Actor, comedian and satirist John Bloom is best known for his alter ego, Joe Bob Briggs, a Texas wiseacre who can been seen hosting Turner Network Television's (TNT) movie line-up every Saturday night since 1993 (initially on Fridays until Joe Bob complained on-air about sports pushing back his first movie to after midnight). Joe Bob's fans run the gamut from Swedish heavy-metal bands (who have dedicated songs to him) to Middle America to Wall Street law firms. He is a favorite of directors Martin Scorsese, who cast him opposite Robert De Niro in Casino, and John Woo, who put him in his action film Face Off, with John Travolta and Nicolas Cage.
As Joe Bob, Bloom has also written more than 250 syndicated radio programs and the one-man show An Evening with Joe Bob, which has played to sold-out houses across the country. He was a full-time contributing correspondent on Fox's Front Page. Bloom writes all of his own material, except for his acting appearances, which have included Married...with Children, the ABC miniseries Stephen King's The Stand and the biopic of Jerry Lee Lewis Great Balls of Fire. You can also find him on Comedy Central's Daily Show doing God Stuff, where he brings viewers the various rants and raves of our modern-day televangelists.
Bloom was born in Dallas; grew up in Little Rock, Arkansas; attended Vanderbilt University in Nashville; and now (1999) lives in New York.
If you don't like "Yellow Rose Of Texas," then
click here for another song Joe Bob left Texas honky-tonks to get away from.
Or here if you prefer the Blade Runner themesong. And there's always the themesong to Dallas
By the way, the info here is from 1999, Joe Bob is no longer on Comedy Central. Don't bother to phone, we're sorry already.
MonsterVision was cancelled shortly after AOL took over Time Warner.
Click here for Joe Bob's secret home phone number
A: I have a correspondence degree in automotive mechanics from Hooks, Texas, Vocational-Tech High School. The rest I learned on the street. Mostly Bourbon Street.
Q: Where did you get your teaching credentials?
A: Her name was Kimberly.
Q: What are going to be the most challenging aspects of the classes?
A: I can't speak for the student body, but the most challenging aspect for me is finding two movies that fit the academic subject I'm lecturing on that night.
Q: What do you hope your students will gain from their courses this Summer?
A: The satisfaction of improving their lives and helping TNT succeed in its annual quest to pull off a cheap publicity stunt.
Note: this page was updated the following year. See below for Joe Bob's Frequently Asked Questions for year 2000
Most of the above Host Biography & Interview transcript
©1999 Turner Network Television. A Time Warner Company. All Rights Reserved.
AOL is coming and Joe Bob can't stop it.
|Weekly World MonsterVision||Week of January 3, 2000|
1. Is Joe Bob Briggs your real name?
Who would make up a name like that? I'm descended from the Scotch-Irish-English-Dutch-German-Portuguese-Icelandic Briggses, which means I'm a pure-dee American because I don't know WHERE the heck I come from.
2. Is that you on Comedy Central as John Bloom or is that your twin brother?
When I started working for TNT, Uncle Ted Turner made me sign a piece of paper saying I wouldn't work for any other cable network. There's a guy on Comedy Central who looks like me. That's all I'm gonna say about it.
3. Is that real beer you are drinking on the MonsterVision set?
I hope you're not implying I would drink Oklahoma 3.2 beer or any other watered-down version of America's national drink. I would die of thirst before quaffing a European micro-brew.
4. Whatever happened to Honey, your previous mailgirl?
Honey broke my heart by running off to Sweden with a guy named Lars or Sven or something. I've got a mental block against remembering his name. They got married and I hope they're very unhappy.
5. Why do you call your show MonsterVision when you often show movies that have no monsters in them like "Back to the Future" and "Prelude to a Kiss"?
You know how hard it is to come up with 104 monster movies a year without repeating yourself? We stretch the definition to include any kind of fantasy or sci-fi flick. In "Prelude to a Kiss," I think it's fairly obvious that Alec Baldwin IS the monster.
6. Are you planning to appear in any upcoming features or television programs? Are you suggesting someone would hire me to reprise my stunning walk-ons in "Married...with Children"? After you've done "Married," everything else just seems so, I don't know, meaningless.
7. What are your top ten favorite horror films?
My top ten list changes all the time, but it would include The Texas Chain Saw Massacre, Hellraiser, Night of the Living Dead, Evil Dead, Suspiria, The Hills Have Eyes, The Omen, and Basket Case.
Of course, the most horrifying film ever made is A Chorus Line.
8. Could you tell the titles of the books you have written, which are still in print and where we can purchase them?
Only one of my books is still in print: Iron Joe Bob. The other books are Joe Bob Goes to the Drive-In, Joe Bob Goes Back to the Drive-In, A Guide to Western Civilization, or My Story, and The Cosmic Wisdom of Joe Bob Briggs. A close personal friend of mine named John Bloom wrote a true crime book called Evidence of Love, co-authored by Jim Atkinson, that became the ABC movie of the week Killing in a Small Town.
