A stint as a blues guitarist provided comedian Killer Beaz with his stage name and actually opened the door to a life of making people laugh.
“I was a blues guitar player in Mississippi,” said the comedian, whose real name is Truett Beasley Jr. “I’m much funnier than I am musical. There are so, so many guitar players out there, and I’m mediocre — but it’s a lot of fun to me.”
The comedian will be at the Yellow Rose Theater at The Crossing at Big Creek on Saturday, Feb. 8, at 8 p.m.
As Killer Beaz, Beasley has been in comedy for nearly 40 years and has performed on cable network specials, national radio shows, and at Nashville’s Grand Ole Opry.
Fans of the Discovery Channel’s “Moonshiners” might know Killer Beaz from his appearances on the show over the past four seasons. He got on the show by roping in a member of Lynyrd Skynyrd to buy moonshine from him on camera. In the most recent episode, Beasley used honey mead to make a special moonshine.
“It is so much fun making non-taxable artisan spirits covertly and at a nondisclosed location with hillbillies on camera,” he said in a phone interview with the Dothan Eagle. “What could go wrong?”
Born in Andalusia in 1953, Beasley’s father was from Opp. The Beasley family moved to Jackson, Mississippi, when he was a child and operated a funeral home where the family also lived. The comedian’s earliest memory is actually making the “sad people” laugh and smile.
After a childhood in a funeral home and a run as a competition pistol shooter, Beasley worked for an ambulance service and as an apprentice embalmer before taking up the guitar at age 21. He had been called “Beaz” since he was a kid, and one night after performing a guitar solo, a friend shouted, “That was killer, Beaz.” Others who heard thought “Killer Beaz” was his stage name and it stuck.
And while he had never done comedy, he gave it a shot one night when a club owner wanted a comedian to perform prior to a band. It was 1982. He’s been performing comedy ever since, eventually relocating to Nashville.
“I absolutely love it,” he said of his career. “Hard to do well — there’s so many little subtleties and details that have to work right every show. So, it’s very challenging but I’m very tickled to be able to do it well.”
Beasley and his wife moved to Mobile when they began their family.
As a performer who appears regularly on cruise ships and travels all over, comedic inspiration still comes from home.
“I throw my family and friends under the bus,” Beasley said.
“I’m a storyteller and I try to put tons and tons of punch lines in the stories. And I’m just real lucky that I can tell what started out as a true story and embellish it and twist it and tell it in a funny way.”