Red States Need to Laugh Too, Y’know

Filed Under Sketch Comedy

Last night, I came home to catch The Daily Show and discovered that Blue Collar TV now reruns on Comedy Central. As a former Atlantan and Southerner, I felt the need to rewind the TiVo to see what I missed. (I should clarify that I’m technically more of a son of carbetbaggers, as my folks are Yankees and we didn’t move there ‘til I was six.)

Blue Collar TV isn’t exactly my mason jar of moonshine as far as humor goes. But it’s interesting to watch because believe it or not, Jeff Foxworthy has the all-time best selling comedy album ever. And his buddies Bill Engvall and Larry the Cable Guy are huge themselves. Comedy Central got it’s best ratings ever featuring these guys during a “Redneck Weekend.” With networks always chasing the young male demo, it’s kind of easy to forget what the rest of America finds funny. Sure we’ll make a Joe Dirt or a Ronnie Dobbs, but there’s a sense that to laugh at unsophisticated white folks, the people making it need to be unsophisticated white folk (at least in persona… Larry the Cable Guy probably loves a good Chateau Lafite after doing his Elton John Impression. “He’s queer! That’s my impression of him.”)

Another bizarre fact: Blue Collar TV apparently draws more women to Comedy Central than it’s regular programming. Sure with The Man Show, South Park and others, Comedy Central isn’t always the most appealing choice for women. But I don’t really see how these three guys are. Engvall and Foxworthy are pretty forward about being family men in their comedy… is that all there is to it?

For the show itself, I felt the absence of Ron White (who joined the trio for the Blue Collar Comedy Movie) , who I always found the funniest of them all. It makes sense when I think about it… White’s a bit more Texas renegade to Foxworthy and Co’s southern rebels. He seems to be doing lots of guest shots so I won’t miss him too much (if I watch again, which I might).

Foxworthy started an episode I saw with a stand-up routine that quoted the bible to begin a riff about being “nekkid.” Never seen that before. I found it ingenious in a way. So many people in these country love God (or profess to), having someone a bible verse as a base for some racy comedy (a blurred out naked Grandma and a “risqué” cheerleader routine) seems almost subversive. Almost. It makes me wonder which side of the Parents TV Council’s Best and Worst Shows list Blue Collar TV will ultimately fall.

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