9. Is there an official Joe Bob Briggs fan club I can join?
I'm not a fan of fan clubs. Most of them are just set up to rip off the fans by selling em worthless junk. (Hmm, maybe I COULD get into that.) Last time I looked there were three or four different Joe Bob websites, but none of them are official. I let anybody put up anything they want.
10. Do you actually answer every one of the emails and letters you get from your fans or do you have a bunch of Joe Bob flunkies working for you?
Yes, I answer all my own mail. I get asked the same questions over and over again, so I do have two people helping me to sort it into the "we've seen this before" pile and the "here's one only you can answer" pile. During the last two years the volume has become so great that some of my answers have gotten shorter, and maybe a little more predictable, but I'm still trying to do it. What I can't do is be a giant research library on the history of B movies. If I know the answer off the top of my head, I'll tell you, but l never know stuff like "Where can I write to Drew Barrymore?" One thing you can be sure of is that, if you write to me, I'm the first person to see your email. A lot of people express the idea that they're not really writing to me. For the last time: you're writing to me!
I have Joe Bob flunkies working for me, of course. Actually, up until March of 1998, I did personally answer every piece of mail. That's when the pile of unanswered mail started really annoying my future ex-wife, and pieces of it would just suddenly disappear. I still READ every piece of mail, and I still answer a lot of it, but sometimes I tell my flunkie what to say.
11. How do you pick the titles you show on MonsterVision?
TNT has a humongous library of movies, because Uncle Ted bought up so many of em during the eighties. In addition to that, the crack TNT programming department is licensing new ones all the time. And now that we're part of the dysfunctional Time-Warner family, we show a lot of Warner Bros. stuff that is foisted on...er...graciously offered to us.
About twice a year I go through the list of what's available, and then most of the stuff I suggest gets shot down because it's stuff that's already proven to be disastrous for ratings. Then the two crack TNT programmers tell me which titles are more likely to preserve my job for the immediate future.
12. Have you ever met Ted Turner and his wife, Jane Fonda, and do they watch your show on TNT?
Oh yeah, Ted and I go bass fishing almost every weekend.
Actually, I met Ted and Jane at the Emmy Awards dinner a couple years back. Actually, it wasn't the REAL Emmy dinner. It was the bogus one they have the night before and don't show on TV. Ted showed an AMAZING knowledge of late-night movie host history, and said that he believed strongly that every TV station should have a late-night movie host. He had one at the very first station he bought. I don't know whether Ted and Jane watch "MonsterVision," but Ted's been known to call up on Monday mornings after watching the DARNDEST things on the network, so it's not out of the question. It's one of those things we don't really WANT to know, especially when we're showing Barbarella, if you know what I mean and I think you do.
13. Do you really know all of that movie trivia you share before and during the movies you show or does someone else dig up all the research for you?
I have a researcher who helps me with the movie trivia, but most of what I end up talking about comes out of my hopelessly wasted cerebellum, which is the part of the brain used for memorizing the films of Jayne Mansfield, in order.
14. Why does TNT censor and edit some of the movies you show on MonsterVision? Your show comes on late enough so that it shouldn't bother prime time family audiences. Besides, we want to see more blood and guts movies like Friday the 13th.
We've shown many many slasher flicks on "MonsterVision," and in fact we've shown every variety of horror that exists, with the exception of German necrophilia flicks. Certain movies can only be shown in late-night time slots, after children are supposed to be in bed. Since TNT has two satellite feeds, we appear at the same time on the East and West coast. This means that we're not safely out of Kiddie Land until about 2 a.m. ET/PT, and then we STILL might run the risk of hacking off some parents. So it's a tough cookie and the rigid guidelines aren't going to change anytime soon.
15. Do you plan to do any more TNT exclusives like the Super Bowl special?
There's been some talk about a Halloween Special on location at one of the big parades--maybe the one in Greenwich Village--but so far I've been too lazy to work on it.
16. Where is MonsterVision filmed?
"MonsterVision" is beamed out to the world from the most pathetic little soundstage we can find that's within driving distance of my hometown of Grapevine, Texas. This usually means someplace in Dallas, although we've already been kicked out of three studios and we're currently looking for a new one. Our most recent home was Channel 33, the "WB" network affiliate, but they decided to start a big hoo-haw news operation and said they can't be wasting their valuable non-soundproofed soundstage on a loser show like "MonsterVision." We tried to use the place where "Barney" films, in Allen, Texas, but Barney uses it so many days a month that we couldn't get his set out of there in time to put our set up. For a while we did the show from the studio where Ross Perot did his presidential campaign. While Ross was doing those charts, the "MonsterVision" trailer house was sitting about 20 feet to his right. We're currently discussing using the place where Robert Tilton used to do his Dallas TV show "Success In Life"--how IRONIC, right? If we get this place, we're changing the name of "MonsterVision" to "Failure in Life."
