Red State Update's political satire comes from the minds of two comedians, Jonathan Shockley and Travis Harmon. They've gained a fanbase and YouTube homepage fame over the past year as the 2008 presidential campaign has heated up. Basically, their videos are comprised of the two of them, one an old-fogey, bearded fellow Jackie Broyles, and the other, a younger but no less brash and slightly more comprehensive redneck Dunlap with a sly knowledge of pop culture.
I've seen a couple of their updates, and I have to say it's not horrible. There's a genuine charm and a sort of swagger that they carry with just enough wit to get them by with the casual viewer.
I don't know if their aim is to make it look as natural or unscripted as possible considering their Budweiser-fueled format, but I think it's what deters them from getting my full attention. The speed at which they run through the subject is not as effective I feel as it could be; if they slowed down and especially focused on creating more contrast between the clearer Dunlap and the fast talking Jackie. The show is at its best when they raise tempers with each other; it escalates and builds towards a slight sense of outrage and provides some of their better quips. While I feel Jackie's character plays it more straight, Dunlap is given some real opportunity to ham it up; his earnest delivery makes for some funny dumbfounded facial expressions.
The show isn't exactly "sensitive", which is refreshing but also lacks the timing and depth of something like the Colbert Report. Granted, it's from a decidedly different "red state" culture, but I wonder if it really is funnier than say, Jeff Foxworthy, or Larry the Cable Guy, both of whom I don't particularly like. It's certainly not as funny as Ron White, who is the only talent among the whole Blue Collar Comedy Tour.
It's frustrating, because there is a certain amount of Southern-tinged wisdom that they bring to the table, a sly and plain logic, but then again, their focus and ideas feel rehashed instead of something subversive (such as their clip on gay marriage, see below) which would really make a bit like this interesting.
Red State Update's first comedy album, "How Freedom Sounds", will be coming out on July 22nd on Dualtone Records.
Visit their official website for more information.