R.I.P. Tim Wilson (1961-2014)

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.

Related: The Bob & Tom Show’s tribute page to Tim Wilson.

Chick McGee’s podcast interview with Tim Wilson from September 2013.

Sean L. McCarthy

Editor and publisher since 2007, when he was named New York's Funniest Reporter. Former newspaper reporter at the New York Daily News, Boston Herald and smaller dailies and community papers across America. Loves comedy so much he founded this site.

View all posts by Sean L. McCarthy →

46 thoughts on “R.I.P. Tim Wilson (1961-2014)

  1. So, this comic walks into a radio station…
    A few years ago, I had the great pleasure of meeting the legendary Tim Wilson & after listening to and loving his comedy for years, I hoped he would be a “good guy”. Well, has was; in fact he was one of the best & I was lucky enough to call him a friend. I could (and did) talk with Tim for hours on anything and I had told him countless times that he was one of the most intelligent and interesting people I had ever known to which he always replied “well…thank you, brother!” So to you Tim, rest in peace & thank you, brother – for making this whole world a lot brighter and much more interesting. You will be greatly missed.

  2. I live in Bowling Green, Ky. Nashville / Zanies is a straight shot down 65 and a forty minuet drive. I have been a live long fan and my fiance and I have seen him live the last three times he was at Zanies. The first time I saw him live I took him a fifth of Wild Turkey 101 and he was proud to take and he was sincerlt flattered. Thing is Tim said he was diabetic and couldn’t enjoy it but would it be okay if he gave it to his brother in law. Tim said that some bitch will appreciate it as much as he used to could have and of course I said yes. This picture of Tim and I was taken the last time he was at Zanies in Nashville. We had gotten to be friends and I am crushed. I had gotten to meet his son which he was so proud of and he loved and was proud of all his kids. Tim his family and and fans are in my prayers. Tim noticed my Colts apparel and said ” Ya know ya big fucker they have a team in Nashville named the Titans and that isn’t going to go over well.” We both laughed. I am just a hair under 6 ft 8 and go 380 and Tim noticed I was taller than he was and that tickled him to. My fiance and I always sat right next to the stage and at one point he ask my age and I said 46 and then asked my then girlfriend now fiance her age and she said 28. Tim stopped and said that’s an 18 year difference. Well God Damn your my new hero. ROTFLMAO. R.I.P. Tim. I wish I could post the picture of you and I.

  3. Not sure what I can add that hasn’t already been said. But it was truly an honor to share countless miles and hours with my comedy King, Tim Wilson. No one ever made me laugh harder or think more than Tim. And like he’d always sign his head shots in clubs, “Thanks for treating me like Elvis,” Tim did that to all comics. Treated openers and headliners, and even headliners that used to open for him, the same. He turned the phrase road comedian into a badge of honor. He said it with such pride. And like Tom Mabe said, He was the John Wayne of comedy. Never wanted to be filthy rich or TMZ famous. He was right where he wanted to be and I’m so thankful to have known him. I’ll never forget being at a gas pump one day when Toby Keith called Tim’s cell phone wanting to buy the rights to a song. It didn’t phase Tim one bit. It was if he got those phone calls every day. The things he taught me are endless but here are just a few…”Treat a crowd like an 18 year old boyfriend would treat his girlfriend! And “Fuck a damn cell phone!”
    I’ll never forget driving along I74 near Bloomington Illinois with John Evans and Tim Wilson debating the best athletes of all time. I was hungover and trying to tune them out. Then the debate drifted into the JFK conspiracy. And 45 minutes later as it started to get heated in the car, Tim Blurts out, “JIM THORPE CAN KISS MY ASS!!!”
    Damn I’ll miss him! Can picture him up in heaven shootin’ the shit with buddy Levon Helm and the King.

  4. What a loss… A great comedian and man gone to soon. My love and prayers go out to his family and friends. He gave my family many laughs over the years.

