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For other persons named Billy James, see Billy James.
For the character "John Boy", see The Waltons.

John Isley and Billy James, known as John Boy & Billy, are American radio hosts based in Charlotte, North Carolinamarker. Their comedic morning program The John Boy & Billy Big Show broadcasts from 6 a.m. to 10 a.m. eastern time in several southern and midwestern states via syndication through Premiere Radio Networks.

The show is especially popular in the Southern United States and is syndicated to both Classic rock and Country Music radio stations. The format consists of talk segments intermixed with music, contests and skit-based humor. Broadcast states include North Carolinamarker, Alabamamarker, Arkansasmarker, Floridamarker, Georgiamarker, Illinoismarker, Indianamarker, Iowamarker, Kansasmarker, Kentuckymarker, Louisianamarker, Marylandmarker, Michiganmarker, Mississippimarker, Missourimarker, New Jerseymarker, South Carolinamarker, Tennesseemarker, Texasmarker, Ohiomarker, Virginiamarker, and West Virginiamarker.

The duo frequently interview musicians, comedians, NASCAR drivers, professional wrestlers, and other public figures. Robert Earl Keen, Killer Beaz, Tim Wilson, Rodney Carrington, and James Gregory are occasional guests. The show also markets a line of Bar-B-Que sauces (named John Boy & Billy Grillin' Sauce).


For more than five years, John Boy and Billy hosted the morning show at Top 40 WBCY in Charlotte. Their comic talents made them number one with the station's 18 to 34 listeners. But John Boy quit in February 1986 for "religious reasons", while Billy stayed for a month and a half, partnering unsuccessfully with Jim "Catfish" Prewitt.

WRFX, which changed to album rock that same year, signed John Boy and Billy to do their morning show, but they could not start their new show until November due to a noncompete clause. A $250,000 billboard and television campaign, in which the jocks had bags over their heads, preceded their return. On November 8 at 9 A.M., they announced, "They're back!" and played "The Boys Are Back in Town" by Thin Lizzy. One difference on the new station, said John Boy, was "We'll actually listen to the music ... we're rock 'n' roll guys."

John Boy was arrested at a night club October 21, 1990, and charged with felony possession of marijuana, but the charge was later reduced to a misdemeanor because the amount was small. As part of his plea agreement, John Boy agreed to broadcast anti-drug messages on WRFX.

Early in 1993, news came out that John Boy and Billy were being asked by Mel Karmazin (boss to Howard Stern) to move to Atlanta, Georgiamarker, and syndicate their show. At the time, WROQ in Greenville, South Carolinamarker, was the only other station carrying the show. WRFX general manager Jack Daniel said the station made a six-year deal that would keep John Boy and Billy at WRFX but also allow the show to be heard in Atlanta, along with Raleighmarker and Columbiamarker in the Carolinas as well as Texas, with the hosts getting a share of syndication income. One disadvantage: the show would include less locally-oriented humor that people in other markets wouldn't understand.

By August 1994, the show was heard on 14 radio stations, most playing rock. Two of the stations were sports talk--WRFX-AM (co-owned with flagship WRFX-FM) and WFNSmarker in Tampa, Floridamarker. The other stations were in WZZUmarker in Raleigh; WROQ in Greenville; WSFL in New Bern, North Carolinamarker; WGCXmarker in Mobile, Alabamamarker; WYBB in Charleston, South Carolinamarker; WMFX in Columbia; WKLCmarker in Charleston, West Virginiamarker; WDRKmarker in Panama City Beach, Floridamarker; WVRKmarker in Columbus, Georgiamarker; WJMX-FM in Florence, South Carolinamarker; WIMZ in Knoxville, Tennesseemarker; and WEKL in Augusta, Georgiamarker. WRFX-AM went back to sports talk in the morning early in 1995.

