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'Liberal Redneck' Trae Crowder talks comedy in the age of Trump, and this weekend's Orlando Indie Comedy Fest 

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click to enlarge Jackie Kashian
  • Jackie Kashian

The trio didn't set out with the intention of filling in a particular niche, but they have found an audience, quickly landing a book deal for The Liberal Redneck Manifesto: Draggin' Dixie Outta the Dark, published this past October by Atria Books. Crowder himself is also set to star in and co-executive produce an as-yet-untitled television project for Fox via Party Down co-creator Rob Thomas' Spondoolie Productions.

It's difficult to say whether Crowder and his compatriots would have had the success they've enjoyed over the past year if it weren't an election year – and an uncommonly circuslike election year at that. But the 2016 election brought to light a lot of the disparity between the worldviews of typical city-dwelling liberals and rural conservatives, a fact that Crowder concedes probably helped his profile rise.

"Let me preface this by saying none of that is worth it to me, as far as I still wish Trump had lost. I'm still scared. But, I would be lying if I said that the current landscape of America doesn't make me a little more relevant," he says.

As a byproduct of being one of the only white, Southern liberals given any spotlight in the media, Crowder has found himself under misguided pressure to explain Donald Trump's presidential victory. "I've already run into it a lot. Hell, when I was on Bill Maher, they told me that that was one of the main reasons they wanted to have me on was to talk about this," he says. "To a lot of liberals in the rest of the country, I'm one of the 'enemy,' except that I agree with them. They want me to explain these people to them or whatever. 'Why did this happen, why did this happen?' You know, that sort of thing? I'm like a source for that now, apparently."

Crowder has found that, though the left is certainly tolerant and open-minded when it comes to accepting people of other religions, ethnicities and sexual orientations, they still hold on to a lot of misguided stereotypes about the South. "To generalize – which is what they do to us, which I don't appreciate – there's undoubtedly a stereotype or a misunderstanding. You know what it is. They think the South is backwards, and filled with stupid people, and is more racist than the rest of the country. And I don't think that's true." Citing a segment from Last Week Tonight With John Oliver, Crowder points out that recent studies on racial segregation in schools have shown that the South is actually the least segregated region of the country, while liberal stronghold New York City is the most.

"There's some truth to some of it. But some of it is just not fuckin' true. But those stereotypes still persist: racist, homophobic, stupid, Jesus freaks, slow, backwards ... fat. All that shit. And again, my whole thing. I've never once tried to act like those people don't exist down here. They do. It's just they don't represent the entire region. They don't represent me. And they don't represent a whole bunch of the people I know. And they also just don't represent the South, period. There's a lot of awesome shit about the South. Those people exist, but there's shitty people everywhere."

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