Comic Ron White, who gained fame during his cigar-smoking, scotch-drinking spot on the Blue Collar Comedy tour, is set to host the fourth annual CMT Artists of the Year special. For the first time, the special will premiere live, airing Dec. 3 at 8 p.m. ET.
As previously announced, the ceremony will honor Jason Aldean, Luke Bryan, Florida Georgia Line, Hunter Hayes and Tim McGraw. This year's five honorees will gather in Nashville alongside their peers and notable luminaries for an evening filled with rocking performances, surprise guests and cheers to the achievements of each artist.
White began comedy in the mid-'80s opening for Sam Kinison and Jeff Foxworthy before joining the Blue Collar Comedy tour with Foxworthy, Bill Engvall and Larry the Cable Guy in 2000. The three-year stint spawned the 2003 hit DVD/CD, Blue Collar Comedy Tour: The Movie and two years later, Blue Collar Comedy Tour Rides Again.
The two-time Grammy nominee's four albums -- Drunk in Public, They Call Me Tater Salad, Behavioral Problems and A Little Unprofessional -- reached No. 1 on the Billboard comedy chart.
White has also starred in several television specials, including You Can't Fix Stupid and Blue Collar Comedy Tour: One for the Road, and is a New York Times best-selling author of Ron "Tater Salad" White: I Had the Right to Remain Silent ... but I Didn't Have the Ability. As an actor, White has enjoyed movie roles in films such as Horrible Bosses, Sex in the City 2 and the upcoming Billy Bob Thornton project, Jayne Mansfield's Car.
A passionate supporter of the U.S. military, White has performed at military bases in the U.S. and around the world. He also created Ron White's Comedy Salute to the Troops, an annual charity show that donates money from ticket and DVD sales to the Armed Forces Foundation to assist troops and their families. The specials have aired on CMT since 2010.
"CMT helps me with Salute to the Troops, so when they asked me to do this live show, I of course thought they were having a momentary lapse of reason," White said in confirming his CMT Artists of the Year hosting duties. "I said, 'What the #%^&?'"