Donnie Baker is ‘comedy heaven’ for his creator

2011-04-28T02:00:00Z Donnie Baker is ‘comedy heaven’ for his creatorDavid Burke The Quad-City Times
April 28, 2011 2:00 am  • 

Ron Sexton created the character of Donnie Baker for radio's nationally syndicated "Bob & Tom Show" about five years ago, thinking it would last for a couple of phone calls.

The boss-hating, self-proclaimed God's gift to women character with the false bravado-filled voice who is always trying to sell his boat was championed by radio show co-host Tom Griswold.

"It was like lucky dust from comedy heaven falling down on me," Sexton said in a telephone interview from Indianapolis, where he is a writer and does other characters for the show.

"Tom saved me," Sexton, 40, added. "Once I got his blessing, vroom, it took off."

Shortly thereafter, Sexton began taking Donnie out on the road with the Pork Pistols, which Sexton describes as "every bad garage band you've ever seen."

"I wanted it to look like this enormous failed garage band where you're thinking, ‘Why are these fools following this guy who can't really sing?' " he said.

Most of the pseudo-band's material is parodies, he said, with a couple of originals featured on the radio show thrown in.

Donnie Baker and the Pork Pistols perform Friday night at the Clarion Conference Hotel in Davenport.

His inspiration for Donnie's look came from a picture he saw in the newspaper, Sexton said.

Photographed at a school picnic, the man wore a Jeff Blake No. 8 Cincinnati Bengals football jersey and a cap with the insignia of NASCAR driver Dale Earnhardt Jr., also No. 8.

Sexton modified the look and added animal print Zubas workout pants, which were big in the 1980s and ‘90s. He will often wear a black T-shirt with a wolf picture on it.

"A lot of the stuff you'd see at truck stops," Sexton said. "Thank goodness the Donnies of the world are the reason those things are on sale."

Sexton is one of two writers-voice artists on the show. Besides Donnie, he's also Floyd the trucker, brash business traveler Kenny Tarmac, the dimwitted Rick (a new character), and he impersonates celebrities Steven Seagal, James Gandolfini, Charles Barkley and Dr. Phil McGraw.

There's no discussion of what material or which characters should go in each day's show, Sexton said.

"I rarely go in with anything prepared. Some mornings I'll go in with a bit or an idea or a joke and I'll fill a phone call around it," he said. "It's a lot more like dealing with a heckler in a club."


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