Kenny Rogers’ longtime pal tells us just how funny and crazy “The Gambler” really is Laura Roberts/Invision/AP
Laura Roberts/Invision/AP

Kenny Rogers’ friendship with Lionel Richie has been going on for decades, and there’s much more to their camaraderie than just hit songs.

Lionel was on hand to perform the song he wrote that became a massive hit for Kenny, “Lady,” at Kenny’s big farewell tribute concert in Nashville on Oct. 25. They’ve teamed up for special concert events ever since that song came out, but it’s the laughter that really keeps this friendship going.

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We caught up with Lionel prior to his performance at Kenny’s tribute show, “All in for the Gambler: Kenny Rogers’ Final Concert Celebration,” and he told us all about Kenny’s sometimes twisted sense of humor.

“He is the sense of humor of life,” Lionel tells Rare Country. “And a lot of times, it would take me a moment to go, ‘Is he really being serious?’ Then I realize, no. Not on anything. I would say to him, ‘We’re going to record the song, Kenny, at 10 in the morning.’ He would say. ‘No, I’ve got a tennis match at 10 in the morning.’ ‘Well, you do want me to write the song?’ ‘Yes, but I have a tennis match. I’ll be there after that.'”

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Sometimes that sense of humor just gets a little scary, as it did when Kenny and Lionel were on a boat together in Florida with a hurricane coming in.

Lionel says, “There’s a warning. All boats come in. Kenny casts off. We’re in swells like this. I’m going, ‘What are we doing?’ Somewhere between the funniest man in the world and the craziest man in the world, that’s Kenny Rogers.”

Dolly Parton, Reba McEntire, the Judds and Chris Stapleton were among the other stars who performed at Kenny’s tribute show.

Hunter Kelly is a senior correspondent for Rare Country. Follow him on Twitter @Hunterkelly.
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