The Stand-up Movie genre started, I believe, in the late ’70s and early ’80s with comedians like Eddie Murphy, Bill Cosby, and Richard Pryor. Or at least the genre didn’t become popular until those three guys did it. I’m not entirely sure why the idea of a Stand-up Movie where a comedian basically gets up on stage and does his act, and the camera films him and the audience reaction, is appealing. I guess if you really like the comedian, you’d be willing to pay to see what amounts to a, well, recorded, er, live stand-up routine. Huh? Exactly.
The “Blue Collar Comedy Tour” does the same thing that the “Kings of Comedy” did a few years back. “Kings” took a bunch of comedians with similar themes in their routines and form a comedy tour around them. “Kings” was mostly for black audiences, since all the comedians were black, and they generally did black-related jokes. “Blue Collar”, as the name may imply, consists of 4 white guys name Jeff Foxworthy, Bill Engvall, Ron White, and Larry, who also goes by Larry the Cable Guy. The theme is that they’re four working class guys with ties to the south. (In fact, the guys actually make fun (or pay homage, if you prefer) to the comedians in the “Kings of Comedy” early in the film.)
Foxworthy is most known for his “You might be a redneck if…” jokes, and Bill Engvall has the “You’re an idiot, here’s your sign” jokes. Larry, I believe, plays the dumb redneck in all of his routines, right down to his ugly jeans and sleeveless plaid shirt and cap, and sometimes mystifying speech patterns. Ron White is a little harder to box in, since he goes on stage with a glass of whiskey and cigarette, and seems to have more range to his jokes. The main star of the tour is of course Foxworthy, who once had a TV show and has been on TV more than the other three guys.
If you like the four comedians, then you’ll like the movie. It’s not really a movie, but more of a variety show with short skits inserted between lone stand-up segments by the different comedians. The skits are not the movie’s best material, since they’re probably the most scripted moments of the entire film, right down to the cameos by David Alan Grier and supermodel Heidi Klum as the hottest saleswoman in a Victoria’s Secret booth. Product tie-in anyone?
The different stand-up routines are funny, but it’s the film’s final 30 minutes, when all 4 get on stage and exchange stories and jokes, that really makes the movie. There’s no script here, and the guys are pretty much free to say and do anything off the top of their heads. They start stepping over each other’s routines and are generally very funny.
I still don’t “get” the whole point of a Stand-up Movie, since I’d imagine that if you wanted to see a comedian do a live act you’d go to a comedy club, or watch it for free on Comedy Central if you wanted to see a recorded “live” act. I don’t ever see myself going to a movie theater to see comedians doing stand-up. I mean, what’s the point? But maybe that’s just me.
C.B. Harding (director)
CAST: Jeff Foxworthy, Bill Engvall, Ron White, Larry The Cable Guy, David Alan Grier, Heidi Klum