Seems like every time I turn on Comedy Central anymore, I’m subjected to one long commercial for one show or another. Even during the roast of Jeff Foxworthy, I was made to endure the comedic stylings of Comedy Central castoffs Colin Quinn, Nick DiPaolo, Greg Giraldo, and Patrice O’Neal. Did they bother to include my favorite, Little Jimmy Norton? No. Apparently they didn’t have to fulfill any contractual obligation with him.
The thing that really rubbed me the wrong way about the set up was that there isn’t a natural connection between the Tough Crowd gang and Jeff Foxworthy and his merry band of Blue Collar tourmates. Sure, they’re all comedians, but that’s it. Well, that and the fact that the Blue Collar crew took over the Tough Crowd time slot for a short time.
So why is Comedy Central putting their has-beens on a show with their most recent comedy darlings? Is it contractual thing or is it merely sucking up to the audience that wants Tough Crowd back on the air? I don’t think any explanations are forthcoming, but that’s okay. I’ve seen enough to have formulated my own opinion.
Comedy Central pulling Tough Crowd off the air angered a lot of fans. For once, folks who leaned a little more to the political right had a show that played to them. Colin Quinn mouthed off about everything and didn’t really care who he offended. Throw in Jim Norton and you had a free-for-all. That’s not to say that more liberal comedians didn’t get their shot on the show. They did. But often fell prey to the other panelists who didn’t play that game.
Typical fare from regular panelists:
“Roses are red, violets are blue, let’s hang Saddam by his nuts, and the French bastard too.” ~ Nick DiPaolo on slogans for War in Iraq t-shirts.
“Well, I don’t know what type of car he’d drive, but I do know that he’d drive an automatic because I’d imagine it’s really hard to change gears when you’ve got holes in your hands.” ~ Jim Norton discussing what kind of car Jesus would drive.
The show continued to draw fans right up until the end. When the cancellation was announced, people started a campaign to save the show.
Now, if Comedy Central axed Tough Crowd in favor of the Blue Collar guys and have replaced them with more reruns of Jon Stewart and the Daily Show, why wasn’t Jon Stewart taking part in the roast? None of it makes sense.
Okay, so let’s say that it was the CC-has-beens versus the newer-CC-has-beens on the roast. Fine. The bulk of the jokes revolved around Jeff’s mustache – gay! – and when someone couldn’t think of anything to say about another panelist they were labelled….are you ready for this? Gay. Yep, if something or someone couldn’t be described by someone else as being funny or having a particular niche, they were labelled gay. How witty. Seems to me that these folks have collectively written enough material that they could have mined something from the depths of whatever hell old jokes must suffer and found some precious nugget of mirth and applied it appropriately.
All that I got from the “special”, which, if you must know, was replayed endlessly over the next 168 hours, was the fact that Jeff Foxworthy has sold more comedy recordings than any other comedian ever. He does so without resorting to foul language, and remains grounded in family values. And this is important, because on top of it all, he’s built his empire on one phrase: “you might be a redneck if….”