  5. Tim would always pack the house at Goodnights Comedy Club in Raleigh NC every August. He always hung around after the shows and talked till the last person yawned. Great guitar picker and songwriter. A true comedian’s comedian. Many moons ago I had to follow up behind him on the John Boy and Billy Big Show in Charlotte. John Boy said he was going to have to get Tim back in ‘just to to get those chickens straightened out.’ ! Great thinker on his feet even if he stepped in some chicken manure. Thanks Tim Wilson -for blessing all of us.

  6. I met Tim in Nashville and had the pleasure of having a conversation about his book, “Happy New Year Ted”. He was very passionate about this book and I feel honored to have my copy signed by him and to be able to have talked to him about something that meant so much to him.

  7. Tim Wilson will be greatly missed, but he will always be with us in spirit and laughter. i will always laugh when i drive past a Chuck E. Cheese. Tim; please keep making people laugh in heaven and also keep strumming those awesome funny tunes you do in heaven. Godsspeed……………..

  8. I have never heard of him (but now I know I have heard some of his work) until just a day or two ago when I got in my sons truck and a funny voice was coming from the CD player. My boy said, ‘It’s Tim Wilson, he’s funny.” That was the first time I had heard his name that I can recall. Then to see this sad new today. I frequent Nashville and would have surely went to catch one of his shows after learning who he was. Just coincidental, thought I’d share.

  9. Uncle BS, where where you February 26, 2014?

    February your 26th, 2014…Host of the Nashville Short Order Diner and Comedy club, Nashville Tennessee. I’m up to my waist in french fries and onion rings listening to some comedian rattle off Barack Obama and Chris Christie, tryin to teach a young upstart how to run the dining room. I decide to play a joke on him by covering my knuckles in ketchup and grabbing my fingers. He said “Damn, Benford, you’re going to give somebody a heart attack doing that. Damned if Tim Wilson didn’t see that before he knew I was just joking.

  10. My wife, myself and some friends had the pleasure of meeting Tim several years ago at the Madison Theater in Peoria, IL. after a show. He was so pesonable as if he had known us forever. He was not a “name in lights star” to the entire world, but he was to all of us, as I’m sure he was to many others, family and friends. His passing will not make the Yahoo home page or some news stations headline, but none of the people who make that list bring tears to my eyes as his passing did. He will be missed. My deepest sympathies to his family and friends.

  11. seen him in Knoxville jan 2014 at sidesplitters / rip man / im 53 and the story he told of growing up as a kid was spot on and hilarious again rip man

  12. I had the pleasure of meeting Tim Wilson after one of his shows, very down to earth a good old soul that you could sit and drink a cold beer with and listen and laugh at his stories. He signed his Softball t-shirt “To the original Tim”….no he was THE original, approachable and grounded. I know he’s in heaven right now singing “Church league softball fistfight”…God Bless your family and thanks to them for sharing Tim with everyone.

  13. He wasn’t JUST a funny man. He was a extremely SMART funny man. I’ve never had to think so hard about “What did he just say???????” while my sides were splitting”. As a songwriter, I thought I wrote a couple funny songs until I heard “Rickey Tidwell’s Mama”. A genius blend of redneck/sports parody. I’m a sad man today…….

  14. I heard this on Bob and Tom this morning. Bums me out. I live in Louisville KY and I met him a couple of times and he was very humble and down to earth. He was an awesome guy. R.I.P. Tim, and keep’em laughing in the afterlife.

  15. I was fortunate to grow up with Tim and his whole family in the Morningside Community of Columbus, Georgia. I can relate to many of the people he refers to in his comedy growing up, one of my favorites was his dad, he was our PE coach at Morningside Elementary, he was respectively called Uncle Willie. I say respectively because if you failed to show that respect he would wup your but with his very own belt. Tim will be missed by all that knew him. God bless his family!

  16. Saw him a couple of times at Zanie’s. He referred to me and my buddies as the Cartwrights. I had one chicken finger left on my plate and he yelled, “Eat the damn chicken finger boy.” When I left that night one of the other audience members asked me if I was part of the show. I always wished I was after she asked me that. I saw him 2-3 times and I laughed for a solid hour and a half. He’ll never get the credit he deserved but he will with the people that saw him and knew him and I guess that is really all that matters.

