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Various Artists

Blue Collar Comedy: The Next Generation – 2008 (Warner Jack)

Reviewed by Ken Burke

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The original Blue Collar Comedy tours made household names out of Jeff Foxworthy, Bill Engvall, Larry the Cable Guy and Ron White. Based on this CD/DVD collection, that probably won't happen for new generation torch bearers Reno Collier, John Caparulo, Jamie Kaler and Juston McKinney.

Original member/emcee Engvall bombs with his opening rectal exam routine, forcing Kaler to warm-up a non-responsive Caesar's Palace audience. The "My Boys" cast member acquits himself well, but in common with his young colleagues, his material is uneven, and he lacks charisma.

However, the new guys enjoy some amusing moments. Kaler sparks fleeting laughs with his bit on history as seen by TV Guide. McKinney sounds like Maine's version of Emo Phillips as he manically describes himself as "white clutter." Collier's description of his own flabby frame, "If I go bald I'm going to look like a thumb," sets up some surreal chuckles. Cartoon-voiced Caparulo, garners the best response with his smiling anti-intellectual rants against Pepsi and his boosting of watching TV over reading.

During Blue Collar's initial run, lesser comics White and Cable Guy had to sharpen their acts considerably to compete with Engvall and Foxworthy. By contrast, the performers presented here show little facility for that type of creative growth.