie every year doing that," Paisley said.

This November, Paisley will host the CMAs with Underwood for the tenth straight year.

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Online:

http://www.bradpaisley.com

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Follow John Carucci at http://www.twitter.com/jacarucci

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