Shirtless and tattoed, the Ginger Billy gives viewers a humorous look into life in rural Upstate South Carolina. And he’s doing it all on his own. He lives between Union and Lockhart, South Carolina, with his wife and family. For years, he says, he was a respiratory therapist. But one day, after the retirement of Dale Earnheart, Jr., he thought maybe he’d make a video.
“Well, when he retired, I thought to myself, ‘man, you know what? This would be something that, uh, all rednecks would love if I talked about,’” he said. “When I saw how many views it got, I thought to myself, you know what, this might be actually pretty cool. This might be something I want to try again.” After that, it was the men’s romper craze, so he went to JC Penny’s and bought the biggest girls’ romper he could find and did a video about that.
“I saw them city boys wearing one and I thought ‘I’m not going to let them beat me to the fashion punch’, so I got me one,” he says in the video. “Before you go judging anybody, you go get you one, cause this thing right here? It’s like the Swiss Army knife of clothing. And really, it fits your giblets down there too, if you’re a man. They’re really feeling R-rated right now.” The video has almost 840,000 views on YouTube alone. He estimates it got between 40 and 50 million views across all social media channels.
From there, he said, things just took off. The next thing he knew he was doing stand-up. A manager signed him on and got him a gig at a casino. “I’d never done stand-up before in my life,” he says. “So the first time I ever did stand-up, he put me out on the stage and said ‘You’ve got five minutes in front of 4,000 people – have fun.’ It was a real sink or swim situation, you know?”
After that, he started touring with Catfish Cooley and others. It was a whole new world, he said. “Every day I wake up and I’m just like, this is absolutely amazing. I mean, I’m a dude, you know, I grew up in a little blue-collar town,” he says. You’re supposed to grow up. You go to school then you work here. I am making a very good living doing videos and acting the total jackass.”
Featuring Anjelika Jelly Joseph