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.
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.