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Hee Haw rides again

Hee Haw rides again!
Reprise: Junior Samples, Grandpa Jones, Buck Owens and Roy Clark.
 
No I’m messing with you. This is the cast of Blue Collar Comedy Tour Rides Again or something like that. Three funny guys who make an enormous living by speaking for the common man, plus the Cable Guy, their greek chorus, in this case impersonating the common lower common man. Really, when Larry The Cable Guy, Bill Engvall, Jeff Foxworthy and Ron White appear in promotional pictures, CD covers or movie posters, they are never shown in any other order than where their fans have seen them sit on their Comedy Central special. What an interesting opinion of the intellectual incapacity of your target audience.

I caught a little of this popular act on TV and I knew I’d seen it somewhere before. HEE HAW! It was funny then, and it’s funny still. But back then we didn’t have hicks for country music stars and for race car drivers and for president of the United States. Is this where you get when you idolize people who behave like they were schooled in a barn?

We make multi-millionaires out of people who talk like hayseeds. Nothin’ wrong with hayseeds, on tractors naturally. And clearly country music stars, like redneck comedy stars and like NASCAR driving stars have a lot more going for them upstairs than your average service station gofer. Most of the time we can tell that politicians and preachers who pander to the lowest common denominator, are not themselves so gullible. However, we don’t want our doctors to be hayseeds, nor our scientists, nor our news reporters, nor even customer service representatives. Why are we looking for comedic wisdom from hayseeds?

Lauding a hayseed for comedic wit seems to me to set a terrible example. We’re supposed to laugh at what stupid thinks is stupid? It’s terrifying to me that there’s even an entire auditorium full of stupids who want to hear country dumbkins opine about life. This is misogeny and gay-bashing and oversimplification of everything. Sure it’s funny to laugh at political correctness, until you consider why something is thought correct or incorrect in the first place. Life is a little bit complicated, and we don’t mind admitting that we like the most qualified person to be driving the bus. What is so funny about an idiot sounding off? Especially in a world where the court jester resembles the radio commentator and worse our presidential dauphin.

These guys tell the same jokes to each other, even work in ad libs for each other from their own original routines. This would not be so bad except that the good ol’ boys give each other kudos for their clever repartees, even though the audience would know from the CD they’ve already memorized that even the joviality is canned.

Most of us, when retelling a story in the presence of someone who we might have told already, will begin by saying “I was telling such-an-such…” so awkward are we about repeating ourselves. Performers naturally have to repeat themselves, and have to act among each other like the material is fresh. But to give each other credit for extemporizing a put-down is pretty damn lower denominator.

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