Larry the Cable Guy on Jobs, Facebook and the Bacon Shortage
Larry the Cable Guy has done all right for himself. He's been able to "get er done" by playing a blue collar hick who's not always the brightest bulb on the Christmas tree.
We should all be so dim.
The comedian and actor added an extra income stream to his fortune last year when he signed on with Procter & Gamble's Prilosec OTC.
Competition has heated up in the heartburn market, especially in for so-called PPI drugs, proton pump inhibitors, where sales are closing in on an estimated $1 billion a year.
Prilosec holds the largest market share at 47.6 percent, according to research cited by the Associated Press from Euromonitor International. But P&G's 2012 annual report says shipments were down in North America "due to competitive activity." (Read More: Procter & Gamble Profit Tops Forecast, Plans Buybacks.)
Now the company is coming out with a Wildberry version of the drug to attract new users with a pleasing flavor, even though you don’t chew the pills, you still swallow them whole.
"It's an explosion," said Larry of the flavor sensation. The comedian is also taking part in a "Wildberry Flavor Sweepstakes" which will give away tickets to a triple crown of sporting tickets: the Super Bowl, the Final Four, and the Daytona 500.
"It's a big deal," he told CNBC of the contest. "You think they’d get me if it wasn't a big deal? I mean, if it wasn't a big deal, they'd have Ted Danson out here."
I asked Larry about all kinds of topics, from the presidential debates to the U.S. economy to his own personal investments. See the full interview on video, but below are my highlights.
Larry admitted only watching some of Wednesday night’s debate. “I was scrapbooking.”
He feels the candidates are not addressing issues that matter. "Nobody's brought up one of the things hurting our country more than anything else, and that's the bacon shortage." (Read More: Forget Bacon, What Else Do We Need to Stockpile?)
"I'm not very political. I thought Super Tuesday was four tacos at Taco Bell."
THE PRILOSEC DEAL
Larry said his agreement with Procter & Gamble runs one year at a time.
"I'll tell you what I get paid, $6.75 an hour, and it's worth every cent," he said. "Definitely better than when I used to work at Radio Shack."
THE STOCK MARKET
How does a cable guy invest? "I have a financial manager out of Atlanta." The manager has Larry invested in stocks, though the comedian can’t remember which ones.
"I did not get Facebook stock," he said with relief.
Still, not everything has worked out well. "I think the worst investment I ever made was Princess Diana antennae balls. I lost about 60 grand on that."
This is where Larry the Cable Guy turns serious. His “Only in America” program on the History Channel begins its third season in January. The show sends him around the country talking to people who've built up businesses and passed them on through generations.
"It's a show I wanted to do because I wanted to make people proud of their country, and I wanted to make people happy that they live here."
But when he talks to small business owners, "They say they could hire more people and could do more things if the government got off their back a little bit … they just want to be able to have their business and grow their business, and it’s kind of hard to grow your business when you have pages and pages and pages and pages of regulations and things to fill out.”
As for his own job protection, one could argue that a down economy is good for the funny biz.
"I'm a comedian,” said the man who voiced “Mater” in the “Cars” movies for Disney . “My job is to make people smile a little bit, make people laugh a little bit, and if they had a bad day, they can forget about their troubles for a little bit."
Finally, Larry the Cable Guy isn’t too worried about America’s future.
"I think we're still the greatest country in the world. We've been through a lot of things, we're going through some rough stuff right now, but, you know what? We didn't get where we are today by being a bunch of quitters, and I think it'll turn around."
All we need to do is ... get er done.
—By CNBC's Jane Wells
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