Years ago I did a similar show called "Drive-In Theater" that aired on The Movie Channel and was filmed at a soundstage in the Spanish Harlem neighborhood of New York City. This stage was the headquarters of the old Dumont Network, the "fourth network" of the 1950s that eventually went out of business. A lot of live TV was done there, and they used the same stage flats over and over again, painting and re-painting to suit the new show. The result is that the wall behind my living room chair, the same wall that we use today, was originally Ralph Kramden's kitchen wall in "The Honeymooners." It was also used in about 40 other shows before it descended to me.
17. MonsterVision fans would love to see "The Evil Dead" on TNT. When are you going to show it?
The Evil Dead movies are just flat not available. I showed them several times on my old show "Drive-In Theater" on The Movie Channel, but there's a big difference between premium cable (HBO, Showtime, Cinemax, The Movie Channel) and basic cable (TNT). We don't show breasts and we don't show hard-core gore, and I'm sure you wouldn't want us to chop up an American classic like Evil Dead. I'm a huge fan of these movies, by the way. I wrote the very first review of Evil Dead back in 1982 after seeing a pre-release print, and I've followed the career of Sam Raimi ever since. Bruce Campbell was a guest on "Drive-In Theater" and demonstrated several varieties of screams for me.
18. Who must get a lot of hate mail since you make fun of everybody and everything. Are you trying to be offensive?
We're all handicapped. Every last one of us. I'm the original equal-opportunity offender. But I especially like to pick on people with no sense of humor. It's interesting to me that no one will ever ADMIT to having no sense of humor.
19. Are you married or single?
I'm been very happily married several times, and single an equal number of times. I like to mix it up.
20. What is your personal opinion of Ted Turner?
I like Ted because Ted does it his way. There are very few true American individualists in the business world these days, and Ted is one of them.
21. Was that you in the movie, "Face/Off"?
I never admit to taking work on the side, because it makes Ted mad, but that might have been me in Face/Off. I've been a big fan of John Woo for years, from back when he was living in Hong Kong, and when he was casting Face/Off, he asked me to audition for a part. I auditioned for the part of the nasty prison warden, but he said he needed a beefier guy.
But he liked the audition and asked me if I would do a smaller part--the nasty medical technician/torturer. I said yes, of course, I would do anything in a John Woo movie. And I worked three days, and each of those days, John Woo would greet me on the set, bow, and say "I'm sorry it is such a small part." He's a very gentle and polite man who says he feels a great debt to America because he received his education from American missionaries in China.
Other film appearances include: The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, Part 2, Return to Hollywood Boulevard, a/k/a Hollywood Boulevard II, Great Balls of Fire, and Casino.
22. Who do you think is the best horror villain?
I still think the best horror villain ever invented is Leatherface from The Texas Chainsaw Massacre. Every villain of the seventies, eighties and nineties is somehow derived from this one character, as portrayed by Gunnar Hansen. In fact, the most direct ripoff of Leatherface is the character Jame Gumb in the Academy Award-winning film, The Silence of the Lambs, directed by former B-movie auteur Jonathan Demme.
23. Where do you meet all those incredibly sexy mail girl chicks?
We put up thousands of flyers at all the local rodeos, bars, and at the Frederick's of Hollywood outlet near the interstate in my hometown of Grapevine, Texas. Out of the six or seven women the flyers attract, there is a long and laborious process to choose the Mail Girl. We ask her three questions: "Are you single?"; "Can you make coffee?" and "Can you work for minimum wage?" Three "yes" answers means we got ourselves a live one.
Joe Bob's new website is www.JoeBobBriggs.com
You can also sign up there for Joe Bob's weekly email of weird news from around the world. 3-10-04 sample:
"Message of the courts to the license-happy gay-marrying mayors: if you're gonna marry 'em, then you hear the divorce cases. Let's say you get married in San Francisco, but you want a divorce in North Dakota. They're not gonna hear the case there--BUT you have no way to establish residence in California without forcing your estranged partner to move there with you. (In recent years courts have been throwing out divorce cases when people clearly don't live there but are just trying to take advantage of more liberal divorce laws.) What do you do? You stay married. When you fall in love again, you presumably have a choice of becoming a bigamist or living in sin. You'd be better off if you'd lived in sin in the first place. Is anybody following this?"
Write Joe Bob at firstname.lastname@example.org
Note: There are two people named John Bloom, one of whom is also known as Joe Bob Briggs. For a complete list of John Bloom's movies from "The Incredible 2-Headed Transplant" (1971) to Stephen King's "The Stand" goto the Incredible Two Headed page
Joe Bob Briggs tells the Thanksgiving Story
John Bloom's Special Report from New York on September 11, 2001. There are real monsters in the world.
God Bless America, day 21
Strangers on a train, day 66
Terrorists are not cowards, they're the enemy... Annihilate them
Harry Shearer's LeShow broadcast for the week of 9-11-01 (RealAudio, 1 hour) "Nothing will ever be the same"
Joe Bob's musicbox from Tijuana
1998 Dallas newspaper interview with John Bloom/Joe Bob Briggs and MonsterVision's 8-year associate editor (starting on The Movie Channel)