I'm Joe Bob Briggs, and tonight we have "Nightbreed,"
from the King of Gooey Crud on the Screen, Clive Barker. But before you
ogle all the pus monsters in that, you get to watch a guy talk to his
dancing cockroaches in "Joe's Apartment." And speaking of dinner at
MY house, I have a question.
Why is it that, when people invite
you to dinner parties these days, everybody there is the same age?
D-U-L-L. Sometime in the last 30 years we've gotten into this pattern of
only associating with people our own age.
Whatever happened to the
idea of hanging with people you have NOTHING in common with? First of all,
what's the Number 1 thing that's guaranteed to juice up a dinner party? A
first-class ARGUMENT, right? That's why, if you're gonna invite liberals,
you need to ALSO invite conservatives. Preferably ULTRA- conservatives.
And if you're gonna have painters and dancers and actors over, you need to
throw in a few stockbrokers and neurosurgeons. And if the party starts
filling up with single people, you should toss in a few old married
couples. We're stirring up a cauldron here. We're juicing it with spices
that don't go together.
We're giving people SOMETHING TO TALK
ABOUT in the car on the way home.
But instead of that, we've got
major institutions, like churches, that divide people up into "20s Bible
study," "30s Bible study," "married Bible study," "singles Bible study,"
and so you end up with all these look-alike, sound-alike,
went-to-the-same-school, have-the-same-politics, listen-to-the-same-music
Zombie Enclaves. We've got things like the Black Journalists Association,
the Encino Self-Made Plumbers Guild and the Temple of Hairy-Legged Womyn,
with a "Y." We've divided ourselves up into so many little groups that
it's possible to live your whole life without ever coming into contact
with somebody who thinks you're full of bull. I think it's FUN when
somebody thinks I'm full of bull. If it's a woman who thinks I'm full of
bull, I'm likely to fall in love with her. If it's a man, I'm likely to
become friends with him for life. Because there's something about that
friction thing, between two people who know what they think and won't back
off from it one iota, that results in . . . I don't know what to call it .
. . Community? Respect? Lasting connections? Whatever you call it, it's
very American. And it's dying.
Anyhow, it's time for "Joe's
Apartment," the 1996 flick made by MTV about a slob from Iowa who moves
into a tenement building in New York City and manages to make it even more
disgusting than it already is. The good news is that his cockroaches love
him for it, and they do all kinds of barbershop quartets and Busby Berkley
numbers for him, and even help him out with his lovelife. You know what?
It just may be the greatest cockroach musical ever filmed in the East
Let's do the drive-in totals at the next
break. Check it out, and I'll be here to supplement the flick with
a few cockroach facts, among other things.
[fading] Okay, here's
one fact. The word "cockroach" is a corruption of the Spanish word
"cucaracha." Which is familiar to us all, of course, from the Mexican hat
dance. One of the most important cross-cultural contributions to
American-Mexican relations in the history of those two great nations.
La Cucaracha, a bridge between cultures, a symbol of
international understanding... "El Cockroach."
Maybe you didn't recognize
Don without his Highwayan shirt, but this was his film daybut, and he's
pretty dang good, don't you think? And the gal playing Blank, the black
gal who works with the blonde at the 911 place, is Sandra Denton. She's in
the band Salt-n-Pepa. Salt-n-Pepa is that girl rap group that sounds like
it should be two gals, but it's really three gals. Sandra Denton is
"Pepa." The second one is "Salt," and the third one is, of course, "n."
Salt "n" Pepa. The best-lookin one is actually "n." It's a problem
in a crowded room or a bar, though, cause you're trying to get her
attention, you go "n!" "n!" "Hey n!" And everybody just thinks you have
The drive-in totals. We have: One dead
body. No breasts. Three muggings. Five musical cockroach
numbers, four with choreography. Senior-citizen stair-rolling.
Tenement torching. Paint-dousing. Doo-doo collecting. Cat
rodeo. Gratuitous Charlie Rose parody. Gratuitous cross-dressing Man from UNCLE.
And, of course, Cockroach Fu. Three stars. Okay, let's get
back to the movie.
