the flog

Help Is ON the Way

Kountry Wayne is making red-hot comedy without “blue” language

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Millen, Georgia is a small place. Situated about 80 miles from Savannah, there isn’t much to it. A city of about 3,500 folks (I’d call that a town), Millen has produced two noteworthy people (per Wikipedia): two former governors (yawn). It may be time to update that portion of the Wikipedia page. “Kountry” Wayne Collier is now the most famous person ever from Millen, Georgia. Collier–who uses the stage name Kountry Wayne–is equal parts entrepreneur and comedian. He has amassed legions of followers with his online videos, focusing on the quirks of family life and everyday craziness, and doing so without “going blue.” Collier is a quick study, and although he has been practicing the art of standup for only a short time, Collier has already toured the world, and is coming back to Jacksonville at The Comedy Zone for a five-show stand on Aug. 9, 10 and 11. The City Council of Millen (or whatever governing body it has) would be proud. “It’s a small town,” explains Collier. “Some things I miss, some things I don’t. I know about the world now, though.”

“I was doing my thing in music and then, one day, I started playing around with comedy on the internet and it just went to a whole other level,” explains Collier. “I started making videos and then suddenly I had a ton of followers. The comedy took over; it felt so natural. I always thought I would be on stage and travel the world–I just figured it would be doing music.” Music’s loss is comedy’s gain, as Collier has been working his butt off, touring the nation and world. And though Collier started in music, he's always had comedic influences as well. “I always loved Bernie Mac, Eddie Murphy, Richard Pryor,” explains Collier. And those guys are and were hilarious, but Collier plays it a little differently. “I do clean comedy,” explains Collier. “I was cursing in my act at first, and I would have groups tell me they thought I was funny, but that it wasn’t sharable with kids, or certain audiences. I figured it was worth changing, because it opened some more doors for me. I can get my message across without using any curse words and it's still gut-busting funny.”

Along with using clean language, Wayne Collier uses a mantra. “Help Is ON The Way” is something Collier not only espouses, but appears to sincerely believe (you can buy a T-shirt from his website that says so). Collier is a man of faith, and feels blessed to be where he is, doing what he does. “A lot of people talk to me about how the world is unfair, but if you truly believe in God, everything will be fair,” states Collier. “I am a minority from a small town in Georgia, and through hard work and focus, I am traveling the world doing what I love. It works for me, so I try to spread it. It’s like finding something like a key code that works for everyone in every situation. That is what I believe.”

Kountry Wayne has parlayed success from viral comedy videos to sold-out standup tours. What does he enjoy the most about it all? “I enjoy being able to travel with my brothers,” says Collier. “We get to travel as a family and go around the world together. We come from a small place. To be on the road, living a legit life in a positive way–it's an amazing feeling. Everyone gets along, everyone loves each other.” Once Collier dominates standup to his satisfaction (I did say earlier he was equal parts entrepreneur and comedian), he has his eye on the silver screen. “Movies are my next aim,” Collier shares with me. “I am doing it strategically. I have a lot of opportunities, so I'm going to be smart about what I do, for my fans, and so the world can see me in a positive way. I made it this far following that thinking.”

Kountry Wayne Collier is currently on tour across America, and while standup comedy isn’t rocking arenas, there are some similarities between comedy and music. “There is a rhythm. Comedy has a rhythm,” says Collier. “You can’t hear it, but you can feel it, especially when you hear the laughter. It's one of the hardest acts in the world to do–there is no backing band–there is only you up there.”

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