Don’t think of it as just Blue Collar TV. Think of it as ”I Can Call My Sister a Redneck But You Can’t TV.” The stars of the Blue Collar Comedy Tour – Jeff Foxworthy, Larry the Cable Guy, and Bill Engvall – spin 30 minutes of skits, most aimed at poking fun at the flyover-state lifestyle before those smarty-pants in New York City get a chance to. Filmed in Atlanta with a live audience, the show has an insulated, clubhouse feel. Wine sippers and Ivy Leaguers will be tolerated…but they probably won’t get half the jokes. If you’ve never harbored dreams of bathing in gravy, this might not be the show for you.
Even if you have, it still might not be a show for you. So far, ”Blue”’s a third doggone funny, a third shruggingly fine, and a third pretty unamusing. When it goes broad, ”Blue” goes side-of-a-barn, ”Hee Haw” broad – and when it misses one of these massive, easy jokes, the unfunniness is dazzling. A bit on obese parents confronting their secretly dieting daughter devolved into people in fat suits rolling on the floor. A ”game show” called ”Hug You or Hit You” seemed just an excuse for a country frat boy to pummel a well-pressed city type.
When ”Blue” is slyly clever, I, for one, fully appreciate its reenfranchisement of all bike-short-sporting Midwesterners and working stiffs who like their wine in boxes. (As do a lot of other folks: Thanks to its record-setting ratings for The WB, the network recently picked up a full season of ”Blue.”) Mr. You Might Be a Redneck makes an amiable host, and so far the show bears none of the divisiveness so proudly evident in the off-camera work of Larry the Cable Guy (a virulent lefty-bashing fellow whose catchphrase is ”What the hell is this, Russia?”) and Engvall’s Michael Moore-liberal-slamming song, ”Here’s Your Sign (Don’t Mess With Us).”
”Blue” at its best is plain good-natured, the mockery self-inflicted. Consider Larry’s comment that the mating process leaves him ”more frustrated than the Elephant Man trying on a turtleneck.” Or the TV satire ”CSI: Greater Greensboro Tri-Country Area,” in which the crime team discovers a murdered stag and ultimately interrogates a tiny, adorable, real live deer… named Dean. Snipes an enraged Foxworthy to the oblivious, wide-eyed buck: ”I’ve had enough of this scumbag!” Now, that’s funny – whether you drink your wine from a box or a bottle.