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Carl Hurley came from a family of "talkers," and he spent endless hours listening to aunts, uncles and cousins swapping yarns and stories that were richly embellished after years of telling. The idea of "making people laugh" was a fascinating but far-flung idea for the young Hurley. Little did he realize that a career in education would eventually lead to a career in public speaking and entertainment, and garner him the title of 'America's Funniest Professor!"
The idea began to germinate at age eight when his dad bought the family its first radio. The dial was set to WSM in Nashville, Tennessee, and every Saturday night young Carl listened to the Grand Ole Opry. His world opened up. "I remember listening to Minnie Pearl and Rod Brasfield," Hurley recalls to-day. "They were the first people I can ever remember making people laugh. I thought 'How great it would be..."
Hurley's first "audience" was at his one-room country church when he was called upon to recite a Scripture verse in front of the congregation. "I walked to the edge of the pulpit and said, 'Jesus fed the multitudes with three fishes and five loaves of light bread. For a minute I didn't know why they laughed, but I knew I enjoyed it" Carl says.