[fading] The story here is pretty much a rip-off
of Batteries Not Included, which we showed here a while back, based on an unused "Amazing Stories" script. I
hated that movie. That movie needed a few cucarachas, take the edge off
that Spielberg glow. And a performance arteest named Walter Smut.
Am I the only who noticed that everyone's mouth is doin something
completely different whenever they say "Smut"? It's like they're
playin a rumba, but everyone's doin the twist. Wonder what they could be
saying? It's weird."
"Joe's Apartment" Commercial Break #2
"I love this movie,
especially the cat on-the-face scene and the roach that does standup to
save his life from the cat.
Okay, as you can see here, there are
four basic species of household cockroaches. The first one is the American
cockroach, or Periplaneta americana. "Peri" as in "like a pear," and
"Planeta" as in "small plan." And then, of course, "americana," as in
shirts made out of the stars and stripes, Statue of Liberty piggy banks,
stuff like that. I prefer to call em American cockroaches. They're the
most primitive living insects--practically unchanged for over 320 million
years. Kinda like the Briggses. Slow to evolve, but dang hard to kill. You
can cut their heads off and they live for another week. They only die
because, with no mouth, they can't drink, and they die of thirst. I'm
talking about the cockroaches, of course.
The Briggses just pour
the Old Milwaukees straight down their gullets, no mouth required. Okay,
more later. Back to the flick.
[fading] Hey, anybody recognize
professional rassler Bam Bam Bigelow back there? Guy in a hard hat, yellin
"Yer fired!" I partied one night with Bam Bam Bigelow. It's something
you'll probly only choose to do ONCE in your life. You know those
head-butts he does in the ring? He does those in LIFE. He has no forehead
left. It's just scar tissue. When they hired him for this movie, he
thought it was a stage version of "Romeo and Juliet," with him as Romeo.
They said, "Bam Bam, it's a new contemporary version. You're first line is
'Yer fired!' Okay?" And then he bashed his head seven times on a concrete
pillar and did the scene."
"Joe's Apartment" Commercial Break #3
"D'you notice the guy
walkin the Weimereimer, who Joe steals the dog doo from? That was William
Wegman--big time photographer. Famous for takin pictures of his dogs and
selling em in galleries for a thousand bucks a pop.
In fact, that
dog is more famous than half the people in this movie. That was Fay
Ray--she's on artsy-fartsy greeting cards all over the place. She might
even be more famous than the star of this flick, Jerry O'Connell. Jerry
played the fat kid in Stand By Me. For a long time, that was his only
claim to fame, but then he played the quarterback in Jerry McGuire, and
Neve Campbell's boyfriend in Scream 2, and now everybody talks about how
the fat kid from "Stand By Me" turned into a stud, and it's almost like
the perfect publicity stunt. It's kinda the same principle as those guys
who write Christian books. "I used mind-altering drugs for 23 years and
slept with every hooker in Reno and stole a hundred thousand bucks from my
best friend's business account, but now . . . I found God! Hallelujah!"
And they sell MILLIONS of these books. Whereas, some guy who just
prayed a lot and had a big family and gave all his money to the
church--let's see HIM try to write a Christian book. Anyhow, Jerry
O'Connell DID put live cockroaches in his mouth for that scene where he
takes the bite of cereal, and his girlfriend wouldn't kiss him for a
At least that's what they say. I WANNA believe it, but it
smells oddly of publicity again, you know what I'm sayin? But I won't
dwell on it. Back to "Joe's Apartment."
[fading] The species of
cockroach known as Supella supellectilium can hold their breath for up to
forty minutes. "Supella supellectilium," meaning "roach with a
"Joe's Apartment" Commercial Break #4
"That was the band
Boss Hog playin at the club back there. Named after my ex-mother-in-law.
And if you blinked, you missed Paul Bartel. That MIGHT'VE been Moby as the
d.j., but I don't watch enough MTV to know. I'll tell you what I DO watch,
and that's the TNT Mail Girl whenever she makes her entrance, [enters] and
that time is now, because it's time for "Joe Bob's Jail Break," where we
read the letters from the nice boys in America's fine prisons. I guess
this is sort of a prison movie.
