Joe Bob Briggs

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Joe Bob Briggs
Born John Irving Bloom
(1953-01-27) January 27, 1953 (age 61)
Dallas, Texas, U.S.
Occupation Film critic, writer, actor
Nationality American
Education Vanderbilt University
Subjects film reviews

www.joebobbriggs.com

John Irving Bloom (born January 27, 1953), who uses the pseudonym Joe Bob Briggs, is a syndicated American film critic, writer and comic performer.

Early years[edit]

Bloom was born in Dallas, Texas, the son of Thelma Louise (née Berry) and Rudolph Lewis Bloom.[1] He was raised in Little Rock, Arkansas, and attended Vanderbilt University on a sports-writing scholarship. He began his writing career at Texas Monthly and Dallas Times Herald. While a movie reviewer at the Herald, he created the humorous persona of "Joe Bob Briggs" to review exploitation films and other genre films.

Persona[edit]

Briggs's acting persona is that of an unapologetic redneck Texan with an avowed love of the drive-in theatre. He specializes in humorous but appreciative reviews of b-movies and cult films, which he calls drive-in movies (as distinguished from "indoor bullstuff"). In addition to his usual parody of urbane, high-brow movie criticism, his columns characteristically include colorful tales of woman-troubles and high-spirited brushes with the law, tales which inevitably conclude with his rush to catch a movie at a local drive-in, usually with female companionship. The reviews typically end with a brief rating of the "high points" of the movie in question, including the types of action (represented by nouns naming objects used in fight scenes suffixed with -fu), the number of bodies, number of female breasts bared, the notional number of pints of blood spilled, and for appropriately untoward movies a "vomit meter". A typical such concluding paragraph would be, "No dead bodies. One hundred seventeen breasts. Multiple aardvarking. Lap dancing. Cage dancing. Convenience-store dancing. Blindfold aardvarking. Blind-MAN aardvarking. Lesbo Fu. Pool cue-fu. Drive-In Academy Award nominations for Tane McClure. Joe Bob says check it out." ("Aardvarking" is one of many euphemisms Briggs employs in reference to sexual intercourse.[2][3])

Originally, Brigg's film reviews were limited to pictures shown at local drive-ins. Later, after a tongue-in-cheek 'battle' with his own convictions, he also began reviewing films released on VHS and DVD.

Reaction to redevelopment of 42nd Street[edit]

During the early 1980s when the City of New York was in the planning stages of renovating and restoring its run-down 42nd Street district, which included closing many grindhouses showing B-movies on double and triple bills around the clock, Joe Bob expressed great opposition. He encouraged a "Postcard Fu" campaign, i.e., encouraging film fans to write to officials and pressure them into saving "the one place in New York City you could see a decent drive-in movie." He felt that 42nd Street movie houses rightfully belonged to all Americans and should be preserved as places where "Charles Bronson can be seen thirty feet high, as God intended".[4]

One man show[edit]

An Evening with Joe Bob Briggs, Joe Bob's one-man show, debuted in Cleveland in July 1985. Later re-titled Joe Bob Dead in Concert, it evolved into a theatrical piece involving story- telling, comedy and music that was performed in more than fifty venues over the next two years, including Caroline's in New York, convention centers, theaters, music clubs, comedy clubs, and regular engagements at Wolfgang's and the Great American Music Hall in San Francisco.

Television[edit]

In 1986, as a result of the stage show, Joe Bob was asked to be a guest host on Drive-In Theater, a late- night B-movie show on The Movie Channel (TMC), sister network of Showtime. Briggs went over so well that he was eventually signed to a long-term contract. Joe Bob's Drive-In Theater became the network's highest-rated show and ran for almost ten years, and was twice nominated for the industry's Cable ACE Award. He appeared on some 50 talk shows, including The Tonight Show (twice) and Larry King Live. He was also a commentator for a Fox TV news magazine for two seasons.

Joe Bob's Drive-In Theater ended when TMC changed its format in early 1996. He was off the air for only four months before joining the TNT network, where he hosted MonsterVision for four years. That show ended in July 2000, when TNT likewise changed format. In 2011, the most definitive account of the MonsterVision series (including interviews with Briggs and series mailgirl Honey Gregory) appeared on the cult movie website, Mondo Video. In the late '90s he also spent two seasons as a commentator on Comedy Central's The Daily Show (under his given name John Bloom), with a recurring segment called "God stuff" beginning on the 2nd ever episode in 1996. He starred in Frank Henenlotter's documentary Herschell Gordon Lewis – Godfather of Gore.[5]

Writing[edit]

