Category Archives: Blue Collar

Ron White: Smooth Standup for Singular Viewing

I uh… I really like the Blue Collar Comedy Tour.  I feel like I have to confess this rather than just drop it casually.  I can mention that I like Aziz Ansari at a cool party with hip academics, fog machines, and black lights (which I attend practically all the time, by the way), but I have to “confess” that I like BCCT.  I feel like this because I have ideological qualms with the premise of the troupe.  I’ll write more on this later, but for now I want to highlight the man who I feel is the cream of the crop: Ron White.  Unlike the other, perhaps more infamous of the four performers whose acts stick to your ribs like overcooked oatmeal, White’s act is as smooth as a good scotch–no gimmicks or catchphrases, just pure, acerbic, Texan style.

Although a pillar of the Blue Collar Comedy troupe, White’s persona seems to have no unexamined allegiances to neither class nor political party.

White often falls to the ultimate sin of standup: reusing material ad nauseum. Once you’ve watched They Call Me Tater Salad, you’ve pretty much seen his repertoire.  The performance itself is anything but lazy, however, and I highly recommend it.  It’s impeccably timed, tightly delivered, and leaves me doubled over every time.

Teaching American Sitcoms: Ode to The Beverly Hillbillies

Editor’s Note:  This piece is the first piece in a planned series on teaching humor and television sitcoms.  Jeffrey Melton will be spearheading this feature, but he invites you to contribute to the series, as do I.  Do you have a sitcom that you teach that you would like to write about?  Please contact the editor.  Thanks.

I made my ten-year-old daughter watch the first episode of The Beverly Hillbillies. It was going to be a bonding experience for us. At the end as the credits rolled and the Clampetts waved, she said, “That was dumb.” A rift came between us at that moment, a deep realization of disappointment for both of us. We had expected more from one another. But I couldn’t argue against her basic assertion. So I simply said, “Well, you’re dumb, too,” and sent her to her room. No, I didn’t really say that, but I wanted to. I actually said, “Yes, it is dumb, but not as dumb as it seems.” And that’s the moment when “Dad” shifted to “Academic.” She left the room on her own.

The Beverly HIllbillies in their car

There goes the neighborhood: the Clampetts enter Beverly Hills

Why was The Beverly Hillbillies so popular, as corny as it is?

Janet Staiger, in her Blockbuster TV (New York: New York UP, 2000), notes that the early reviews were brutal. Staiger goes on to point out, however, that over a third of all TV households were tuning in by the close of the first season. It was the top show for the 1962/63 and 63/64 seasons by a substantive margin and remained in the top twenty for six more years after its highpoint. According to Staiger, it was THE blockbuster sitcom of the decade.

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Occupy Wall Street in Political Cartoons

Tracy Wuster

See also a newer post with some newer cartoons here.

While not following Occupy Wall Street as closely as I would like due to a hectic schedule, I have noticed the role of humor in the protests, especially in the signs.

As M. Thomas Inge’s earlier post pointed out, political cartoons have long been a major form of humor in American political discourse.  With this in mind, here are  few cartoons that I have found worth considering:  (please also see Halloween specific Occupy cartoons here)

from: DailyKos cartoons (more here)

Mike Luckovich from The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

See slideshow of cartoons here.

Please comment on cartoons and post links to others in the comments.

(c) 2011, all cartoons are copyrighted and used under fair use

Roseanne, Roseanne, and Where We Stand

Photo of Roseanne Barr by Monterey Media

What did I do the summer after I earned my master’s degree?  I spent the better part of my free time on the couch watching Roseanne reruns.  An F4 tornado unceremoniously concluded my last semester at the University of Alabama, and the frightful costs associated with cleaning up my life and property kept me solidly out of vacation mode. Things had been rough even before that.  Those closest to me were experiencing layoffs, long-term unemployment, and bankruptcy.  My own medical bills were piling up, and to top it all off I was growing out my bangs.

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