MAIL GIRL: How do you
figure? JB: They're trying to tear down Joe's apartment to make way
for a prison. MAIL GIRL: I think a prison would be an improvement
over that place. JB: That's every girl's nightmare, isn't it? Being
on a date and finding out the guy's a big slob.
MAIL GIRL: It's not
a nightmare, it's a reality. JB: What are you talkin about? Not all
guys are like that. MAIL GIRL: When was the last time you cleaned
up this kitchen? JB: I cleaned it yesterday. I also cleaned my
room--you wanna see that? MAIL GIRL: That's a scary proposition.
I'd ALMOST take you up on it, just out of a sick curiosity.
yeah? Cause I got a new pulsating black-light. Not the ones with the
Playboy bunny profile on the side. Those are cheap. It's an expensive
MAIL GIRL: O-kay, I changed my mind. How bout a letter? This
is from Jack R. Dewey at Spring Creek Correctional Facility in Seward,
JB: "Hey Joe Bob & Rusty the Mail Lady, "Some of
your movies are lame. True, okay. But some are really cool. But the same
damn movie is played on Saturday afternoon! And Friday afternoons! Come
on, Joe Bob, I really do dig your show a lot. But let's get it together,
okay?" Like I CHOOSE to be the 18th show on TNT to get "Back to the
Future" every time. "Yes, I am in prison and you can use my name. I
am 42 years old, 5'9" tall, brown-green eyes and 200 pounds." I hope
that's for YOUR benefit, Rusty.
MAIL GIRL: Hi, Bull. JB:
Who's Bull? MAIL GIRL: That's his nickname. JB: All right, I
don't wanna know.
"I'm also from Texas, Joe Bob. Say...before you
put me down for being in prison, let me tell you why. I found my ex-wife
in our bed with another man. She was buying this [forbidden TNT word,
forbidden TNT word] with my money, and a 'vette with my money. So I beat
the holy [blah blah blah] out of both of them. So, buddy, here I am in
prison for it.
"Joe Bob, I've been seeing you on TV for over ten
years now. You're doing good, ol' son. "There are not many Texans
here in this prison in ALASKA. I'm from Freeport, Texas, down below
Houston. I have not been back in 22 years now. I only have 19 months left
to go here. Joe Bob, I'm not some fan-nut, but I AM a big fan.
Bob and Rusty, if you ever need a body guard--which is one of the jobs I
do on the outside--let me know, okay? I also put in four and a half years
in the U.S. Marine Corps in Cambodia. "Well, ol' son, from one
Texan to another, take care and keep up the good work! "Jack (my
nickname's 'Bull') R. Dewey #124653. "Spring Creek Correctional
Facility, Seward, Alaska."
Well, Bull--[to Rusty]--very clever --I
guess you know by now that if you settle things the Texas way, you end up
in prison, don't ya? Stay cool till parole day.
Okay, Spring Creek
Correctional Facility, a maximum security prison in Seward, Alaska, which
is a tourist town, and I hope they've finished the multi-million dollar
sea life center they were buildin, cause we need another whale show, you
know? 560 male inmates with no sex offenders--they transfer those guys'
hineys right outta there. Recreation includes basically all sports except
football--the wardens don't like to encourage contact. They also have
anger management programs, which I hope you're partaking in, Bull. Thanks
for your letter. We love a captive audience. Free your mind and your butt
will follow. [to Mail Girl] So do we have any use for a body guard
around here? MAIL GIRL: Maybe, since the only way I'm going into
your room is if I'm accompanied by one. JB: I'll make sure nothing
happens to you. M-GIRL: Uh huh. JB: We can go in right now.
Go look at my curios. MAIL GIRL: Now I'm not even going WITH the
bodyguard. JB: Don't make me go to "Anger Management
"Joe's Apartment" Commercial Break #5
"She's cute, isn't
she? The gal playin Lily? Megan Ward is her name. She's starred in some
excellent flicks-- "Trancers 2" and "3", Amityville 92. Which is
actually "Amityville FIVE," but never mind that. She was a spokesmodel in
Japan--speaks Japaheeno and everything. Then again, I guess it'd be hard
to be a SPOKESmodel if you didn't speak the language. You'd just be doing
a lotta pointing and bowing.
