Naked Trucker & T-Bones
Empty10:30-11 p.m., Wednesday, Jan. 17
Comedy Central, which casts a wide net to find unique comedy talent, ensnared a duo that's a little bit country and a little bit crazy. Dave (Gruber) Allen and Dave Koechner, both accomplished comedians in their own right, teamed up to form "The Naked Trucker & T-Bones." Their live stage show, a blend of comedy and music hailed as "hillbilly art house," is vaguely reminiscent of the Smothers Brothers -- that is, if Tommy and Dick had been rednecks.
Allen, who lent his voice to "King of the Hill" and his body to "Gilmore Girls" and "Freaks and Geeks," is the Trucker, who wears only shoes, socks and a strategically placed guitar. He's the erudite straight man. Koechner, who spent a season on "Saturday Night Live" and appeared with Will Ferrell in "Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy" and "Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby," plays Gerald "T-Bones" Tibbons, the ne'er-do-well know-it-all.
They work well together, especially considering their partnership is a relatively new facet of their careers. But their work as a comedy duo loses some of its edge when it is refined and processed, sliced and diced, and repackaged for half-hour episodes of television.
Each show begins with an introduction before a studio audience. There's also some banter, a musical number and a taped segment with that week's guest hitchhiker. (The first to be picked up is Ferrell, playing an antiestablishment head case; a guy in a bear outfit gets the honor in the second episode.) There are other short bits as well, which leaves little time for that week's story, which actually is less a story than a series of demonstrations of T-Bones behaving badly. Each episode is supposed to hold an adventure from Trucker and T-Bones' travels down America's highways, but the video bits are too random and the stories too closely mimic studio-based skits.
Even so, the series has promise. It is different enough to grow a fan base over its eight-episode run as loyal and enthusiastic as the one that greets the stage shows. What's more, the show has an undeniable spirit of anarchy. T-Bones, in particular, thumbs his nose at anything resembling authority, and the two create a sense that just about anything can happen at any moment. Meanwhile, it's surprising how easy it is to get used to a comedian who literally wears a G string, along with just a few others.
THE NAKED TRUCKER & T-BONES SHOW
A Parallel Entertainment production in association with Sugarshack and 2000 Visible Prods.
Executive producers: Dave (Gruber) Allen, David Koechner, Donick Cary, Norman Hiscock, J.P. Williams
Co-executive producer: Jay Karas
Producer: Jim Ziegler
Consulting producers: James Eagan, Rich Goodman, Peter Grosz, Opus Moreschi, Luvh Rakhe, Chris Reed, Rich Talarico
Director: Linda Mendoza
Production manager: Bill Wright
Directors of photography: Matt Mindlin, Steve Priola, Joel Deutsch
Editors: Bob Landau, Matthew Lenhart, Barnaby Levy
Naked Trucker: Dave (Gruber) Allen
T-Bones: David Koechner