Blue Collar [1978]

Blue Collar TV finds three of the boys from Blue Collar Comedy Tour: The Movie and Blue Collar Comedy Tour Rides Again in a sketch comedy format, supported by a talented ensemble of comic players and writers who know how to build on the stars' individual strengths. Jeff Foxworthy is the series' anchor, opening each episode in the 1994 debut season with a strong monologue riffing on one or another theme: marriage, bad jobs, sports, vacations, family, partying. Happy redneck Larry the Cable Guy and NASCAR-loving Everyman Bill Engvall join Foxworthy in energetic skits that definitely become funnier and bolder with each new show. Among the best sketches is "CSI: Greater Greensboro Tri-Area," in which Foxworthy's crime-scene sleuth is on the trail of a deerslayer. "Lingerie for Couples Together 20 Years" spotlights such hot domestic garb as sweatshirts accented with a ratty, cat-hair-covered blanket from the back of a closet. "Hug or Hit" is a mock game show in which a terrified contestant has to predict whether a drunk sleeping in a glass booth will, upon awakening, embrace or take a swing at him. The recurring "I believe" format finds Foxworthy, Larry, and Engvall piously revealing articles of their faith in this hard, hard world: "I believe," Engvall says, "that Angelina Jolie thinks about me as much as I think about her." Right. Guest star Ron White (the missing fourth partner from the Blue Collar tours), cigarette and Scotch-on-the-rocks in hand, lends his decadent (and welcome) persona here and there to the proceedings. Drew Carey shows up as well, but it's the series' obvious growth over 13 episodes that makes Blue Collar TV a comedy success. --Tom Keogh

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