On July 6, the show added KZPS in Dallas, Texasmarker, which at number 7 in the nation was the largest market yet. Now on 19 stations, its largest markets had been Orlando, Floridamarker, and Nashville, Tennesseemarker, but now John Boy and Billy had the potential to be mentioned alongside Stern and Don Imus. John Boy hoped to be heard up north, too, though many doubted that would work.

By 1996, the show was heard on 28 stations in 10 states. In June of that year the first country station to air the show was WMTD-FMmarker in Beckley, West Virginiamarker.

In 1999, John Boy and Billy were being heard on 65 rock stations in 18 states, but the show was expected to dramatically increase its potential audience when the producers added the option of country music. WHSLmarker in Greensboro, North Carolinamarker, which like the show and WRFX was owned by Capstar Broadcasting, was one of the first country stations in the network. Prophet Systems Innovations, also owned by Capstar, developed the technology to easily allow different musical programs between talk segments (about three rock songs were played per hour, though country songs tended to be shorter and there might be more of them). Macon Moye, vice president and general manager of the John Boy and Billy network, said the addition of country music would allow the show to be heard in northern states where the show would not fit a rock format. Sean Ross, editor of Airplay Monitor, cautioned that the show might be "too edgy and too male" for some country stations, but Tom Taylor, editor of the M Street Daily Fax of Nashville, Tennesseemarker, believed the show had great potential to expand.

By 2002, 110 stations carried the show. At this time, oldies stations could broadcast the show with songs specific to their format. This was true when classic rock stations inadvertently aired the Queen song "Another One Bites the Dust" immediately after the show reported about the Beltway sniper attacks in October 2002. Executive producer Randy Brazell said songs were selected in advance and stored using complicated computer software. After the hosts learned from an affiliate what had happened, they decided that to mention it on the air would give the incident more attention; perhaps people had not noticed.

In 2008 the show gained its first New Jerseymarker affiliate, Country Music station 106.7 WKOEmarker in North Cape Maymarker. In April of 2009, the show went north of the Mason-Dixon line and went on the air on 95.9 WZDB Sykesville, Pennsylvania "Rockin the Northern Alleghenies".

The crew

John "John Boy" Isley - John Isley (born March 28, 1956) is from Graham, North Carolinamarker. He is the host of the Big Show. Before entering comedy, he worked as a gas station attendant, but started in radio by running the tapes on his hometown radio station in 1975. One of his early radio gigs included a stint as an afternoon and evening DJ for WRJZ-AM in Knoxville, Tennessee during the late 1970s. Isley has been married for over 20 years and has three sons. His catchphrases include "Oowa oowa oowa", "Where's my big bag?", "Love ya, mean it!", and "I care, I'm just not going to do anything about it." John Boy is an avid sports fisherman and often refers to his boat, the "Duh Huh".

