Jeff Foxworthy wasn’t initially sold on the idea of a Bible-themed game show.
“Can you do a game show about the Bible? You want to be respectful,” Foxworthy tells Big Hollywood. The more he thought about it, the more the idea had promise.
“One of the shortcomings of Christianity is we’ve become too legalistic. We forget the joy of the good news, the love and mercy of a really good God,” he says. “The challenge became, can we do this in a respectful way, but can we have fun?”
What sealed the deal for Foxworthy, tasked with hosting “The American Bible Challenge,” was the prize structure.
“Nobody’s trying to win a dime for themselves,” he says. “I’ve never seen a show like that.”
“The American Bible Challenge,” which debuts at 8 p.m. EST tomorrow on GSN, asks contestants to pick a worthy charity to receive a grand prize of $20,000. Players must answer a variety of Bible-based questions, some with a decided pop culture twist.
One category offers a “Faithbook” spin on the popular social media site, while another asks if a quotation is from the Lord … or “The Lord of the Rings.”
Foxworthy, famous for his “redneck” gags as well as the hugely popular “Blue Collar Comedy Tour,” says working the quiz show circuit suits him and, more importantly, his family.
“I love being comedian. I’ve gotten away with it so much longer than I should have. It’s not who I am. It’s what I do. I’m a husband, a father, a brother and a friend,” he says. Shooting games shows means taping multiple episodes in a single day, which gives him more time to attend special moments in his family’s life rather than being stuck on a set day after day.
A personal highlight from the series came when a trio of Texas ladies appeared on the show hoping to win money for a local food back.
“They grew up with nothing,” he says. During a commercial break, one pulled him aside and told him about the thousands of free meals they could provide with the prize money. “It’s their only reason for being there.”
Foxworthy isn’t known for political humor, and he’s essentially kept his political views to himself during his long career. He changed that this year, throwing his weight behind Mitt Romney in the race for the White House.
The comedian says Romney impressed him during a campaign stop they shared in Biloxi, Miss. Romney was slated to speak before a crowd of supporters when the heavens opened up. The Mass. Governor took over, rearranging the barricades and instructing the crowd to join him under an overhang so they would stay nice and dry.
“That’s a leader, not saying, ‘would it be OK, or ‘do I need the Secret Service to move the barricade?’” he says.
Foxworthy says Romney’s business experience is precisely what the ailing country needs, and the fact that the governor’s opponents wanted to demonize his victories is absurd.
“You almost have to be ashamed of success [now],” he says.
Foxworthy tells jokes for a living, but the thought of his children having less opportunities then he had growing up is no laughing matter.
“As a family, you can’t spend more money than you bring in. As a nation, that’s what we’re doing,” he says. “When you look at things like the debt and what happened to Greece, we’re on the same path.”
Follow Christian Toto on Twitter @TotoMovies