A popular comedian could face charges in Bismarck for a regular part of his routine.
Ron White, the Scotch-swilling, cigar-smoking Blue Collar Comedy Tour comedian, performed at the Belle Mehus Auditorium on April 30. But prior to that, a Bismarck citizen tipped off police that part of White's routine might run afoul of a Bismarck city ordinance prohibiting smoking in public places.
Gary Semmel, 55, wrote a letter dated April 17 to the Bismarck Police Department, letting them know White smokes a cigar during his act, which seems to be at odds with the city ordinance prohibiting smoking in public places, Sgt. Dwight Offerman said.
Semmel did not have a listed phone number.
Management for White declined to comment, publicist Kathe Nelson said.
Because of the letter, police placed a plainclothes officer at the first of White's two performances to document his smoking, Offerman said. The officer reported back that White lit up a cigar to start the show, took one puff, then let the cigar burn out. He lit up again and took another puff later in the show, again let it run out, then didn't light it up again until the end of the show, Offerman said.
Smoking in public places is an infraction, punishable by fines of up to $500. Offerman said the report will be sent to the city attorney.
White, whose nickname "Tater Salad" was listed as his alias on the police report, is best know for his performances on the Blue Collar Comedy Tour with Jeff Foxworthy, Bill Engvall and Larry the Cable Guy. The Texas Legislature declared April 27 "Ron White Day" to honor the Texas native.
White is no stranger to run-ins with the law, having been arrested in Vero Beach, Fla., for marijuana and paraphernalia possession in September. He pleaded guilty as part of a plea deal and was sentenced to probation.