We’re Tearing the Heart Out of Saturday Night!
February 3, 2011 9:59 PM   Subscribe

"Let's do those drive-in totals. We have: Nineteen dead bodies (plus fragments). Ten breasts (shame on you, TNT censors). Two zombie breasts. One-hundred twenty-five zombies. Mummy dogs. One-half zombie dog. Ten gallons blood. Brain-eating. Gratuitous embalming. Zombie fu. Nekkid punk-rocker fondue. Gratuitous midget zombie. Torso S&M. One motor vehicle chase (totalled by zombies). Pool cue fu. No aardvarking. Heads roll. Brains roll. Arms roll. Hands roll. Joe Bob says, Check It Out." Only on MonsterVision.

On Saturday nights from 1993 to 2000, the TNT network aired MonsterVision, a "drive-in movie" double feature of some of the best (and often the worst) cult and B-movies ever made. Originally guest-hosted by Penn and Teller, the network soon turned the reins over to actor and professional drive-in movie reviewer Joe Bob Briggs (whom some may remember from the Daily Show’s "God Stuff with John Bloom." Briggs was once President of the Trinity Foundation, a Dallas-based religious watchdog group that investigates fraud perpetrated by religious organisations against the public.)

Briggs had spent the previous eight years hosting "Joe Bob Brigg's Drive-In Theater," a weekly movie show on The Movie Channel (TMC), which showed cult and B-movies rated using Briggs' unique euphemisms and special system of things to watch for in each film (Drive-In Totals) -- developed during his time as a movie reviewer for the Dallas Times Herald. The show was cancelled after a 490-episode run ("Aardvarking," mentioned above, is Briggs' euphemism for sex.) In grand late-night horror host tradition, Briggs incorporated those elements into his new TNT show: MonsterVision. However, TNT (unlike TMC -- a pay cable channel) censored all the movies they showed, as well as Briggs’ monologues, for television broadcast.
And, like “Mystery Science Theatre 3000″ it wasn’t the movies that drew you in but Briggs’ segments, where he’d use his educated, yet at the same time peckerwood humor to ease down the visual crap you were swallowing en mass.

Joe Bob’s Website has hundreds of drive-in movie reviews, from Killer Shrews to Head Cheerleader, Dead Cheerleader, to Piranha 3D and Eight Legs to Love You.

"In other words, absolutely no plot to get in the way of the story. My kinda movie."

The Youtube playlists linked above include the following full-length Monstervision movies:

* The Fog / Transcript
* The Funhouse / Transcript
* Ice Cream Man
* It's Alive
* It Lives Again
* Jaws 2
* Maximum Overdrive / Transcript
* The People Who Live Under the Stairs
* Poltergeist / Transcript
* Project Metalbeast / Transcript
* Return of the Living Dead / Transcript
* The Stepfather / Transcript
* Swamp Thing / Transcript
* They Live! (With guest “Rowdy” Roddy Piper)

All available MonsterVision show transcripts (Only 95 are listed.)

Also: Pet Shop, in 13 parts: ("This movie is so lame I’m not even gonna embarrass the writers by saying their names on tv: Brent V. Friedman and Mark Goldstein.")
1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13.

MonsterVision Intros
* Original
* A Christmas Nightmare
* Godzilla New Year’s Eve Marathon
* Interstitial Montage
* MoonsterVision
* Small Titles, Big Screams
* and... the MonsterVision theme song. (So bad, it's good.)

* The Joe Bob Briggs FAQ (Q. What the heck is all this "Fu" stuff? A: The original "kung fu" resulted in the all-purpose suffix, "Fu," meaning "an act of senseless or random violence, usually inflicted on the viewer.")
* Onion A/V Club Interview
* A list of movies containing commentary tracks by Joe Bob. (Youtube has a clip from Samurai Cop with his commentary.)
* Joe Bob on Twitter
* Wikipedia
* YouTube user hootyhaha has uploaded a number of Joe Bob’s commercial break segments.

