The Liberal Redneck Comes to Vegas

Comedian Trae Crowder on recreational marijuana and having a good time in Las Vegas

Nicol Biesek Photography

WellRed (from left: Corey Forrester, Trae Crowder, Drew Morgan)

Comedian Trae Crowder, better known as the Liberal Redneck, knows there’s truth behind every stereotype—especially stereotypes about the South. That’s a main draw for over 155,000 subscribers to Crowder’s Youtube channel, which contains his rants on a range of political subjects from Black Lives Matter to transgender bathrooms to Trump. The “Redneck” portion speaks to Crowder’s Southern accent, shirtlessness and standing on his back porch.

“I’m a poor, white-trash redneck from the middle of nowhere in Tennessee. I am also a well-educated, well-traveled, godless liberal,” Crowder, who has been a touring stand-up comedian for seven years, said in one of the videos on his channel. He and his comedy partners, under the WellRed Comedy name, are touring the country to show that while some of the stereotypes about the South are true, the perception that Southerners bring nothing to the cultural table is a bigoted misconception. Vegas Seven caught up with Crowder before WellRed’s tour stop here in Las Vegas at The Space.

When you started doing stand-up, were you based mostly in Knoxville? Did you tour a lot in the past seven years?

I wouldn’t call it touring. But I traveled around a lot. … People were not buying tickets to come see me. I would do comedy festivals, smaller ones in various cities. Or I would go to Atlanta or Chattanooga or over to Nashville to do shows at the comedy clubs or [alternative] shows. But yeah, I was based in Knoxville. I traveled around, but I wasn’t making any money at it. I still had a day job.

I try to keep up with politics but sometimes I find it too depressing. What are your main ways of plugging in, and how often you really read the news?

I’m looking for news, I usually just go to Google News. It’s like an aggregator, and I just start there and the rabbit hole takes me.

I have a lot of friends that use Twitter.

Yeah, Twitter or Reddit … The way that stuff works, if there’s any kind of big thing going on, you’re going to run across it on there. But between [Google News, Twitter and Reddit], that’s mostly how I do it—almost entirely the internet.

[My wife and I have] actually been back in [our] home town[s] … for the past two weeks without any WiFi—barely any cell-phone service or whatever. So I’ve actually been off the grid. I’ve been pretty disconnected lately. I kind of lost track of everything. I just got back out here, basically yesterday.

Nicol Biesek Photography

Trae Crowder

Do you feel yourself plug back in when you get back in town after being remote?

I definitely notice the difference in the other direction, meaning the isolation of being off the grid in rural Tennessee out in the backwoods. It’s kind of nice, honestly—a change of pace. I notice that. That’s way more of a stark contrast than the return. It feels like a return to normalcy, basically.

Recreational marijuana sales are now legal in Nevada. What are your thoughts on that?

I’m totally in support of it. I’m not a big user myself, of marijuana … but I fully support that whole movement. Particularly because of the personal relationship I have with opiate addiction. I’ve been addicted myself, and my mom’s an addict. My cousin overdosed and died a couple of years ago. And I’ve lost other family members to [addiction] along the way.

I take that pretty seriously. [It’s] something I care about, which is why [there is] another video I did … about [another drug called] kratom, which I feel is more directly related to that particular epidemic. But I still think, and there’s been clinical studies that back this up, that legalizing marijuana can also help. For some people, it helps with pain management or whatever else. I just think [that] anything that keeps people off of opiates and opioids is a good thing.

Also, philosophically, this is America. I think people should be able to make their own decisions when it comes to that kind of thing. I support it from multiple different angles, is what I’m saying. I couldn’t be more in favor of it.

What are you going to do when you’re here in Vegas? Have you hung out here before? Are you a fan of Vegas?

I’ve been to Vegas before, and I’m a gambler. I’m not like a … degenerate gambler. I don’t make special trips to casinos and stuff, usually. … On tour, when I have Corey [Forrester] with me, we’ll go and hit up a casino, if we’ve got time.

I’ll tell you one thing you probably won’t ask about, because you have no reason to: I’m a huge football fan. I’m from Tennessee, but when I was a kid and I just got into football, Tennessee didn’t have a football team. My aforementioned first cousin—who I looked up to a lot—was a huge Oakland Raiders fan, and so I became a huge Oakland Raiders fan. I have been my whole life. And they are moving to Las Vegas, so I actually expect to spend a pretty significant amount in Vegas in the coming years.

WellRED Comedy Tour

July 13, 8 p.m., $35, The Space, 3460 Cavaretta Ct.,