Jeff Foxworthy is no doubt best known for his “You might be a redneck if..” comedy but, surprisingly, he actually turned out to be a pretty good shark.
I mean, really, let’s break down what makes a good shark:
- They know business
- They can offer real feedback
- They’re smart in what they invest in
If that’s the criteria, then Jeff Foxworthy definitely meets and possibly exceeds it.
If anyone knows anything about the comedy game, then you should know that just getting a show on TV is not a path to millions or billions. It’s a start. And if you’re Jerry Seinfeld and play the game exactly right with the audience numbers to help you out, you can make quite a lot of money. But a mid-range comedy show that runs for a few years isn’t going to being in nearly as much bacon as you might think. Neither will selling out comedy shows on the road.
Again, I’m not saying this won’t make a good living and a comic who achieves this level of success is certainly in the 1% of their industry, but the golden ticket they do not have.
But Jeff Foxworthy has been smart. He’s written books at the height of his fame when publishing such a thing could actually sell millions. He started his own brands in areas that mesh with public persona to capitalize. And he’s smart enough to find other companies to invest in to bring in even more wealth.
To be honest, he seems like a better choice for the Shark Tank than Ashton Kutcher who is really probably only invested in several venture firms but hasn’t built a brand the way Jeff Foxworthy has.
For this reason also, his feedback seems more genuine and from the heart. Uncle Zip’s Beef Jerky may have been perfectly in Jeff’s wheelhouse and yet he clearly and kindly explained why he wasn’t making an investment. This is real information entrepreneurs can use to decide how they may or may not want to proceed. In a season that has me otherwise worried about the quality of the deals, his feedback comes off as needed and useful.
I also think he’s smart in the ways he invested on the show. Take Hillbilly Brands. Rather than invest the $50k being asked for and selling t-shirts and hats at rodeos and country events, he joined with Daymond and Robert in buying the entire company for $75k to turn the brand into a license property. This way, he doesn’t have to worry about making and selling the shirts. He owns the brand (or a third of it anyway) and other people can deal with the hassle. But now Jeff Foxworthy has the exclusive trademark on “hillbilly” on apparel. What could possibly go better with “You might be a redneck if…” than hillbilly branded clothing?
Lastly, he also invested in Hydromax, a company that makes essentially camelbacks for football pads. There’s no doubt a great overlap between those playing football and people who are his fans and, since this was invented primarily to keep kids hydrated, certainly their parents. He took a 50% stake in the company for the $50k being asked (putting his overall Bite at 56%) with the intent to license it to sports equipment manufacturers. I can only imagine that Jeff Foxworthy making a introductory call to a pad manufacturer is going to at least get some attention, if not result in some sales.
Given that I’ve seen all the other seasons so far, I honestly think it’s too bad he hasn’t come back. His two episodes on Shark Tank were great and I think his insight benefitted the show greatly.
What guests would you like to see return to the tank?