Gravitationally challenged north Georgia comedian James Gregory, who humbly bills himself as “The Funniest Man in America!” and resembles some of the fat targets (pun intended) of some of his sharpest zingers, more than lived up to that billing November 11 in a sidesplitting, decidedly Politically Incorrect performance at the Clayton Center Auditorium & Conference Center. Gregory may not be the nation’s number one comedian, but he is not far down the list—and he probably tops the polls in many Southern states.

Brandishing a wooden bar stool at waist level, Gregory said, “The doctor told me to bring in my stool, and he could tell me if I was sick or not. Hell, I’ll bring in the couch, and he can check out the whole family.”

Other samples of James Gregory’s cockeyed worldview from what he calls his “2006 Gravy Is a Beverage Tour” include:

“The next time you are the lead car in a funeral procession, make a wrong turn…. The next time you at the super market, put some things in someone else’s cart when they’re not looking. Then get behind them in the checkout line.”

Gregory claimed, “A tornado has never touched an intelligent man’s trailer. Well, they can never find one to talk to on the news.” Gregory said he thinks the news directors at the local TV stations tell their reporters: “Go out to the trailer park, and interview a dumbass, and try to find one who is married to a fat woman.” Gregory said the husband will weigh about 112 lbs, have “a tattoo on his wooden arm,” and carry about 21 lbs of keys on a key ring on his belt, when he only needs three keys: one for his trailer, one for his truck, and one for his tool shed. His 400 lb wife always wears “tight polyester pants,” said Gregory, who asked, “How can a woman in tight polyester pants look in a mirror and say [Gregory gives the double thumbs-up sign], ‘All right.’

In pointing out the differences between Tornado People (most of us who live in the Southeast) and Hurricane People (the coastal residents of those same states), Gregory minced no words: “Nobody’s ever said to us [Tornado People], a tornado will go through your front yard in about a week. If they did, I guarantee, we’d pack up and leave before then…. Hell, [Hurricane People] just wait on [the hurricane]” to hit them.

James Gregory said, “I don’t mind flying once a year, just to catch up on my drinking and my praying.” Since recent news reports of drunken airline pilots, Gregory said he tells the flight attendants, “I’ll have whatever the pilots are having.”

In my family, Gregory said, “We don’t have heart attacks…; we just cross the median…. We respond to all crises with a covered dish.”

Particular targets of James Gregory’s righteous indignation include “idiots who text message one letter at a time” (“He’s got a phone and you’ve got a phone—just call him”) and people who “walk around all day with what looks like a dead bug in their ear.”

Gregory said, “We are quickly turning into a Nation of Wimps. We are breeding a whole generation of pissers, moaners, and whiners.”

One example of this growing tendency for Americans to embrace victimhood, Gregory said, is the new trend toward filing class-action suits aimed at stopping childhood obesity. In typical no-nonsense fashion, Gregory’s had just two questions: “Who drove [those] fat little bastards to McDonald’s? Who paid for that crap [they ate]?”

He added, “This generation that doesn’t have time to raise its kids properly, but they’ve found all the time in the world to worry about the spotted owl.”

Gregory was particularly scornful about the current notion, now gaining popularity, that obesity is “a disease.” He patted his ample belly and asked the Clayton Center audience with mock seriousness: “Where the hell do you think I caught this? Do you think I got it from a fat person—they sneezed, and here I am?” He added, “My whole family can carry their own shade with them.”

James Gregory’s dead-on parody of a 4’8”, 355-lb. woman who simpers “I don’t know why in the world my feet hurt the way they do” had the audience howling. In describing one of his five-by-five aunts (i.e., five feet tall and five feet wide), he quipped, allegedly quoting his father, “If you met her in the hallway, it’s just as easy to jump over her as it is to go around her” and “Most things her size have an engine.”

Florida comedian Vinnie ‘The Hit Man” Coppola opened the show on a very high note. Riffing off his Italian-American heritage, and ruefully admitting that his first childhood nickname was “Vinnie the Pooh,” Coppola positively savaged the Olive Garden restaurant chain, with its bottomless salad bowl and basket of bread:

“Olive Garden is the K-mart of Italian food…. [In fact,] Olive Garden is not Italian. Here’s how you tell: No self-respecting mafia don has ever been whacked in an Olive Garden.”

Other targets Coppola’s crowded dartboard include:

The Division of Motor Vehicles: “When do normal people go to the DMV? I thought that I had walked into the green room of the ‘Jerry Springer Show.’ [The DMV] is like the Waffle House after 3 a.m.”

The Laundromat: “There’s a junkyard of genetic debris right there. That’s the reason I own 78 pairs of underwear[, so I can avoid the sight of] toothless women washing tube tops.”

Starbucks: Coppola especially dislikes “people who hang out at Starbucks, reading, and get all uppity because there’s no pictures in their books…. I hope they’re working on the final draft of their suicide notes…. If they are so smart, why are they spending five bucks for their next coffee?”

Greyhound Buses: Vinnie Coppola claims that some of the worst freak shows in America can be found in Greyhound bus stations, and that riding the bus is a waking nightmare complete with “open sores and body odor.” Riding the bus, he said, “is like picking your nose and sticking in the other nostril. I don’t even know what [doing that] means, but the guy sitting next to me was doing it for the whole ride” from Jacksonville, NC, to Oklahoma City, OK.

The Clayton Center: James Gregory: Vinnie Coppola: [inactive 1/07].