Perry Edenburn, aka Harley Worthit, has been entertaining audiences in Branson for the past 25 years. He has shared with the stage with many stars and offers a unique style of clean comedy.
My interest in the entertainment world started when the Beatles appeared on the Ed Sullivan show. I remember laying on my stomach on the living room floor, watching how excited the audience was over these four guys. My dad had bought a used guitar, hoping one of us kids would pick it up. I started teaching myself to play chords. After about three years, I ended up in a little group that played locally for school dances and private parties. I played drums in the high school band and got a set of drums for my 16th birthday.
Over my adult years after high school, I played rhythm guitar or drums in several groups. Eventually, I moved to Lake of the Ozarks in 1980 to play drums on Lee Mace’s Ozark Opry. This was the first entertainment job that exposed me to the Ozark’s family style of comedy. I had always enjoyed telling jokes to friends and started trying to contribute ideas to routines these comedians used on the shows. In 1985, I was playing guitar on a show, and one night, the comedian and his wife had a serious fight and he left town. The show had ten more weeks before the end of the season and I was asked to come up with a character and fill the comedy shoes since I was more familiar with the routines than anyone else. I began performing comedy as a Swedish tourist named Ole Jorgenson.
At the end of the ten weeks, I was offered two jobs as a comedian for the next season. So, I’d spent years learning how to play music and sing, and now I get job offers to be a comedian. I decided that I might as well make lemonade since the world was handing me lemons...
In 1987, I moved to Branson, finding work with the Wilkinson Brothers as Ole Jorgenson. After a short three months, I was hired by the Plummer Family. They sold their theater in 1990 and I was fortunate to have gotten a job with a show called the Ozark Mountain Opry. This show was a matinee held in the Presley's theater, and this is where I started using the name "Harley Worthit."
During the season, several of the Presley family would come to watch the matinee and late that year, I was asked to put a comedy pre-show together that would entertain their audience before their 8:00 show. My stint with the Presley's lasted through 2001. Since then, I’ve worked with Pam Tillis, Doug Kershaw, Pierce Arrow, Splinter Middleton, Clay Cooper and Delene Andre. I’ve also performed privately throughout the Midwest, doing a one-man comedy show for a variety of corporate functions.