Prior to this review, my familiarity with Jeff Foxworthy began and ended with his famous stand-up routine, “you might be a redneck if”. That’s how this comedian made it big back in the early to mid-90’s, but his attempts at television, which is the usual next step for stand-ups, have failed.
And so, apparently, it goes for Foxworthy’s Big Night Out, which aired last year on Country Music Television. This 2-disc release presents all 12 episodes of the sketch-comedy variety show that never really got off the ground. In the past, Foxworthy has explained his sitcom cancellations by arguing that the big networks just didn’t know how to market his brand of common man, redneck comedy to a national audience. Surely, though, CMT is the place to be for Foxworthy. After all, country fans are just a bunch of gun-toting rednecks with single-digit IQs, right?
I’m no country fan, but I’m guessing the reason this series didn’t take off is CMT viewers saw what I saw viewing this set – weak stand-up, poorly written sketches and awkward audience participation. Each of these dozen 20-minute episodes follows a set format, beginning with a five-minute Foxworthy monologue. Then there’s a sketch or two, followed by a performance by the episode’s musical guest, which is always a country star. Foxworthy then chats with the guest, gets questions from the audience, and finally the guest plays another tune to close the show.
I remember laughing a lot at Foxworthy’s original redneck routine, but I sure wasn’t laughing during these opening monologues. His humour here is just too stereotypical, and his delivery is a bit rough around the edges. For example, a joke from one of the better monologues is about the male-female conflict when choosing a movie: “apparently, women want romance and a story! Men just want car crashes and full-frontal nudity.” Hardy-har.
Then we have the sketches. Pretty standard templates here, with scenarios like “Celebrity Deer Hunter”, a recurring TV-style talk show in which Foxworthy and cast member Shane Caldwell ask guests to smelly stinky stuff in Tupperware containers. Other sketches include mock TV newscasts and redneck family reunions. The writing is hit-and-miss with way more of the latter, which isn’t helped by the fact that the musical guests participate. Your average country star isn’t too good with the sketch comedy, I was unsurprised to learn. It’s too bad, because two of the regular cast members, Brooke Dillman and Peter Oldring, seem like they have the chops to do so much better. Even with the show’s weak material, these two actors have some strong moments.
As for the musical guests, I’m not going to judge their quality, because frankly I don’t have an ear for country, and I only recognized the names of two out of 12 guests. To share my opinion here would be unfair to the artists, and not very helpful for those who actually like country music.
The final element of the show is the Homewreckers, the series’ dancers. They’re eight scantily clad women who, well, dance here and there during the episodes.
So the series is lackluster from start to finish. How’s the DVD set?
All 12 episodes of Foxworthy’s Big Night Out are presented on two discs, in 1.33:1 full-screen format. I’d call the video quality about average for a TV series. It looks a bit soft, but the colours are accurate and there are no compression issues. Overall quality varies a bit from episode to episode, with the first show being the worst of the bunch.
The only audio offered here is English Dolby Digital Stereo. Not much to it, but everything is audible. My only complaint is the presentation lacks depth for the musical guests’ performances, which may be a cause for concern with country fans.
There are no subtitles available.
Foxworthy’s Big Night Out goes quantity over quality with the bonus material. There are no highlights here, and the way features are organized is frustrating. Case in point, the behind the scenes stuff, which is broken down into 21 one- or two-minute parts. Anyway, here’s the breakdown:
- Bloopers: seven minutes worth, with only a couple of chuckle-worthy moments to be found. Hey, at least they’re consistent.
- Best of Jeff’s Monologues: this is just a chance to watch four of the monologues from the episodes without having to remember which episode was which. Too bad for Jeff that his material stunk.
- Behind the Scenes: like I explained above, this 21-part collection is poorly organized, and most of the parts are highly unamusing. That may not be a real word, but I’m using it anyway.
- The Homewreckers: eight dancing girls, eight two-minute interview clip montages. Meet the ladies who all seem to be former football cheerleaders, and here them talk about their experience with the show, and how they used to dance for Beyonce or some other act.
- Fitness with the Cast: another poorly organized offering. Why should 11 minutes of material be broken down into five parts? Here the cast members clown around, first with the two guys in the gym, and then with two of the women “doing pilates” in a hotel room. Boring stuff.
- Previews: three of them, all related to CMT productions. That’s good, because you’ll probably be so jazzed about this show that you’ll be scrambling to find out what else CMT has going on. Right.
Foxworthy’s Big Night Out fails on so many levels. The quality of this DVD set is alright, but I wouldn’t recommend it to anyone outside of die-hard Foxworthy fans.
Special Features List
- Best of Jeff’s Monologues
- Behind the Scenes
- The Homewreckers
- Fitness with the Cast