The Jester’s Privilege ~ Jeff Foxworthy: The Good Old Days

Source: Netflix (poorly cropped)

You know that feeling when you are ready to hate something so much, you’re almost excited to watch it? Like you’ve prepared yourself for the calamity to unfold on the screen, and when the moment of respite emerges, you’re almost itching to get the hate out of your system? Imagine that, but even to that standard, you are disappointed. That’s where I am with Jeff Foxworthy.

It might come as a shock, based on that intro, but I am not a fan of Blue Collar Comedy or Jeff Foxworthy. With the combination of “catchphrase” comedy, superficial observations, and just being separated by a generational gap in humor, nothing this man has done in his long career has made me laugh out loud. Keep in mind, I grew up in Wisconsin, so I heard redneck jokes in my adolescence probably as often as I saw dead deer tied up in the back of pickup trucks that my high school classmates souped up during auto shop class (yee yee, partner). Simply put, you might be a redneck if you’ve stopped reading at this point.

For those of you still here, I was ready to tear this special a new one from the moment I knew it aired. I saw Netflix feature a soundbite from The Good Old Days that went, “I played many sports [in my youth], and it was weird, because if you wanted a trophy, you had to get first place.” My first reaction was recognizing how dumb that slam to “participation trophies” was (he does know that even the Olympics gives out awards to 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place, right?). Then, the despair hit me like a bolt of lightning: oh no. I have to watch a full hour of this. God help me.

So I did, and like I said, it wasn’t even interesting enough to hate. The whole theme of the show was talking about how different things are now from back in the 70s and 80s, so 63-year-old Foxworthy got onstage and talked about landline phones, encyclopedias, and watching TV upside-down (yeah, I don’t get that one either). It wasn’t in a complaining way some older comedians do that I love to rail on, but more of a “Hey, phones are nifty, aren’t they?” kind of way. It made the bits more enjoyable I suppose, but I still felt robbed. Call me old-fashioned, but baby boomer comedians don’t get under my skin like they used to.

The whole special felt less like an outright comedy special and more like a videotaped monologue to put in a time capsule. The observations seemed to focus on relatability rather than actually being funny, and while his folksy charm and persona was enough to keep the audience engaged live, I caught myself checking timestamps multiple times to see how close I was to the end.

I guess it’s hard to downgrade something you don’t “hate” too much, but this special also did not break the no-laughing streak with Foxworthy. I am clearly not the target audience for this, but I think even people of his generation would agree the special was more nostalgic than humorous. I was ready for a more fun roast-y piece, but I guess sometimes, things just are bad in a boring way.




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Nick McGlynn

Nick McGlynn

He/Him. Approaching the “trying something” era of my life. Twitter/Instagram: nickwritesjokes