  • Billy James - Billy James serves as the co-host. He is from Gastonia, North Carolinamarker, he graduated from Hunter Huss High Schoolmarker and attended a technical school in Atlantamarker. His first radio job was at WADAmarker in Shelby, North Carolinamarker. Billy has been married since 1986 and has two children. In character, Billy plays a straight man and a sidekick role.
  • Robert D. Raiford - (born December 27, 1927) offers political and social commentaries during the show. He is from Concord, North Carolinamarker, and majored in communication at the University of South Carolinamarker. Raiford started broadcasting in 1944 by commentating on baseball games. His first radio presentation job was at WEGOmarker in Concord, North Carolina. Raiford has appeared in 28 movies; he usually plays judge characters. He is known for his quote "Who says that? I say that!" which is also the title of his book containing excerpts from his commentary from the show. A running gag has been made about the amount of whiskey Raiford drinks, though Raiford often says "I spill more than I drink."
  • Randy Brazell - Now General Manager and Executive Producer, Randy Brazell (born 1961) is from Gastonia and attended the same high school as Billy. Randy is married with one daughter. He frequently participates in the show's skits. Randy's background in radio goes back to his childhood: His father owned a radio station. He is occasionally teased by rest of the cast for being "the pretty one" or for being a "geek".
  • Jackie Curry-Lynch - Assistant Producer (born May 22, 1962) is from Grottoes, Virginiamarker. She originally began as the front desk receptionist, but has become a regular part of the crew. She participates in a number of the skits. She is referred to frequently by the hosts as "Jackie and the Twins", in reference to her breast implants. She especially enjoys oral speech. She is the sister of former Charlotte Hornets shooting guard/small forward Dell Curry and aunt to Stephen Curry.
  • Jeff Pillars - (born July 13, 1958) is from Kalamazoo, Michiganmarker, and is a writer for the show. He writes many of the skits for the show and performs several of them. He has also acted in a number of movies and television shows.
  • Marci Moran - Marci Moran (born July 22) is a Dallas, Texas native. She is the Guest Coordinator, but often finds herself on air alongside the others, especially in the "Playhouse" skits. She is nicknamed "Tater".
  • Terry Hanson - Terry Hanson (born June 16, 1947) is from East St. Louis, Illinoismarker. He is a regular member of the ensemble, responsible for current content, media news and sports. Occasionally gets annoyed when someone else, usually John Boy, mispronounces his middle name (Morris) as "Maurice."
  • Barry Hopson - Barry Hopson (born October 7, 1965) (Big Show listener Barry Hopson, as John Boy refers to him) is from Tyler, Texasmarker. He is the show engineer and "2000-2005 Big Show Employee of the Year."
  • Marty Lambert - Charlotte native Marty Lambert is in charge of affiliate sales and syndication for the show. Whenever Marty is mentioned on the show, a musical jingle is played of a chorus singing: "Smarty Marty, the One Man Party!" He is frequently the subject of jokes on the show, particularly about his fashion sense and an incident when someone at a Big Show public appearance commented to John Boy, "I didn't know Marty was gay!" However, Marty is happily married to his wife.
  • Jay Wilson - Jay Wilson (born October 23, 1960) is from Kingston, New Yorkmarker. He is the Senior Account Executive and primary sponsor liaison for the show.
  • Steve Burgess - Steve Burgess (born January 14, 1974) is from Charlotte. Formerly referred to as "Steve the Idiot Intern" by John Boy and Billy now referred to as "Steve Behind the Glass", Steve is now no longer an intern and has become the Weekend Director for the show. The hosts used to frequently tease Steve about his usage of the expression "Dude!" He was the "2006 Big Show Employee of the Year."
  • Donnie Presley - Donnie Presley (born February 17, 1964), also from Charlotte, is a former police officer and current Director of Merchandising for the show.
  • Jeff Kent - Jeff is the program director for flagship affiliate WRFX 99.7 in Charlotte, and frequently hosts "The Best of the Big Show" broadcasts on Saturday mornings and whenever the cast goes on vacation.

