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Tulsa, OK, radio announcers Brent Douglas and Phil Stone created the character of Roy D. Mercer as a hillbilly variation on the Jerky Boys -- a comedian whose act is entirely based on prank phone calls. Mercer rose from obscurity in 1997, when he graduated from a featured bit on the duo's radio show to a contract with Capitol Records. Two Mercer albums -- How Big 'a Boy Are Ya?, Vol. 1 and Vol. 2 -- were released simultaneously in February, and other volumes in the series soon followed on a regular and prolific basis. The duo broke away from the series in 2001 with the New York City-hatin' Roy D. Mercer vs. Yankees. Family Album from 2002 returned to the How Big 'a Boy Are Ya? format. Hits the Road (2003), Get Well Soon (2004), and Black & Blue (2006) stayed the course.
Roy D. Mercer is a fictional character created by disc jockeys Brent Douglas and Phil Stone on radio station KMOD-FM in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Brent Douglas, who performs Mercer's voice, uses the character as a vehicle for comedy sketches in which he performs prank calls. Twelve Roy D. Mercer albums have been released, all on Capitol Records Nashville or Virgin Records Nashville.
Brent Douglas and Phil Stone, disc jockeys on KMOD-FM, a rock radio station, in Tulsa, Oklahoma, created the Roy D. Mercer character in 1993. Initially, they used the character on comedy sketches for the radio station. Originally, the prank call sketches were a part of KMOD's morning show. By 1997, Capitol Records Nashville began issuing the sketches on compact disc. Twelve Roy D. Mercer compilation albums have been released on the Capitol and Virgin Records labels. A Virgin Records Nashville executive noted that Mercer's early albums managed to sell between 250,000 and 300,000 copies, primarily due to word of mouth, without any promotion to consumers or radio airplay of the album tracks.
In most of the sketches, Mercer will demand that the recipient of a call pay him money for some incident, and if the recipient refuses, he will threaten them with violence (usually an "ass-whuppin'"). Mercer has been described as speaking with "a mushy-mouthed Southern drawl" and his style of comedy has been described as "not exactly obscene ... [but] border[ing] on offensive". Many of the recipients of the calls are suggested by their friends who supply Mercer with information about the potential recipients.
On October 12, 2012, the Phil and Brent Show ended its 27 year run with KMOD-FM radio. Phil Stone died on November 21, 2012, 40 days after the radio show ended, from causes related to heart disease at the age of 57."Roy D. Mercer — he's the Jerky Boys' country cousin". The Oak Ridger. 1999-12-10. Archived from the original on 2008-01-06. Retrieved 2007-12-02. Erlewine, Stephen Thomas. "allmusic ((( Roy D. Mercer > Biography )))". Allmusic. Retrieved 2007-12-02. Flippo, Chet (1999-10-23). "Roy D. Hangs On; Owen Bradley to Be Honored; Kentucky Hall of Fame Set". Billboard. p. 40. McCall, Michael (1998-11-26). "Frankly Speaking: Country comedy, like country music, tries to keep up with the times". Nashville Scene. "Former 'Phil and Brent' morning show host Phil Stone dies". Tulsa World. November 21, 2012. Retrieved November 24, 2012.
John Bean's "Leroy Mercer" character of the 1980s
Many claim that Roy D. Mercer was inspired by "Leroy Mercer," a character created in Tennessee by John Bean, who made prank calls circulated by hand-to-hand tape exchange in the early 1980s. Leroy Mercer, voiced by John Bean, also called individuals and businesses threatening an "ass-whuppin". There are many parallels and similarities to the calls, with Roy D. Mercer using many of the former Leroy Mercer's lines. John Bean died from cancer in his early 30's in 1984; Stone and Douglas said that they originally invented their Roy D. Mercer character in 1990 before his official creation in 1993, and that the name was coincidental.Bean, Betty (2008-07-30). "Tales of Bean More anecdotes of John Bean's sly sense of humor". Metro Pulse. Retrieved 26 July 2010. Turczyn, Coury (2008-07-30). "Ass-Whuppin' Time". Metro Pulse. Retrieved 26 July 2010. "Phone prank phenomenon gets his due: Atomic Audio releases 'The Real Leroy Mercer'". The City Paper. 2001-01-18. "John Bean's Leroy Mercer discovers YouTube". Knoxville News Sentinel. 2008-07-24. Retrieved 26 July 2010. Bean, Betty. "Somebody's Fixin' to Get Their Ass Whupped: The life and death of the true Picasso of prank phone calls, John Bean". PopCult Magazine. Retrieved 26 July 2010. Dills, John (2009-02-10). "The Real John Bean". Trucker News. Retrieved 26 July 2010. Bledsoe, Wayne (2000-01-02). "Prank calls that spread around world now on CD". Knoxville News Sentinel. Retrieved 26 July 2010.