Tim Wilson, a veteran “Road Dog” stand-up comedian and country musician who also co-wrote Jeff Foxworthy’s hit song, “Redneck 12 Days of Christmas,” died Wednesday from an apparent heart attack. Wilson was 52.
Wilson was scheduled to headline The Comedy Club Stardome near Birmingham, Ala., this Friday and Saturday night. Club owner Bruce Ayers announced the sad news early Thursday morning on the Stardome’s Facebook page, writing: “I am very sorry to report that my dear friend Tim Wilson passed away this evening. I like the entire comedy community am shocked and saddened by this tragic news. Tim was old school, he was on our second show. I just can’t tell you how much he will be missed.” Ayers told The Comic’s Comic that his and the Stardome’s relationship with Wilson went back more than 30 years. “Tim was one of the first comics to play my club. He worked the second week we were open Oct. 1983.”
Born Aug. 5, 1961, in Columbus, Ga., Wilson made his elementary-school teachers laugh with his impersonations and went on to emcee his high school’s talent shows. He pursued music and journalism, first, before diving into comedy when his demo tape failed to materialize into a country music career. His first big break was a stand-up competition with Cinemax, followed by a spot on The Tonight Show (Jay Leno edition). Decades later, he continued to tour clubs across the South, and in 2011, shared a bill on “Ron White’s Comedy Salute to the Troops” on CMT with White, Lewis Black, Kathleen Madigan, Vic Henley, Alex Reymundo and Robert Hawkins.
From Ron White: “I regret to tell you my friends that we have lost comedian Tim Wilson today he died of a heart attack in Nashville he was with his brother. I cannot tell you how much he will be missed in the comedy community. He died on the 20th anniversary of the death of Bill Hicks. FUCK!”
Etta May: “Comic Tim Wilson died a few hours ago. God bless u my friend. I loved and respected you so much. Safe travels!!! — feeling sad”
Kathleen Madigan: “To one of the few who loved the road for the road, a great guy, great headliner n even drinking buddy, RIP Tim Wilson. I’m shocked n sad.”
Greg Warren: “Tim Wilson died today. He was flat out one of the funniest comics I’ve ever seen. Class act as well.”
Larry the Cable Guy offered:
“Horrible news. Comedian Tim Wilson passed away tonight. I hope you were one of the lucky ones that got to see him preform. One of the best. Tim was a mentor and friend to a lot of us comedians that started in the south, Him, Foxworthy and James Gregory. One of the big 3. Hat off. My heart goes out to his wife and kids. You’ll be missed Tim and thank you for all the memories.”
Tommy Johnagin: “The 1st live show I ever saw was Tim Wilson. He was a great comedian. I was lucky to get to know him as a person. He was also a great man. Tim Wilson didn’t have a TV show and wasn’t a household name he was bigger than all of that. He meant so much to me and many other comedians.”
Pat Godwin: “Tim Wilson said he was gonna kick the hair fairy’s ass when he got to heaven. Kick him once for me too, won’t ya, Tim. R.I.P.”
Plenty of NASCAR fans were fans of Wilson. One of Wilson’s comedy/country singles focused on NASCAR star Jeff Gordon. If you know the words…
He also found success on the country music charts with songs such as “Garth Brooks Ruined My Life” in 1993, and 2000’s “The Ballad of John Rocker.”
Wilson was a favorite of the Bob & Tom syndicated radio team, too. Here he was on the show a few years ago, dissecting Southern dialects. Roll it.
More recently, Billy Gardell featured Wilson in one of his “Road Dog” stand-up showcase specials for Showtime last year. Gardell introduced Wilson as “literally the Mark Twain of stand-up comedy. Ladies and gentlemen, Mr. Tim Wilson!”
Wilson leaves behind a wife and two children. If you have any additional information or just want to share your own memories of Wilson, please do so.
Tim Wilson’s 11th album with Capitol Nashville, “Caffeine Wired, Nervous & Pale,” came out last year.