Nancy Kruh

Plus the singer chooses carefully who has the best sense of humor: Carrie Underwood or wife Kimberly Williams-Paisley?

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May 17, 2016 03:55 PM

Considering how many other country stars have ended up on the barbed end of a Brad Paisley punchline, it’s only fair to put the guy on the spot.

So, Brad, just who has the better sense of humor, your CMA Awards hosting sidekick Carrie Underwood or your wife, actress Kimberly Williams-Paisley?

Paisley pauses to consider the possible grim consequences of his response. “There’s no winning answer for that,” he says.

“I’m gonna say my wife because I have to go home to her,” he finally decides, slipping off the horns of his dilemma. “But Carrie is very hard to beat as, like, a foil – somebody who will just stand there. She’s up for anything. They’re equally matched.”

Well played, Brad – and you’d expect nothing less from a man who volunteered for a second year in a row to be the host of a night of standup at Nashville’s annual Wild West Comedy Festival. But before he took the stage at Zanies Comedy Club on Monday night, country’s merriest prankster reminisced exclusively with PEOPLE about his all-time greatest prank, the putrid poultry caper that put Blake Shelton in the crosshairs.

This would be the time Paisley, 43, and his co-conspiring road manager stealthily affixed a pop-up air freshener to the bottom of a table in Shelton’s tour bus. Except the sweet-smelling stick had been replaced with raw chicken meat. Shelton and his crew spent two miserable days trying to track down the source of the stench. “They said they missed it every time they looked,” Paisley recalled, “because, it’s a stick-up air freshener, and why would it be this thing that smells like death?”

Shelton instantly identified his culprit and laughed off the prank – “he and I are very much that way, cut from the same cloth,” Paisley said – but is anyone in his circle strictly off limits for such mischief-making?

“No, I don’t think so,” Paisley says.

RELATED: Take a Tour of Brad Paisley’s At-Home Bar

Even rock deity Mick Jagger, who’s doing Paisley a solid by appearing on his next album?

Paisley takes his time to answer – and perhaps weigh the risks of mayhem.

“Yeah,” he finally allows. “I would totally prank him. He’s amazing.”

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Once on the comedy club stage, Paisley playfully introduced the evening’s three standup comics, and he humored the audience with several self-penned songs that may or may not end up on record, depending on whether he thinks “the Internet would kill me.”

One that won’t be heard outside a comedy club was Paisley’s parody of Tammy Wynette’s “Stand By Your Man,” employing a woman’s private body part for perhaps the most creative rhyming of “North Carolina.” It starts: “Sometimes it’s hard to be a woman, especially when you were born a man.” The chorus: “Sit by your man/We’re all just human beings/He’s just a human peeing, in the stall right next to you.”

On Thursday, Paisley kicks off his Life Amplified World Tour in Sacramento while basking in the smashing reception to his new Demi Lovato duet, "Without a Fight." The two cooked up the pairing last month after they performed Lovato‘s “Stone Cold” for the iHeart Radio Music Awards.

“She was saying, ‘We’ve gotta do something else,'” Paisley said. “And I said, ‘Well, I have it.'”

He pulled out a co-write he hadn’t planned as a duet, but he seized on its potential for Lovato’s big voice.

“The thing that really lifts the song beyond the guitar lick and the melody and the words is that the woman gets to shine,” he said. “She can take it to notes that I can’t. She can take it to notes that only my dog can hear. But he says she nailed it.”

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