    RIP Tim Wilson

  17. Tim,

    You brought me so many moments of laughter and joy, I wish you happiness and laughter in heaven. Also peace to your family and friends , our thoughts and prayers are with you in your hours of grief.

    You will be missed by millions!

  18. Saw Tim in concert several times, what a great loss to the comedy world.
    His song “The First Baptist Bar & Grill” is one of my all time favorites.
    Our prayers go out to his family.

  19. I saw Tim Wilson at the former jokers comedy club in Dayton Ohio. My wife and I went to see him and I was sitting in the front row with an American flag shirt on he called me evil Knievel throughout the show. After the show he had a meet and greet. I had two out of three CDs in a pack and he gave me the third and signed it. I could relate everything he talked about like he was a best friend. You were the best and Im sure you will make heaven laugh. God bless.

    1. I would like to thank the Bob and Tom show for having a tribute to Tim Wilson this morning. It was hard holding the tears back to listening to him. I saw Tim Wilson at the former Jokers Comedy Club in Dayton Ohio. My wife and I went to see him and I was sitting in the front row with an American flag shirt on he called me Evil Knievel throughout the show. After the show he had a meet and greet. I had two out of three CDs in a pack and he gave me the third and signed it. I could relate everything he talked about like he was a best friend. You were the best. You took your jetpack to heaven and will surely make them laugh. God bless you and your family.

  20. We were so sad to hear of Tim Wilson’s passing. He was such a nice person. Had several e-mail conversations with him…purchased a CD…and sent him a check for it…he never cashed the check. He will be missed…my condolences to his family.

  21. I loved listening to Tim on the different comedy stations on Sirius on my long drive home from work, He made me crack up and smile every time I heard him. My prayers to his family. Love you Tim!

  22. I loved listening to Tim on the different comedy channels on Sirius on my long drive home from work. He would always crack me up and make me smile. I miss him already,prayers to his family. Love you Tim, RIP.

  23. Loved his songs and humor. Will miss hearing him on B & T show. Tim was my favorite guest. Gone way to soon.

  24. Got in my truck this morning First Baptist Bar And Grill was playing. I started singing along then as it went off Tom said that Tom Wilson had passed away. Shock turned to sadness then to tears R.I.P Tim you brought me many hours of laughter and thought with your wisdom. For that i thank you and may God bless your family.

  25. First heard Tim Wilson on the John Boy and Billey Show when one of our stations in Dallas picked them up, I loved his humor, NASCAR, southern rock, growing up ( go out and play )
    This morning it felt like I lost an old friend, God bless you Tim Wilson and may God keep his arms around your’e family at this time

  26. My husband and I got to see Tim live at The Comedy Zone in Charlotte, NC about 8 years ago for his birthday, and we were blown away! LOVED hearing him on The John Boy and Billy Big Show on our local classic rock station, 99.7, The Fox! ONLY man who could beat Lynrd Skynrd in LYNRD SKYNRD TRIVIA~~~ RIP, Tim….

  27. Me & my husband are from the Cincinnati area, we saw him live, but owned multiple CD’s and DVD collections, my husband would play them for everyone who came over ,or was in the car, didn’t matter if you were from the North, south, east or west, he was hilarious. RIP Tim Wilson. The sad part is most people don’t realize how much their loved until their gone. He was a great comedian, and a wonderful man.

  28. I met tim in Asheville,nc in the late 90’s super nice guy i went backstage talk with him (very short) i gave him a western auto team shirt before he went on stage he was down to earth & yes he will be missed by many ours prayer go out to family 🙁

  29. know what i am doing? I am listening to tim wilson on my imac… I sure do miss him. Saw him 2 x at zanies in nashville before he passed. One of the best comic minds ever.. tribute from the baty family.. rip tim

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