During these TV years, Briggs remained active as a writer, working as a contributing editor to the National Lampoon, freelancing for Rolling Stone, Playboy, the Village Voice, and Interview. He was the regular humor columnist and theater critic at the National Review, and he published five books of satire--Joe Bob Goes to the Drive-In, A Guide to Western Civilization, or My Story, Joe Bob Goes Back to the Drive-In, The Cosmic Wisdom of Joe Bob Briggs, and Iron Joe Bob, his parody of the men's movement. He also wrote and performed in special shows for Fox and Showtime, and collaborated with veteran comedy writer Norman Steinberg on an NBC sitcom that remains unproduced. His two syndicated newspaper columns--"Joe Bob Goes to the Drive-In" and "Joe Bob's America"-- were picked up by the New York Times Syndicate in the '90s, and he continued to write both until putting the columns on hiatus in 1998. For one year he wrote a humorous sex advice column in Penthouse. In November 2000 he started writing the "Drive-In" column again, this time for United Press International, along with a second column, "The Vegas Guy", which chronicles Joe Bob's weekly forays into the casinos of America. In 2003, Briggs delivered Profoundly Disturbing: Shocking Movies That Changed History.

In 1998, Bloom retired from writing newspaper reviews, only to return two years later due to popular demand[6] and continue his column as Joe Bob with UPI. Bloom has also appeared on television as a host of TNT's MonsterVision horror movie marathons, and has an internet website, The Joe Bob Report,[7] with collections of movie reviews and other articles.

Briggs was president of the Trinity Foundation of Dallas, Texas, a non-denominational, non-profit public foundation that serves as a religious watchdog group and publishes The Door, a Christian satire magazine, of which Briggs was a regular columnist and investigative reporter. Some of the efforts of Bloom's religious watchdog reporting and satire were featured (under his given name John Bloom) in God Stuff, a regular segment in the first two seasons of The Daily Show. In addition, some of his writing can be seen in Choice: The Best of Reason, a compilation of the libertarian magazine's work over the past four decades. As of Halloween 2007, Briggs is Head Online Doorkeeper of the Wittenburg Door (the misspelling is deliberate), a magazine of religious satire.

Books[edit]

Joe Bob Briggs' movie reviews are collected in the now out-of-print books Joe Bob Goes to the Drive In and Joe Bob Goes Back to the Drive In. His most recent books, Profoundly Erotic: Sexy Movies that Changed History and Profoundly Disturbing: Shocking Movies that Changed History, contain all-new material. Recently, Briggs has contributed audio commentaries to DVDs released by Media Blasters and Elite Entertainment including Jesse James Meets Frankenstein's Daughter, The Double-D Avenger, Blood Sisters, Warlock Moon, Samurai Cop, I Spit on Your Grave, and several Ray Dennis Steckler films including The Incredibly Strange Creatures Who Stopped Living and Became Mixed-Up Zombies and Blood Shack.

Joe Bob Briggs appeared as himself in the 2008 novel Bad Moon Rising by Jonathan Maberry. Joe Bob is one of several real-world horror celebrities who are in the fictional town of Pine Deep when monsters attack. Other celebrities include Tom Savini, Jim O'Rear, Brinke Stevens, Ken Foree, Stephen Susco, Debbie Rochon, James Gunn and blues man Mem Shannon.[8][9][10][11][12]

Under his given name, John Bloom, he also co-wrote the nonfiction book Evidence of Love: The Candy Montgomery Story (1984). The book recounts the 1980 Wylie, Texas, murder case in which Montgomery killed her ex-lover's wife, Betty Gore, by striking her a total of 41 times with an ax and whose highly publicized trial ended in an unexpected[13][14] "not guilty" verdict. In 1990 the book was made into CBS television movie A Killing in a Small Town starring Barbara Hershey

Controversy[edit]

In 1985, "Briggs" wrote a column about the "We are the world" video, in which he wrote a mocking description of starving African children, and made derogatory comments about the American Negro College Fund. The resulting controversy ended Bloom's position at the Dallas Times Herald, though his syndicated column merely changed distributors.[15][16]

Bibliography[edit]

Filmography[edit]

Film
Year Film Role Notes
1986 The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2 Gonzo Moviegoer Scenes deleted
1989 Great Balls of Fire! Dewey "Daddy-O" Phillips
1994 The Stand Deputy Joe-Bob Brentwood Credited as John Bloom
1995 Casino Don Ward
1997 Face/Off Shock Technician
1999 The Storytellers Scrappy the Janitor
2004 All That You Love Will Be Carried Away Alfie Zimmer
2006 Evil Ever After Marvin Direct-to-DVD release
2007 Ghosts of Goldfield Clancy Direct-to-DVD release
Hogzilla Andy McGraw Direct-to-DVD release
Rapturious Doctor
Wretched Eric
2012 The Sleeper Doctor Briggs "Special Guest"
Television
Year Title Role Notes
1980 Hello, Larry Big Guy 1 episode
1986 Ed Busch Show Self/Guest 2nd. Episode – Recorded Live at the State Fair of Texas in Dallas.
1988 Hooperman 1 episode
1993–1994 Married... with Children Billy Ray Wetnap 2 episodes
1994 The Stand Deputy Joe-Bob Brentwood Miniseries

Footnotes[edit]

External links[edit]