Popular characters

There have been many characters played on the show. Some of the most popular are listed here.
  • Reverend Billy Ray Collins is perhaps the most recognizable, most frequent, and most popular of all characters ever to have appeared on the John Boy and Billy Big Show. He is the archetype of the Southern radio preacher, in the style of Oliver B. Greene or Lester Roloff. He pastors the Sword Of Joshua Independent Full Gospel Pentecostal Assembly, which is located "just off State Road 23 on the Frontage Road." (Played by Billy James)
  • Oliver is a soft-spoken, gentle sounding intellectual gentleman prone to wickedly sarcastic personal attacks on anyone and everyone, especially the Big Show crew. Oliver responds to fan mail and always introduces his segments with his calmly spoken trademark, "Well, well, well..." accompanied by gentle violin music. (Played by Jeff Pillars)
  • Hoyt and Delbert are John Boy's friends, a pair of rednecks who share a trailer in the mobile-home park known variously as "Casa de Double Wide" or "Temptation Trailer." Delbert has never actually been heard on the show, but John Boy frequently calls Hoyt and is told a story about some recent calamity in Delbert's life. Usually this involves Delbert's new girlfriend of the week. When asked by John Boy how something went for Delbert, the answer is invariably the distinctly pronounced catchphrase: "NOT TOO GOOD!" Before signing off, Hoyt always asks John Boy to say "duh-huh" to Goober (see below) if he sees him later. (Played by Billy James)
  • Reverend Ernest Lee Sincere and his friend Goober (a.k.a. "Rev and Goob") often stop by the studio. Ernest delivers the latest news about goings-on at his church and then introduces Goober, who tells terrible jokes. At the start of the segment, Ernest drives John Boy crazy by constantly tapping on the microphone and testing it. (Ernest played by Billy James; Goober played by John Isley)
  • Ricky B. Sharpe and his wife Lucy R. Sharpe are a married couple that live in Dothan, Alabamamarker, and are, as their names sarcastically suggest, not very intelligent. Ricky is the frequent butt of jokes involving his very short height. When he gets flustered, he begins using word fragments to express his frustration, such as in the sentence, "I was going up there to the god-dang-pee-bah-gee-doo-put-kot store!" (Ricky B. played by Jeff Pillars and Lucy R. played by Marci Moran)
  • Brenda Sharpe-Buckner is Ricky B. Sharpe's sister who also lives in Dothan, Alabama. She is "Fred's husband" -- a fact that she reiterates constantly. Brenda and Fred constantly engage in shoplifting and petty theft from Wal-Mart, usually for hams and other food items. Brenda usually ends up appearing in court in front of Judge Frank "Fuzzy" Reinhold (played by John Isley), either standing trial or speaking on behalf of her husband. (Played by Marci Moran)
  • J.D. is the spokesperson for "J.D.'s 24 Hour Drive-Thru Pawn & Gun Auto Parts Pharmaceutical Adult Gift Bait 'n Tackle Discount Cigarette Outlet". A fast-talking Southern man, he advertises all manner of bizarre sales and specials that his store is offering, capped by the catchphrase "What a Southern boy needs." (Played by Nathan Anderson)
  • Marvin Webster is a stereotypical black man who comes on the Big Show to comment on the state of the world, all entirely from a black man's perspective. He ends every segment with his well-known catchphrase "Y'all think about it. I'm Marvin Webster." (Played by Billy James)
  • Mad Max, as his name professes, is a very angry man who phones in on the Big Show and shares with the world what drives him mad. Max opens every segment with his well known greeting, "John Boy and Billy!" which John Boy responds with "Yo!" and Max finishes "Mad Max here." Coined phrases of Mad Max include "John Boy? Shut up!", "...and quit ruinin' my life!", and "My big ol' butt!" His rants typically end on an ironic note, with Mad Max stating, after a long rant, "Y'all have a nice day." (Played by John Isley)
  • Uncle Buddy, full name Buddy Young, Jr., the fictional uncle of Billy. Uncle Buddy is a comedian from the golden age of comedy who uses a style similar to that of Rodney Dangerfield and Don Rickles. Assisting Buddy is his drummer, Morty, who drums the traditional beat after every punchline. Buddy opens every segment with his greeting, "HOW ARE YA?!" (Played by Jeff Pillars)
  • "Gaydar" O'Reilly, a heterosexual man with a fascination for homosexuals who stops by the Big Show to keep the world up-to-date on the latest news in the world of homosexuals. (Played by Jeff Pillars )
  • Phil McCracken is an effeminate gay man who works part-time as a receptionist at the fictional front desk of the Big Show office. The gang will occasionally turn on the microphone hidden up front to see what Phil is up to. Phil will first talk with Babs, his blonde and naïve co-worker, before sending her off and making fun of her behind her back. The phone calls he takes are often from from Hermie Sadler, Racing Fat Boy, and his lover Marcel. He signs off with "To the Mini Cooper! Carry on, straight people!" (Played by Jeff Pillars)
  • Murray and Cille run the fictional Red Hot Talent booking agency, which represents John Boy and Billy. Cille, the receptionist, typically answers the phone with a story of the latest disaster in her life, then yells, "Murray! Jimbo and Bobby on two!" Murray, the pair's agent, consistently lines up horrible bookings for them, then suggests they have lunch sometime while making the same mistakes in their names that Cille makes. (Both are played by Billy James)
  • Buzz Nutley is a fictional reporter for the John Boy and Billy show who gives weekly to monthly updates on what is happening up in Washington D.C. in a comical way. He normally targets Barack Obama, Nancy Pelosi, Global Warming, etc. He typically ends his broadcast with "Good luck America, you're gonna need it!" (Played by Jeff Pillars)
  • Cadberry is John Boy's fictional butler who normally accompanies him wherever he goes. He appears to be the most serious of all the characters, but is revealed to be an alcoholic in most episodes, which often gets him in heaps of trouble (i.e. drinks moonshine, ends up wrestling an alligator) which often has bad results for him and John Boy. (Played by Jeff Pillars)
  • Tarmack is a psychic who frequently comes on The Big Show to read "The lost letters out of the mayonaise jar of Whoopi Goldberg's underwear drawer!" and will read a current event, movie, or a sequence of events, and psychically reads what is in the letter. (Played by Billy James)

