Ever since “The Partridge Family” and “Donny & Marie,” television has provided a venue where comedy and music comes together.
But Donny Osmond couldn’t have foreseen “The Naked Trucker and T-Bones Show,” which stars David Koechner (“Anchorman”) as the boorish T-Bones and Dave Allen (“Freaks and Geeks”) as The Naked Trucker (who looks exactly like you’d expect). The duo, who have performed their comedic songs on “Late Night with Conan O’Brien,” are an odd pair to say the least. Allen makes music from the only thing he wears – a strategically placed guitar while Koechner doesn’t sing much; it’s hard to when your lower lip juts out like Billy Bob Thornton’s in “Sling Blade.”
“Trucker,” like “Chappelle’s Show” and “Blue Collar TV” before it, runs on a loose format of live segments and pre-recorded clips. But it would have been wise to heed another lesson from “Chappelle’s Show,” which succeeded because of its hilarious and controversial sketches on race and culture in America. But “Trucker,” a show based on two rednecks, fails to comment on a demographic so ripe for satire. Instead, the sketches mostly revolve around nonsensical attempts to make “Naked Trucker” a music star.
“Trucker’s” biggest problem is its failure to master the two most basic tenets of television comedy – writing and acting. The jokes simply aren’t funny and the delivery is subpar. Koechner, a career bit player most people remember from small but funny roles in “Anchorman” and “The Office,” is in way over his head in the starring role. All Koechner can seem to do is stammer around like a (more) mentally challenged Champ Kind, and his bawdy antics soon become more irritating than funny. Even Will Ferrell’s guest appearance as a robot-hating hitchhiker can’t light a fire under the ass of “Trucker,” and his few lines are uncharacteristically contrived.
The most disappointing part of the show is the Naked Trucker character. By name alone, you would expect him to be outrageous, but Trucker is controversial in appearance only. Allen talks and moves in a slow manner that reeks of bad comedic timing. The end result is humor that’s derived solely from the fact that he only wears a guitar. This gimmick, coupled with Koechner’s antics, makes “Trucker” a two-joke comedy, where neither of the jokes are particularly funny.
The show’s final, futile stab at comedy is an attempt to make a music video out of one of the duo’s new songs. What results is an amalgamation of bad country and bizarre rapping, with Koechner flapping around like a fish out of water and making vaguely hip-hop-esque gestures. The actual Naked Trucker doesn’t appear in the video, and at the end he’s seen shaking his head, embarrassed at the spectacle he’s just witnessed. This may not even be acting; Allen is probably just as disgusted with this show as any self-respecting person who, after watching “Naked Trucker,” may wonder if it actually qualifies as television.
Naked Trucker and T-Bones
Wednesdays at 10:30 p.m.
Rating: 1 out of 5 stars