Also of possible interest: Reason Magazine article by Joe Bob: Kroger Babb’s Roadshow: "How a long-running movie walked the thin line between exploitation and education." It's a lengthy review of a movie from the 50’s: Mom and Dad. (Wikipedia: Kroger Babb)
posted by zarq (31 comments total) 71 users marked this as a favorite
I'm extremely grateful to miss-lapin for locating some of the best content in this post. Thank you!
posted by zarq at 10:01 PM on February 3, 2011 [1 favorite]

I used to read Joe-Bob's reviews in the paper in San Francisco! That guy cracked me up. I was wondering what became of him! Thanks!
posted by Katjusa Roquette at 10:05 PM on February 3, 2011 [2 favorites]

You're welcome! I had a blast putting this post together. :)
posted by zarq at 10:14 PM on February 3, 2011

wow. that is an impressive amount of work you put in to this. I will peruse it @ length, when I have several days to kill! One of the best organized and researched posts I have seen. I also used to read JB in Chronicle, was quite entertaining. Thanks for your quality work.
posted by jcworth at 10:18 PM on February 3, 2011

I love that Briggs seems like some kind of Larry the Cable Guy fake rube persona developed by comedian, but no, he's actually that guy, and he's an order of magnitude more knowledgeable about movies than anyone you've ever met.

I've got a couple of his books (some material of which I suspect is duplicated here) and I heartily recommend them.

Fantastic post, Zarq.
posted by Amanojaku at 10:20 PM on February 3, 2011 [1 favorite]

Right, okay, technically it is a persona (missed that bit...) but the rest still stands.
posted by Amanojaku at 10:24 PM on February 3, 2011 [1 favorite]

See also The Wittenburg Door, a Christian satire magazine and the basis of Joe Bob's God Stuff.

I love me some Joe Bob. The fact that he spends some of his time raking televangelists over the coals just warms my heart even more.
posted by That's Numberwang! at 10:26 PM on February 3, 2011 [2 favorites]

Note: Help maintain a healthy, respectful discussion by focusing comments on zombies
issues, topics, and facts at hand—not at zombie members of the site.
posted by clavdivs at 10:28 PM on February 3, 2011 [4 favorites]

Having thought Joe Bob was forgotten, I loved this post on my second thought.
I felt old first.
Then I remembered a recipe.
posted by Mblue at 10:34 PM on February 3, 2011 [1 favorite]

this is a fantastic post!
posted by nadawi at 10:35 PM on February 3, 2011

egads, that is a collection zarq, precison work, a jewel. The Fog has special teenage memories, oh yeah, when VCRs were sexy.
posted by clavdivs at 10:35 PM on February 3, 2011 [1 favorite]

I had no idea Briggs worked with the Trinity Foundation. Now I like the guy even more! Great post!
posted by BitterOldPunk at 10:42 PM on February 3, 2011

Awesome! Love Joe Bob. Four Stars, Zarq!

I actually wrote to Joe Bob once, and received a personal reply which I have framed now.
posted by fartknocker at 11:49 PM on February 3, 2011

Joe Bob is funny and all but John Bloom was even better. I remember when the 'We are the weird' column came out. Granted, it was in poor taste but jeebus it was funny. Of course, I was in high school and had had more than my fill of 'We are the world' at that point. I'm glad he was able to negotiate that tempest in a teapot and pull a full career out of it.
posted by jdfan at 1:44 AM on February 4, 2011 [1 favorite]

I love that Briggs seems like some kind of Larry the Cable Guy fake rube persona developed by comedian, but no, he's actually that guy, and he's order of magnitude more knowledgeable about movies than anyone you've ever met.

OK, remember when I was talking about Texas, and the lefty rednecks and weirdos that reside there, and all kinds of people didn't believe me? Joe Bob is the sort of guy I was referring to. The person people write off because of his accent or origin ...who is actually the smartest, funniest, weirdest person you know.

The Texas freak is like a plant in the desert. The climate is hostile, so in order to thrive one has to be tough, grow thorns, take nourishment from what meager sources are available, and generally be a badass.
posted by louche mustachio at 2:09 AM on February 4, 2011 [10 favorites]

Fun fact: I thought Joe Bob Briggs and Billy Bob Thorton were the same person for like... ten years.
posted by neushoorn at 2:35 AM on February 4, 2011 [1 favorite]

There goes my weekend! Wheeee!!
posted by ninazer0 at 2:55 AM on February 4, 2011