Show segments

A comedy segment ("bit") is broadcast near the end of each hour, with the 7:00 hour bit being repeated in the next day's 6:00 hour.

  • Raiford's Rave offers social commentaries during the show just after the start of every hour. Formerly, this was every half hour. "Who says that? I say that! Robert D. Raiford, John Boy & Billy Big Show."
  • Dumb Crook News: Real world news, reporting arrests of criminals who managed to get themselves caught in hilarious ways.
  • Dell's Den: is a real restaurant and bar in Valley, Alabamamarker. John Boy and Billy frequently play recordings of the "Ad Talk Guy," who records their answering machine messages. He is a big fan of the Auburn Tigers, and his most common quote is "War Damn Eagle!" Dell's Den has an "Ad Talk" line with often hilarious rambling messages about anything and everything. The number for this line is (334) 756-3336.
  • John Boy and Billy Playhouse: Character-driven skits acted out by The Big Show cast, sometimes calling themselves "The Not Ready for Drive Time Players" for this occasion. A good number of the skits are set in a fictional Southern town called Brushywood, though some have been set in such diverse places as Ireland, Dothan, Alabamamarker, the Wild West, and Thibodaux, Louisianamarker. The ending catch phrase is always "Hey, big man, lemme hold a dollar!" New episodes are broadcast on Fridays just before 8:00AM est.
  • Ax Ike: Ike Turner performs in the segment "Ax Ike." He is supposed to be the same Ike Turner who was married to Tina Turner. He offers advice on interpersonal relationships — most particularly he advises people that they should administer (or that they might receive) "breaking their foot off in the crack of yo' butt". Ike is known to have trouble with the pronunciation and definitions of big words. He always introduces his segment with, "YO! What's up? Welcome to Ax Ike, the place to go for all the 411 you need for all your, uh, uh, whatcha call em..." - followed by a mangled pronunciation of "interpersonal relationship." He also often rants at his adopted white son Patrick, and ends with, "This is Ike. Peace out." (Played by Jeff Pillars)
  • Karl Childers' Storytime: Karl Childers is the main character from the movie Sling Blade, a character played by Billy Bob Thornton in the movie. This version is imitated by Big Show crew member Jeff Pillars. The segment usually features a well known story (some examples are Cinderella and Dracula) told in the twisted way that typifies the character of Karl Childers.
  • Karl and Melinda: Karl and his friend Melinda ("the big girl from the dollar store") tell jokes on the air. Melinda (played by Marci Moran) speaks in a depressed monotone and frequently complains that her feet hurt.
  • Mr. Rhubarb's Storytime: Mr. Rhubarb is a soft spoken kid's show host not unlike Captain Kangaroo or Mr. Rogers. He has a segment called "Mr. Rhubarb's Storytime" in which he tells stories and jokes that are usually incredibly corny. (Played by John Isley)
  • Top 10 List: A humorous list of the top ten reasons for something, similar to that on David Letterman.
  • Listener Letters: John Boy & Billy read listener letters and e-mails on the air.
  • Classic Bit of the Day, 9:45 am EST run of a favorite bit requested by a listener.
  • Tatertainment News, Humorous look at the life and troubles of celebrities as written in several entertainment magazines that John Boy allows Tater to subscribe to.
  • Yuck It Up Time, Raiford's term for the early (6:00 to 6:30 am EST) comedy comments to get the mood going for the rest of the show.
  • Married Man: A humorous skit with a hapless superhero (Married Man) and his sidekicks, "College Buddy" and "Drinking Buddy," sometimes accompanied by the husky-voiced lesbian "Indigo Girl." They often thwart the plans of the arch nemesis, "Divorced Man", between the plaguing calls by Married Man's overbearing wife. The theme song to "Married Man" is a parody on the 1967 Spiderman theme. It ends with a parody of the end of each Batman episode, with Billy James saying "Tune in next time, same married time, same married channel."
  • Heroes & Zeroes: A feature where Terry Hanson reads news bits from across the nation that depicts stories of people who perform deeds special enough to be recognized as heroes and people who perform horrible deeds that recognize them as zeroes.
  • Racing Tuesdays: Every Tuesday during NASCAR season the Big Show cast is joined by NASCAR driver and anaylist Hermie Sadler .
  • Pigskin Pickins: Thursdays during college football season the Big Show cast pick winners to upcoming college football games in the Southeastern Conference and Atlantic Coast Conference.
  • The World of Dumb: A segment on John Boy and Billy that is very similar to Dumb Crook News, only that it reports on world wide stupidity.


The Big Show has a number of call-in contests where callers have a chance to win an assortment of prizes (the "prize package"), usually donated by the show's sponsors. The current contests are shown below, taking place at 20-30 minutes past the hour in the following order.

  • Outburst is based on the "Dates in History" that John Boy goes over between the top of the hour and the contest time. He gives the contestant five seconds to name three items from a category having something to do with the "Dates in History." Three categories are played, and the contestant must succeed in all of them to win the prize package.
  • John Boy Jeopardy is a daily trivia quiz. John Boy and Billy ask a question, and callers take turns calling in with their guesses ("We'll take caller nine and go 'til we get a winner"). After each guess, a sound bite of a man (reported by some sources to be John Isley, while other sources reported him to be Lindsey Buckingham) shouting "Survey says!" (a reference to TV game show Family Feud) is played. A correct answer earns a ding, a musical fanfare, and the prize package. Incorrect answers, however, receive a buzzer. Each Friday, listeners email or fax their phone numbers to the Big Show instead of calling in; the staff then draws numbers at random and calls those people to play the game. This is known as "Reverse Angle Friday."
  • The Current Events Quiz is a daily quiz on the latest news. Each bit begins with John Boy asking, "You ready, girls?" and a sound bite of the "John Boy and Billy Pep Squad" — a group of cheerleaders — announces: "Ready? OK! Comb your hair and take a whiz, it's time for the Current Events Quiz! Taaaaaaake C! Yay!" Billy asks the caller a question pertaining to recent news and provides three answers. The first two are realistic sounding answers, but the "C" answer is always a "comedy option" punchline. The caller must choose C to win the prize package. There have been instances where people, despite the fact that they are (repeatedly) told to take C, will choose A or B. This results in a buzzer, and allegedly their name is put on the "Wall of Shame", a wall which has a list of names of people who have failed the Current Events Quiz. "Reverse Angle Friday" is used for this contest as well (see above).
  • Wordy Word is the only contest of the four in which two callers compete against each other, and is similar to the game show The $25,000 Pyramid. Each caller is paired up with two Big Show cast members who give clues about words in a certain category, and the callers must try to guess the words. The game is played in two rounds, with each caller receiving clues from one teammate during his/her turn, and the caller who guesses more words is the winner. Wordy Word was introduced in early 2008, taken out of the lineup later that year, and reinstated after Halloween (see "Former contests" below).

Contest winners are also entered in a drawing to win a larger prize package. Typically, the drawing is held at the end of Friday's show, with all winners from that week (Monday through Friday) being eligible. In some cases, a prize is given away each day, with only that day's winners in the drawing; in others, two weeks' worth of winners are entered in a drawing for a very large prize, held on Friday of the second week.

Former contests

  • Big Show Match Game 2008 is the newest game on the Big Show. When Wordy Word and Password failed to work out, Match Game took the last game slot in the rotation and has been used since. Two contestants are told a fill-in-the-blank sentence and try to match what the celebrity panel filled in. Guests who have participated the celebrity panel include "Giggles" Moran, Mr. Sulu, Ricky B. Sharpe, Ike Turner, Ward Burton, Perve Villechaize, Astro Nerd, Karl Childers, Mr. Rhubarb, random Big Show interns, Drinking Buddy, Gary Busey, Mater Man, Tater Man, Rachael Ray, "The Nature Girl" Claire Flair (a homage to Ric Flair), Uncle Buddy, and many others. The only character to be a regular in the skit is Perve Villechaize (Played by Terry Hanson). It was announced the week of Halloween 2008 that Match Game would end on Halloween. Starting the following Monday, Nov. 3, Wordy Word returned to the lineup.
  • Password replaced Wordy Word early 2008. Two contestants are each given the same password and their corresponding Big Show member must guess the password using only one word clues. Password lasted only one week when John Boy frequently failed to win by large margins.
  • "Beat the Blonde": The Blonde was originally Lisa, then later became Tater, and sometimes was another female guest. The Blonde is given a question and usually three choices of answers. Then the guest has to say whether they agree or disagree with her choice.
  • Mayberry Trivia: This was a trivia quiz on the The Andy Griffith Show that was played on Fridays. Many of the questions were remarkably obscure. After John Boy became too successful against call-in contestants, they started requesting would-be contenders to Mr. Isley's title to submit their challenges in writing. It ended in a large tournament.
  • Christmas Trumpet: This contest occurs only at Christmas time; a contestant attempts to identify one or more (usually three) Christmas songs that John Boy tries to play on a trumpet. However, his musical skills are so poor that he always mangles the tunes badly and can never play them the same way twice.
  • I Like Cheese!: A former contest in which the contestant is in a drive thru at a fast-food restaurant and must get the cashier to tell him/her to drive around after ONLY saying 'I like cheese!'. A variant of this game was done where the contestant could only say, "Pickles give me gas."
  • "Redneck Idol": Three callers competed against each other and were judged by the Big Show version of the Idol judges.
  • Dollywood Squares was like Hollywood Squares, except that there were just one or two panelists to question and none of them represented a specific square on the board; the contestant chose the square he/she would attempt to win. This game was first played when Dolly Parton was a guest on The Big Show, hence the name.
  • Tater and the Bee: A Friday game started June 30, 2006, callers are given sixty seconds in which to spell considerably easy words (e.g. "vowel", "war", "children"). After that, Tater is given a minute to spell several words that are longer and harder (e.g. "acceptable", "acquire", "acquit"). Whoever gets the most right wins. On the next Friday, both were given equal footing.
  • This Old Spouse was a new game for 2006. Similar to The Newlywed Game, John Boy and Billy take calls from two married couples, with the stipulation that the husband and wife may not be in the same location at the same time. JB&B ask both husband and wife personal questions about themselves on different lines so that they cannot hear each others' answers, and each person takes turns trying to give the correct answer to what their spouse replied. This often results in some kind of argument between the couples. The couple with the highest number of points wins the prize package.
  • The Stupie Quiz was a quiz administered by former Big Show employee Summer. This was a competition between John Boy and a caller. The questions usually had glaringly obvious or easy answers, but John Boy would never seem to get them right. Callers would have to "buzz in" by pressing a number on their touch-tone phone and John Boy had a bell to signal his buzz-in. This game came back in March 2006. It was be played on Fridays. The Stupie Quiz was administered by Tater.
  • The Chain Game was originally called "Chain Reaction" without the knowledge that there was a version of the Chain Reaction TV game show on GSN. John Boy plays against a caller in this game. During the sixty-second time limit, one player starts the round with a word in a certain category, and the other has to continue by giving another word in the same category that starts with the last letter of the previous word, and it goes back and forth like that. The last one to have provided a word wins the round, and the game is best-of-three. In the first round, John Boy gives the category, and in the second, the caller supplies the category.
  • The Gong Show was a contest where listeners send in tapes of their singing talent. John Boy and Billy will play each song on the air until one of the judges hits the gong, thus causing a gong sound, or until the end of the song. If a song makes it to the end, the contestant who sent in the song is declared the winner of the contest. In most cases, there is no winner.

