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Country Fried TV

Although I tend to annoy easily with the sport of channel-surfing during commercial breaks, if it were not for this attention-deficit idiosyncracy of my boyfriend's, I would never have stumbled into the merriment of Country Fried Home Videos.

Country Music Television (CMT) is not a channel that I have explored much in the past, for good reason; I don't care for today's popular country music. But CMT, much like its mother station MTV, has gotten away from focusing on the very reason for its existence - the M's of their acronyms. Bad for MTV, good for CMT.

So suddenly, CMT is a tolerable stop on the dial, but only on the rare occasion that Discovery has nothing to offer (or because you decided against watching Bear Grylls in the Sahara desert for the fourth time . . . even if he does wear a pee-soaked t-shirt turban and eat feces in that episode). CMT is now airing shows that are remakes of existing shows on MTV, done with a brazen splash of redneck. The equivalent to MTV's Pimp My Ride, for example, is called Trick My Truck.

Now, I will be the first to tell you I do not normally enjoy redneck humor. But before I could even let my prejudices resist it, I laughed out loud no less than fifteen times upon discovering Country Fried Home Videos for the first time. The host, Bill Engvall is apparently one of the leading men of the Blue Collar Comedy group. Engvall is a crasser, funnier version of Bob Saget (and Tom Bergeron). His narration of stupidity is sharp-witted and well-delivered.

Bob Saget lacked that edge - that willingness to frankly say, "Look at the freaking idiots go!" Now that I have found Engvall and CHFV, I suddenly realize what was so profoundly lacking in Saget's America's Funniest Home Videos, aside from a large percentage of crazy rednecks: Instead of telling it like it was, he played it cute. I still want to punch him to this very day.

*

In a segment called "Bite Club," for example, a kid gets his head stuck in a metal mascot statue, and the authorities have to cut off the mascot's tooth in order to free the kid. Engvall tells the kid to "Put that under your pillow. Maybe the tooth-fairy will bring you the $10,000 it will cost to replace it."

And then he picks on him for crying.

In the same bit, when a very large man gets his head clamped hard by the jaws of an alligator, Engvall enthusiastically delivers, "Kenny tastes like chicken!" Prior to this clip airing, I had never once laughed at someone making a "tastes like chicken" joke. But this made my nostrils flare a little.

Another charming segment found in every episode I have thus far seen is "World's Strongest Redneck," where a man named Steve McGranahan performs absurdly difficult feats of strength. He crushes full apples with his single hand, puts them into a jar, and calls it applesauce. He rips a deck of cards wrapped in masking tape, pushes semis, and picks up an intact collection of encyclopedias from the ground, his hands like bookends.

The prize for each episode's best video is called the "Here's Your Sign" award, which is a reference to Engvall's stand-up routine of the same name. And $1,000 cash. Not bad.

*

So if you are ever flipping (which I believe to signify a lack of passion for the show being flipped from anyway) and find yourself bursting into laughter as you come across real videos of genuine stupid in action, submitted by the stupids on the video themselves, then you've stopped on Country Fried Home Videos.

"Where," according to Engvall, "if taxidermy is the biggest word you know, you're in the right place."




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Posted on February 15, 2008


MUSIC - December In Chicago Drill.
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POLITICS - Another SRO Crisis.
SPORTS - TrackNotes: Mom.

BOOKS - How Stereo Was Sold To A Skeptical Public.

PEOPLE PLACES & THINGS - Chicago Footwork King's Bail Battle.


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