What happens when you combine comedy and an outsider’s take on the farming lifestyle — pure gold. In this special, “Where the Field Corn Grows,” comedian Greg Warren puts a spotlight on blue-collar industries, especially agriculture. Warren touches on a range of farm topics, including cover crops, daylight saving time, and FFA members and their passion for life and agriculture.
He jokes about all the things that he doesn’t know about agriculture, like learning that there are such things as field corn and sweet corn, and being able to figure out that field corn is grown in a field, while sweet corn is grown … well, in a field.
OK, so maybe that’s not the best way for a non-farmer to distinguish the two. We’ll let him tell the rest of the story.
But he says he does sometimes buy things from the bulk bin at the grocery store, which requires some sifting, shoveling, and weighing — he admits that this is about as close to “farming” as he ever gets.
So, he’s got a lot to learn. But that’s OK!
Who would have ever thought of comedy as a form of education? Any of us can feel a little defensive when our intellectual shortcomings are first exposed, but Warren’s comedy special talks about this in a fun way. He is able to reach both sides — farmers and city folks alike — and bring them together through laughter and common ground.
He uses his common sense to understand the basics of agriculture, home repair, and finances. Here’s the trailer for his hour-long special:
Warren has appeared on “Late Night with Seth Meyers,” “Last Comic Standing” and “Dry Bar Comedy.” To better understand why he decided to focus on agriculture and to figure out how well Warren did his research, we “dug around” this comedian’s mind and asked him questions about “Where the Field Corn Grows.”
Why did you decide to create a special dedicated to farmers?
I was doing a show in Iowa a few years back and there were some farmers in attendance. I asked one of them what he farmed and he said, “Beans.” I said, “Like green beans?,” and they all laughed at me like I was the dumbest person they’d ever met. I told that story on stage and it started growing into something bigger. A friend of mine, Jack Vaughn, who is in charge of comedy at Sirius/XM asked me what I was working on. I told him the farming bit, and he told me I should try to create a whole special based on farming. He’s always given me good advice over the years, so I started trying to create more farm-themed material.
I have to believe there was a good bit of research that went into this bit. How how long did you visit with farmers to get a better grasp of the farming lifestyle?
It is the first time I have ever done that kind of research for a comedy project. (Probably any project. As I remember it, most of my research in school was pretty pathetic.) I usually spent a half day with farmers. I visited farms in Southern Illinois, Missouri, Iowa, Bermuda, and Florida. All the farmers were generous with their time and knowledge. And produce! I ate some amazing watermelon and sweet corn and some kind of mini-banana thing in Bermuda.
Have you screened the special for any farmers yet? If so, what did they have to say about it?
I haven’t screened it yet, but I shot the special in Edwardsville, Illinois, which is adjacent to a lot of farm communities. There were a bunch of farmers at the show. So far, all the comments from farmers who have seen the bits live have been really positive. It was really important to me to have farmers at the taping.
Do you think this special could change how people in the suburbs perceive a farmer?
Well, I never set out to really change anyone’s perception. I really just want to make them laugh. However, I think any time people learn some new information, it helps everyone involved. I think farming is something that is so close to the suburbs yet suburbanites never think about it. It is, however, pretty easy to get people interested in farming. Maybe it’s because people love food so much. Maybe because farming affects everyone. I think people also are open to it because there is so much pure and good associated with farming — nature, plants, animals, beauty. I’ve always found it is easier to write jokes about the edges of topics. The center is trickier. If you can get some traction with the edges, you can sometimes back your way into the center and find a little meaning.
The special is one for the whole family to enjoy! Farmers and rural folks will surely be able to relate to many of Warren’s jokes. The video special is currently available on Amazon, Amazon Prime Direct, Google Play, Xbox Video, and Vudu. The album will available on all digital audio platforms starting July 21, 2020. Visit Warren’s website at www.gregwarrencomedy.com.