Big Show traditions

First-time callers to the show always have a cow "moo" sound effect played for them. Also, every John Boy and Billy Playhouse segment ends with a recording of former cast member Dub Starnes saying, "Hey, big man, lemme hold a dollar!" This was the last Playhouse line that Starnes delivered prior to his death in 1998; it is now used as a tribute to him.


  • During Outburst John Boy used to offer a new car if the contestant could answer all nine questions in five seconds or less. A contestant did this and was sent a Matchbox car, upsetting them.

Their official website mentions that they do have to time-delay their programming, so this may be to blame for some of their discrepancies.


John Boy and Billy have released many albums throughout the years, ranging from the 1990s to the 2000s. Most albums are available through the iTunes Music Store.

Main albums

  • Economically Priced First Album
  • Head Cleaner
  • Straight, White & Southern
  • Big Ol' Hairy Album
  • Two For the Show
  • Love Ya…Mean It
  • Southern Exposure
  • A Barrel of Laughs
  • Freakshow
  • Dixie Diner
  • Rocket Science
  • Radioland
  • Rough Cuts
  • American Goobers
  • Karl Childers: Potted Meat
  • Karl Childers: Potted Meat Rides Again
  • Ike at the Mike
  • Songs We Love To Sing


  • Christmas Album
  • Nerve-Wrackin’ Christmas Part 2
  • John Boy & Billy: Best of 20

Box sets

  • John Boy & Billy in a Box (unavailable)

Other events


  1. Jeff Borden, "John-Boy, Billy Back to Tweak Charlotte's Airwaves", The Charlotte Observer, November 9, 1986.
  2. Jeff Borden, "WJZR Trades Old Format for New Sound, Name", The Charlotte Observer, April 15, 1986.
  3. Jeff Borden, "WRFX Radio to Reunite John Boy and Billy Team", The Charlotte Observer, August 21, 1986.
  4. Foon Rhee, "John Boy Anti-Drug Spot Airs", The Charlotte Observer, November 23, 1990.
  5. Tim Funk, "Deal Keeps Duo on Air in Charlotte", The Charlotte Observer, February 25, 1993.
  6. Tim Funk "14th Station Picks up John Boy and Billy", The Charlotte Observer, August 25, 1994.
  7. David Poole,"WRFX Cans Morning Show, but Retains Format", The Charlotte Observer, January 5, 1995.
  8. Tim Funk, "John Boy and Billy's 'Big Show' Hits the Big Time - Dallas", The Charlotte Observer June 28, 1995.
  9. Tim Funk, "More Stations Soon May Hear 'Bob, Sheri Show'", The Charlotte Observer, February 8, 1996.
  10. Jeri Rowe, "Mouths of the South", Greensboro News & Record, December 17, 1996.
  11. Bill Keveney, "'Big Show': Today Country Stations, Tomorrow the Whole Country?", The Charlotte Observer, April 7, 1999.
  12. Mark Washburn, "Song After Sniper News Offends Fans - 'Another One Bites the Dust' Was Already Scheduled, Producer Says", The Charlotte Observer, October 23, 2002.

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