Anyhow, she also played Ashley Judd
in the TV movie "Naomi & Wynonna: Love Can Build a Bridge." She does
look kinda like Ashley Judd. Those wacky Judds! What a fun family that is!
"Now, Mama, you know that's not true!" How many times has that one
sentence been uttered in that family? Remember when Wynonna issued a press
release to say she was not pregnant? Like we were all IN the motel room!
Okay, let's not dwell on that. Go.
[fading] Let's see, I need a
roach fact here. Have I mentioned the Blattella germanica, meaning "German
bladder after consumption of 40-ounce Lowenbrau"? This roach is identified
by the two dark stripes on its prothoracic region. It's kinda sad, because
once you have prothoracic problems, there's a chance you can turn
impotent. Guys 35 and above, get that prothoracic checked at LEAST once a
year. You don't wanna end up with a wimpy limpy."
"Joe's Apartment" Commercial Break #6
"Here's where the
movie turns all goofy and sentimental, but it's okay cause we're kinda set
up for that from the beginning. "Joe's Apartment" is an interesting story.
It was written and directed by a guy named John Payson, who graduated from
Harvard and started answering phones at MTV, and then worked his way up to
Director of On-Air Creative Development. For those of you unfamiliar with
TV lingo, that means he oversaw the development of interstitial
programming. And for those of you who still don't what the heck I'm
talking about, "MonsterVision" is interstitial programming. "Inter,"
meaning between. "Stitial," meaning "stuff on TV." Hence, "between the
stuff on TV."
Anyhow, John Payson eventually directed a short film called
"Joe's Apartment," which aired in 92, and then in 96 he made the feature
version, which we have here. And I've saved the best for last.
orientalis, meaning "bladder after consuming a 40-ounce Sapporo," is
considered one of the filthiest of household pests. They're dark and
shiny, and they have white blood that just sloshes around their bodies,
since they don't have veins. And they don't do well in cold weather, so
keep those heaters on, okay? All right, it's time for the touching
conclusion to "Joe's Apartment." Go.
[fading] This is actually my
favorite of the four varieties of "las cucarachas." You know why? If you
stomp on it, it gooshes. You end up with so much stuff on the floor people
come in and say "What happened? Spill a vanilla milkshake?" And there's
just something satisfying about HEARING it and SEEING it. It's like
killing a space alien. "Look: cockroach guts. Cool."
"Joe's Apartment" Outro
"And the roaches close with a
rousing gospel number. A great movie. A SWEET movie. Not the kind of thing
you would expect to be made by MTV.
Okay, lemme remind you once
more that next week is the First Annual Joe Bob Briggs Family Christmas
Special, with a reunion of all the Briggses, from all the areas of Texas,
and even as far east as Pickensville, Alabama. We'll also have the Joe Bob
Briggs Tabernacle Choir--which is several of Rusty's friends, so I'm
looking forward to that. All this and the only Christmas movie with a
monster that gets killed in a blender. I'm talking Gremlins, and we'll
follow that with more pets, the cowboy-alien-mafia-comedy Pet Shop.
"Joe's Apartment" is available on video and on DVD
Jerry O'Connell's most recent tv-series was Sliders, now seen on the Sci-Fi Channel.
It is illegal to jay-walk in New York only if you do so diagonally
Which is more likely to attack; a bear rearing up on its hind legs or a rearing cockroach? According to Dr. Joseph Kunkel, biology professor at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, a bear is most likely just standing up to look around. But a cockroach only rears up when it's about to attack. They have a nasty bite and can live for up to a month with their head cut off. If it looses one of its 6 legs, it will put off molting until it grows back. But he does say he's skeptical that they could survive world war 3. Then again, if the bear isn't just looking around, it could tear your arm off. That's the thing about the Great Outdoors