|Blue Collar Comedy Tour: One for the Road (2006)
Starring: Jeff Foxworthy, Bill Engvall, Ron White, Larry the Cable Guy
Director: CB Harding
The cash cow goes, “Mooooooooooo!” That appears to be the inspiration for the third – and allegedly final – Blue Collar Comedy Tour video. The movie, “One for the Road” (Ron White’s title of choice was “Enough Already,” but he admitted that they wouldn’t use that “because that would be funny”), offers the same kind of humor that you’ve come to expect from White, Jeff Foxworthy, Bill Engvall and Larry the Cable Guy, but the interesting stuff is in its details. The dynamics have shifted considerably within the group, better for some than for others.
The routines are more of the same from all concerned. Engvall discusses his poop-eating dog, SkyMall (which makes us wonder if he’s shared a few stages with Jim Gaffigan lately), and an embarrassing encounter at a massage parlor. Engvall is the Steady Eddie of the group; his material is light, fun, and right down the middle. Ditto Foxworthy, whose routine was still list-heavy – take a drink every time Foxworthy begins a sentence with “If you…,” and you’ll be smashed before Larry the Cable Guy takes the stage – but centered more around fashion do’s and don’ts for rednecks and bad slogans for Lasik and vasectomies. Not bad, but not his best work.
Which brings us to Ron White, the rising star. Only Foxworthy and White received standing ovations for their routines, and you couldn’t help but think Foxworthy received his more for his overall body of work than that night’s performance. White, on the other hand, deserved his. He positively killed, blowing his touring mates off the stage. His bit about being stuck in Fairbanks for three days and getting flack for making fun of how unattractive the Eskimos were (“I thought they knew”) is priceless. His delivery may be aw-shucks in its directness, but White is sly and witty in a way that Larry the Cable Guy will never know.
Okay, that is not entirely true. Larry knows funny: he just chooses to do easy.
I’ll let David Cross’ open letter to Larry the Cable Guy, and about how the character of Larry affirms anti-intellectualism, speak for itself. Instead, I would like to direct you toward the behind-the-scenes feature on “One for the Road,” where the Blue Collar boys do a photo session that will be used in the movie’s opening credits. The last shot in the scene shows Larry – well, more accurately, Dan Whitney, which is the name on Larry’s driver’s license – complaining to the photographer, “Am I going to look that frickin’ fat? I’ve lost weight!”
There is nary a trace of Larry’s hillbilly drawl.
And that’s okay. Comics have adopted alter egos and personas since the beginning – Paul Reubens had dozens of other characters besides Pee Wee Herman – but as this video of an ‘80s-era Pre-Larry Whitney shows, Whitney is much smarter than he lets on, which means there is no need for his country bumpkin act, and it is an act, to be so lazy. Indeed, his routine on “One for the Road” (his first “Git ‘er done” drops around the six second mark) trots out one lame joke after another, making fun of cripples, gays, immigrants, endorsing incest (twice), raving about the wonders of Wal-Mart (ten bucks says Whitney has never set foot in one), and lots and lots of poop jokes. And after you’ve heard the line about how “frickin’ fat” he looks, one cannot help but notice how affected and forced Larry’s “accent” really is.
But wait, there’s more. When “Larry” can’t be bothered to write a better joke, he’ll simply steal it. Where his joke about Catholic Church on his album The Right to Bare Arms came from an old Jake Johansen routine, his joke here about dating a midget (“I was nuts over her.” Get it? Is he going too fast for ya?) is straight outta the vault of…Bob Saget. That’s right, Larry the Cable Guy is stealing 20-year-old jokes from Bob, freaking, Saget. Now, in fairness to Lord Saget, he was actually a much, much better comedian than his days on “Full House” and “America’s Funniest Home Videos” would suggest. Still, it’s disappointing to see LTCG get his best material via other people’s hand-me-downs.
“One for the Road” is one of those rare instances where the band knows that it’s time to break up before they’ve worn out their welcome. The golden rule of comedy is to always leave them wanting more, and the Blue Collar guys, friendships aside, have to know that the sell-by date of them as a group is fast approaching. After all, even the Rat Pack became uncool at one point. White was right: enough already.
Besides the unforgettable glimpse behind the curtain that we get during the behind-the-scenes segment, there is a short film “Yankee Doody Dandy,” where Larry convinces the guys to leave a flaming pile of dog poop at the front door of the White House. There is also a very telling segment where students from a local university grill the Blue Collar guys, and one of them asks, pointedly, how much Larry the Cable Guy is like Larry the Cable Guy…and the other three comics answer the question for him. The extras are cool and all, but you don’t buy a DVD like this for the extras.