In restrospect 'Hee Haw' is a waking nightmare

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Where oh Where, are you tonight?
Why did you leave me here all alone?
I searched the world over and I thought I found true love.
But you met another and Pffht you were gone.


Hee Haw: The Next Generation.


Say what you will about Hee Haw, it went a long way to dissolving the unfair, cynical assumptions by northerners that southerners were ignorant hicks.

Oh, wait . . .


BR549 is coming back to me now…waking nightmare indeed.


Given how absurd Wonder Showzen already was (and to this day I’m pretty shocked MTV actually aired the series), they definitely outdid themselves when they dedicated an entire episode to the Horse Apples concept.


I tried but failed to find the Horse Apples clip with one of my favorite Wonder Showzen moments:
“Cletus, I done got the Super AIDS!”
“Awwwww, fuck. I mean, Horse Apples.”


I think this is one of those making fun of yourself from the inside things that isn’t ok for outsiders to make fun of because they don’t get it. I grew up partially in central Michigan, and some of Hee Haw is my cousins. It came out of a history of artists like Boxcar Willie and Ray Stevens, and to some extent even people like Andy Griffith. A good example of something similar up north would be Red Green.

A really good example of why you can’t just dismiss Hee Haw if you don’t get the background of it is something like Chappelle’s Show. Lots of white people[0] took his comedy and ran with the worst stereotypes without any context. Sure, some of it is just absurd and funny to a wide audience, and some of it is still ignorant. But don’t remove the context.

Now, if you want to pick on someone for doing what you think Hee Haw was doing, I present you Larry the Cable Guy. He started that gig by calling radio shows specifically doing a bit as a character making fun of “hicks”. Now he’s a multi-million dollar industry. Or the Duck Dynasty assholes. Please repost that picture of them with no beards all wearing khakis.

[0] Embarrassingly, I can probably count myself in this sometimes. I hope I’ve learned.



In retrospect?


Cast member Mackenzie Colt now owns and operates an excellent chocolate company, proving there is life after Hee Haw.


Back then, between my growing up on the very edge of the Chicago metro area (rural before sprawl set in), and having one set of grandparents living in northeast Missouri while the other lived in Chicago’s Beverly neighborhood, I’d say you hit the nail on the head. When visiting in Missouri, “Hee Haw” was a staple on the TV there.

For what it’s worth, I still feel just as much at home in the country as in the city.


That was my initial response also. What took you so long?!? Yikes…

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Nightmare? I beg to differ.

We watched Hee Haw religiously. It’s just Laugh-In with a country theme. Just as cool and relevant for a huge swath of America. Hee Haw was one of the few comedies I could watch with my parents and equally enjoy. I am glad I lived in the middle of the country and recognized the people caricatured as people I knew. And they had hands down the best musical guests. As a reminder, Buck Owens made his home in Bakersfield, California, so if you get out of elitist enclaves of the US, you very quickly find yourself in areas that loved and reflected the Hee Haw ethos.


When I was a child, around 1970, I would be left in the care of my grandmother from time to time. She would take me “visit’n” (visiting). We would drive around West Virginia, western Maryland, western Pennsylvania and parts of Ohio, dropping in on her fiends and relatives. We would walk into these various homes at various times of day and, I swear, if there was a television (and there almost always was), it was on and Hee Haw was on it. Except occasionally early in the morning when the farm report was on. Maybe “Grand Old Opre” on Sunday nights. These places were all in valleys or “halas” (hollows) and they all had cable. These were the only places I had ever seen cable TV. The picture was incredible, compared to the over-the-air channels we got at home. But as far as I could tell, nothing but Hee Haw (I wasn’t allowed to ask to change the channel). Some of these places had no running water and outhouses, but they had cable TV.


I gotta say it, it’s better than Laugh In.


Wow! I’ve eaten and loved Colt’s Bolts many times, and had no idea who she was.


I dunno, Roy Clark is kind of cool.


I think the jokes on Hee Haw weren’t as good. But that may be my upbringing. I also thought it was repetitious, far more so than Laugh In. I was annoyed that Hee Haw went on and on and on for years, while Laugh In got canceled after two or three years.

But I must say, I remember some of the Hee Haw bits more – the “phht, you was gone” and Grandpa’s dinner menus. And some of Roy Clark’s guitar stuff was fabulous – I recall particularly an uptempo piece he played, where he had to detune the guitar to hit a note, then retune it. Amazing!