Here Comes The Judge
Mike Judge is a comedy genius. Sometimes it’s easy to take him for granted and forget that he’s given us us gem after gem: movies, TV series, animation, cultural satire, the whole megillah.
And now, he gon’ country, y’all!
Mike Judge has long established himself as a gifted storyteller, from backyard tales of King Of The Hill to the dystopian stupidity of Idiocracy to a bunch of too-smart-for-their own-good developers in Silicon Valley. But as it turns out, Judge is pretty great at telling other people’s stories as well. In his new Cinemax series Mike Judge Presents: Tales From The Tour Bus, he mines storytelling gold from the people who grew up with and performed alongside a number of country music legends, resulting in a wholly engaging series that even non-country fans should love.
The legends that Judge features in his series—the first few episodes alone feature familiar names like Jerry Lee Lewis, George Jones, Tammy Wynette, and Johnny “Take This Job And Shove It” Paycheck—are already larger than life. Interviews with longtime country music staples like the Adams brothers—who played backup for Jones and Paycheck, among others—offer an invaluable and humanizing behind-the-music glimpse of backstage shenanigans and barroom fights.
The animation then helps bring the stories to life in a way straight interviews couldn’t, underlining the tragic hilarity of alcoholic George Jones taking his riding mower to the bar after his wife Wynette threw all of his car keys into the bushes (one of the Adams brothers crows gleefully, “He didn’t even take the blade off!”). Or Jerry Lee Lewis letting off a few rounds from a machine gun to wake up his passed-out partying buddies, resulting in the destruction of a wall of false teeth in the dental office next door.
Nashville, Cashville, Smashville
And the Man himself takes a star turn (well, sorta) in this series. Clearly this was a labor of love on his part, so you know it’s gonna be good.
Judge himself narrates the series, leading off with an animated version of himself on the tour bus, holding an album cover of the artist in question, with a tease toward jail time, shootings, attempted murders, etc. Even if you’re not a country-music follower, Judge’s stories of epic rural grandeur are well worth seeking out—and don’t be surprised if you find yourself a fan by the time the tale is over.
Here’s a cool teaser of what’s up y’all: