At The Drive-In - An Interview with Joe Bob Briggs
Joe Bob Briggs would not be denied his audience and went on to star in his one-man comedy show. The success of that show landed him a gig as the host of The Movie Channel's Joe Bob's Drive-In Theater, which became the network's highest-rated show and ran for nearly ten years. He also hosted TNT's MonsterVision for four years and appeared, as a commentator, for two seasons on Comedy Central's The Daily Show. You may even recognize him, as an actor, in such movies as Casino, Face/Off, and Stephen King's: The Stand. Most recently, however, he released a terrific book called Profoundly Disturbing: Shocking Movies that Changed History, which profiles several, well shocking movies that changed history. In it, he writes extensively about movies such as Blood Feast, Deep Throat, Crash, and his personal favorite The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, among many others. What DVD enthusiasts are most interested in are his recent commentary tracks for Elite Entertainment. He's lent his wit and wisdom to the DVD releases of I Spit on Your Grave: Millennium Edition, Jesse James Meet's Frankenstein's Daughter, and most recently The Double-D Avenger. While the films themselves may not be all that spectacular, it is Joe Bob's commentary tracks which make these discs must-have material.
I sat down with Joe Bob to talk about his DVD commentary for The Double-D Avenger, the follow-up to his hit book Profoundly Disturbing , where you might see him on TV in the future, and a whole lot more.
SCOTT LECTER: In the commentaries you've done up to this point, you've stayed away from poking fun at the films and opted for more serious analysis and commentary. Was this your goal in signing with Elite to do these DVD commentaries - to give viewers a new perspective on these films that you clearly feel are overlooked and underappreciated?
JOE BOB BRIGGS: Well, I wouldn't say that I've stayed entirely away from poking fun. I've pointed out the more ridiculous moments in all the films. But the difference between my "hosting" and most cult movie hosts is that I always celebrate the film. I never use it merely as a springboard for jokes. (Not that I don't avail myself of the cheap opportunity whenever I find it.)
SL: Can you give our readers a peek at what to expect from your commentary for The Double-D Avenger?
JBB: The Double-D Avenger is a very strange film. The producer/director wanted to make a sex farce using Russ Meyer stars. The only problem being they were 30 years past their prime. Big problems for the lighting guys!
SL: Any hints as to what titles we might expect to see Joe Bob commentaries on in the future?
JBB: We've talked about doing Curse of the Swamp Creature. The one I'm holding out for is Legend of Boggy Creek. That movie was tailor-made for a Joe Bob Briggs commentary track.
SL: Is the decision on a certain title entirely left up to you (providing that Elite has the rights for the film) or is it more of a group decision between yourself and Elite?
JBB: Elite is a small company that licenses whatever titles are available. I have very little control over what they buy. Mostly they just call up and say, "Do you like this one?" And I say yes or no.
SL: TNT's decision to run less and less true horror and drive-in classic films seemed to spell the demise of MonsterVision - a show that was loved by many a hardcore cult-film addict. Any chance of a Joe Bob Briggs/MonsterVision type show being resurrected for the Horror Channel?
JBB: Yes, a very good chance. There are actually now two horror-themed channels that are both trying to launch, so I think that makes plenty of room for Joe Bob. [Editor's Note:It's official...Joe Bob has hooked up with The Scream Channel, a newly-formed cable network delivering horror, suspense, thriller oriented entertainment. The network was slated to launch sometime in 2005.]
SL: Any news on the politically-minded show you've been working on?
JBB: In Development Hell at Showtime.
SL: Don't get me wrong, I love reading the Joe Bob Briggs take on films, but I have to say that it was great to see a bit more John Bloom in your analysis of the films in your book Profoundly Disturbing: Shocking Movies that Changed History. You delve deep into the films themselves and the influence they had on society upon their release. Would you agree that you've written more of a John Bloom book than a Joe Bob Briggs book?
JBB: I would say that Joe Bob has evolved over the years, and discovered that there's a good reason that the English language is so large. After a certain point, to get across what needs to be said, you need a little larger vocabulary.
SL: Is it true that you're working on a follow-up to Profoundly Disturbing entitled Profoundly Erotic?
JBB: Yes, very true. The working title is Profoundly Erotic because it's a book about how the movies changed our attitudes toward sex.
SL: Could you tell us a little about it? What are some of the films that we might see included in it?
JBB: Nine and a Half Weeks. The Sheik. The Sign of the Cross. Probably She Done Him Wrong. Some aren't totally set in stone yet because I'm only using the most influential ones. Perhaps Carnal Knowledge and Behind the Green Door. Probably Picnic and Peyton Place.
SL: With the success of Profoundly Disturbing , any chance readers will see Joe Bob Goes to the Drive-In and Joe Bob Goes Back to the Drive-In come back into print any time soon? I was lucky enough to snatch up copies before they went the way of the dodo.
JBB: I would say that's pretty much of a long-shot. Fortunately, they're fairly easy to find on Amazon.com and other places that specialize in out-of-print books.
SL: Anything else you'd like to add?
JBB: The drive-in will never die!
SL: Thanks so much for doing this interview, Joe Bob. Best of luck with everything. Please visit Joe Bob's website (www.joebobbriggs.com) to find out more about the man himself and read more of his writing. Also be sure to check out our review of Joe Bob Briggs Presents: The Double-D Avenger.