Joe Bob Briggs has quite a way with words. He once referred to the bust of a particular actress as being like two puppies fighting in her shirt. 'Shirt puppies' has stuck with me ever since as a titular euphemism. I read his column printed in the San Francisco Chronicle for years before I saw him on TV and the actual was not at all like the picture I had in my mind (whereas, Molly Ivins was pretty much dead on) - I expected more hillbilly good old boy and less skinny cowboy geek. Live and learn.
posted by plinth at 3:16 AM on February 4, 2011 [2 favorites]

Yes! I too read his column in the Chronicle (and loved that it was so out of sync with everything else in the paper). Never did know what aardvarking was; thanks, zarq!

or should I say... AARDZARQ? mindblown, obviously
posted by kittyprecious at 4:03 AM on February 4, 2011 [1 favorite]

I very much enjoed his book, Iron Joe Bob.
posted by Kirth Gerson at 4:25 AM on February 4, 2011

Also, he's the hapless employee in Casino who gets chewed out by Robert DeNiro. Quite a career.
posted by Rangeboy at 4:43 AM on February 4, 2011

I used to go to one of the last drive-ins in Colorado years ago, and whenever I could get a bunch of other people to go with me, we would always recite Joe Bob's drive-in oath:
We are drive-in mutants.
We are not like other people.
We are sick.
We are disgusting.
We believe in blood and breasts and in beasts.
If life had a vomit meter, we'd be off the scale.
As long as one drive-in remains on the planet Earth, we will party like jungle animals.
We will boogie 'til we puke.
The drive-in will never die.
posted by Mr. Bad Example at 6:24 AM on February 4, 2011 [2 favorites]

James Rolfe's tribute to being a kid when Monstervision was on.

His experience was almost precisely my own.
posted by Pope Guilty at 6:36 AM on February 4, 2011 [1 favorite]

I used to stay up late and watch his show. Being fourteen years old and having access to Show Time and a VCR was awesome.
posted by spikeleemajortomdickandharryconnickjrmints at 6:38 AM on February 4, 2011

New rule of thumb:

Anyone whose middle name is Wayne = serial killer.

Anyone whose middle name is Bob = really cool.
posted by Naberius at 6:53 AM on February 4, 2011 [2 favorites]

Nthing the Joe Bob love. I've been a fan since the Texas Monthly days, and I don't even care much for that kind of movie. He's a Texas institution.
posted by immlass at 7:57 AM on February 4, 2011

kittyprecious: " or should I say... AARDZARQ? mindblown, obviously"

Ha! That's hilarious. Aardzarqing! :) (Thanks!)

Mr. Bad Example: "we would always recite Joe Bob's drive-in oath: "

Love it. :) I didn't want to put merchandising links in the main body of the post, but he sells t-shirts and other stuff on his site with the oath on them. Plus, "I believe in blood, in breasts and in beasts."
posted by zarq at 8:05 AM on February 4, 2011

I've got one of his books. I love his writing style so much.

The only writer now who reminds me of him is Outlaw Vern, except Vern's a bit more serious.
posted by Lovecraft In Brooklyn at 8:34 AM on February 4, 2011

In addition to his segments making fun of wacky God stuff, Joe Bob also does semi-serious Bible Study:

Joe Bob Harmonizes the Gospels

700 Wives, 300 Girlfriends and No Voicemail: Yes, Solomon Was One Righteous Dude

Joe Bob's Guide to World Evangelism
posted by straight at 8:48 AM on February 4, 2011 [2 favorites]

I saw Basket Case 2 at the midnight movie showing at the Inwood Theater lo, many moons ago... hosted by Joe Bob himself. I rushed at him and made a complete ass fawning over him and his column. I had such a crush on him!

When he signed his column in my copy of the Observer, it read:

"To Unicorn, you are certainly a drive-in kinda gal! Love, Joe Bob"

I swear, to this day I think it's a compliment but it certainly is open to interpretation. That sort of back-handed winking jackassery is the calling card of the type louche moustachio so perfectly described in his comment above... and it's why I still love being a Texan.
posted by Unicorn on the cob at 9:24 AM on February 4, 2011 [3 favorites]

I love that I could recognize what movie was being referenced in the title really quickly, altho granted 'zombie half-dog' is a pretty narrow descriptor. 'Return' is still my favorite of pretty much ALL the classic zombie ouvre, just for pure fun watchability.
posted by FatherDagon at 10:10 AM on February 4, 2011

« Older Everything you always wanted to know about making...   |   White People Rapping Poorly Newer »

This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments