Blue Collar Comedy: The Next Generation
Distributed By: Warner Bros. Pictures
Reviewed by Melissa Minners
We’ve all heard the redneck jokes – “You might be a redneck if…” – Jeff Foxworthy made these jokes famous with his comedy routines. In the year 2000, Foxworthy began touring with Bill Engvall, Larry the Cable Guy and Ron White, each of whom were known for their everyman’s comedy routines. While Jeff Foxworthy and Larry the Cable Guy focused on redneck stereotypes, Bill Engvall discussed everyday life and observations of what he believed to be “stupid comments.” Ron White rounded up the group with his personal tales told in his drinking Southerner persona. This tour was called The Blue Collar Comedy Tour and it became so popular that the group recorded live albums and DVDs. Each member of The Blue Collar Comedy Tour went on to bigger and better things – comedy specials, live albums, movies and television series.
In 2007, Bill Engvall passed the torch on to a new group of Blue Collar comedians when he hosted Blue Collar Comedy: The Next Generation. In 2008, Warner Bros. released Blue Collar Comedy: The Next Generation in DVD format. Filmed at Caesar’s Palace in Las Vegas, Nevada during The Comedy Festival, this new Blue Collar Comedy crew features Jamie Kaler, Reno Collier, Juston McKinney and John Caparulo.
Bill Engvall begins his hosting duties with a monologue about turning fifty and the things that fifty-year-old have to look forward to…like that special doctor’s visit – Yikes! Next up is Jamie Kaler, an actor/comedian with an impressive resume of television appearances on accomplished series such as Will & Grace, Grounded for Life, The King of Queens, and My Boys. His stand-up routine starts off slow and doesn’t really pick up a whole lot of speed. It’s mostly dry humor that elicits a chuckle or two, but that’s about it.
Following Jamie Kaler is Juston McKinney, a man who gave up his job as a York County Sheriff’s Department patrol officer and D.A.R.E. instructor to become a comedian. Following his dream, McKinney found success in New York City at such venues as the Comic Strip, Caroline’s and Dangerfield’s. I loved the “White Clutter” part of his routine in which he explains why he is a step above White Trash in a delivery that sounds quite like a young man experiencing puberty. Throughout this bit, McKinney describes what us “poor folk” go through when attempting to choose a meal from the menu of a pricey restaurant. This, I certainly can relate to! Watching McKinney go through his routine, I thought – hey, things are picking up here!
Then came John Caparulo and his stereotypical redneck delivery and I thought – now this is Blue Collar Comedy! This is a man who knows how to make people laugh. He looks the redneck part, acts it and speaks it so perfectly that you can’t help but laugh. I love his routine about people who read and how he hates going to the movies and sitting next to someone who may have read the book version of the film he’s watching. In fact, there wasn’t one part of Caparulo’s routine that didn’t have me laughing heartily. His delivery and timing are perfect and I don’t see how anyone who enjoys Blue Collar Comedy can resist John Caparulo.
The final routine is performed by Reno Collier, a former physical education teacher with a knack for comedy. Collier has the distinction of being the only performer on the DVD to have actually toured with each of the original Blue Collar Comedy members. Although things start off with a bang with an ethnic joke about Mexicans, Collier’s brand of comedy mostly pokes fun at himself and past experiences. He discusses things like his Scottish heritage, his job as a physical education teacher, and more. And yet, coming after John Caparulo’s routine, Collier’s stand-up routine seems funny, but a tad bit flat.
The Blue Collar Comedy: The Next Generation features some extras including interviews with each of the members regarding their pasts, how they got into comedy, their families and more. Once again, John Caparulo’s interview was the funniest, especially when he explains how he became a people-person who hates people. There is also an after-show featurette in which Bill Engvall chats with the next generation of Blue Collar comedians. As he gets up to leave the chat session, he offers up one thought – no matter how well these guys do as Blue Collar comedians, they will never be like the original quartet. I have to agree with this assessment for most of the crew, but I think that John Caparulo is an excellent addition to the Blue Collar Comedy tradition. This is a Blue Collar Comedian on par with Larry the Cable Guy and I can’t wait to see him in his own comedy special DVD!
The Blue Collar Comedy: The Next Generation DVD is good for a laugh or two, especially for fans of Blue Collar Comedy. However, if I were you, I’d skip around the DVD a bit, watching it in this order: Jamie Kaler, Reno Collier, Juston McKinney and John Caparulo. Trust me, the DVD will be a whole lot funnier that way.