Family honors humorist 30 years after death
Posted: Friday, December 28, 2012 8:00 pm
The Messenger 12.28.12
Nashville — The family of Grady Nutt, Hee Haw’s “Prime Minister of Humor,” has launched a website in his memory. The noted storyteller was famous for his spontaneous comedy routines on the top-rated TV show.
“Over the years, we’ve heard from people around the world how Grady touched their lives,” says Toby Nutt, Grady’s son. “We couldn’t think of a better time to communicate with his fans and release some of Grady’s best material.”
The family hopes to share many classic Grady Nutt stories, TV and radio clips on gradynutt.com, twitter and Facebook page, offering fans an opportunity for interaction. They are even offering a commemorative 2 CD collection of never before heard Grady Nutt tracks.
“These are some of Dad’s greatest bits,” says Perry Nutt, Grady’s other son. “Listening to these stories takes you back to a time before digital, when all recordings were scratchy but real.”
Grady Nutt was born Sept. 2, 1934, in Amarillo, Texas. He began his career as a child, singing gospel music on the radio.
He graduated from Baylor University in Texas and later The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Ky., where he became a pastor and recruiter for the seminary. While he was speaking on college campuses, his hilarious performances came to the attention of Ralph Edwards, producer of the hit TV shows “Truth or Consequences” and “This Is Your Life.”
Nutt’s popularity soon led to many TV appearances and guest-hosting “The Mike Douglas Show,” the country’s top-rated daytime talk show.
Nutt’s big break came in 1979 when he was added to the cast of Hee Haw, one of the most popular shows in television history. He was dubbed “The Prime Minister of Humor” and given a couple of minutes each episode to do routines, which became instant classics.
Nutt also toured the country, entertaining thousands with his unique brand of American comedy and storytelling. He visited with fans after each show and his books and albums became best sellers.
In 1981, NBC aired the sitcom pilot, “The Grady Nutt Show.” The show starred Nutt as a minister of a local church always involved in some kind of funny crisis.
On Nov. 23, 1982, Nutt finished a speaking engagement in Cullman, Ala. He boarded a charter flight home and immediately after takeoff, the plane crashed, killing Nutt, the pilot and co-pilot. His family, friends and fans around the world mourned the loss of this great American humorist and story teller.
“Oh mercy, I loved Grady. I just loved his stories and his timing was the best. He used humor to spread his faith to a very wide audience. He was a honey!”
“People that were not church folks and just saw Grady on Hee Haw didn’t realize he was really a preacher. On the anniversary of my wife’s death, Grady called to make sure I was OK. That’s what preachers and real friends do. Grady was a true friend and great talent!”
“Grady was a friend and a true original whose brand of humor can’t be replaced.”
The family hopes this project keeps Nutt’s legacy alive and as he used to say, “Laughter is the hand of God on the shoulder of a troubled world.”