John Fox, so famous for decadent living that he has been roasted in song by Pat Godwin and in a blog by no less than Doug Stanhope — himself a patron saint of non-restraint — brought his prodigious beer belly, mustachioed Gary Busey-looking but more crazy self to Crackers Downtown this past weekend to drink and (drink) and tell some jokes. Fox’s act, which plays with amazingly profitable regularity despite its notoriously static quality, appeals to a tight circle of aficionados who absorb his schtick like a greatest hits album. Scores of not so hushed fans echoed some refrain of “hold on, this one is a classic” throughout his 45 minute set.
Fox opened with a series of fart jokes that meshed nicely with the standard set by the night’s feature act, white-boy gangsta comic Jacob Ray. The night clearly had a theme: getting f&$%ed up and farting. Fox’s impersonation of John Wayne starring in Brokeback Mountain was both dead-on and disquieting, as the Duke rolled in his grave (and ended up face down). Fox aims low and hits his target, and this crowd loved it.
After doing stand-up for nearly three decades, including a lengthy stint as an opening act for Rodney Dangerfield, Fox’s delivery is amazingly honed. His material is punctuated by arched eyebrows and knowing glances that cue even the slowest among us to laugh at the punch line.
Like a drunk uncle telling bad jokes at Thanksgiving, Fox isn’t going to re-set the standard for subtlety, but sometimes, despite himself, his crassness is an amusingly guilty break from the bounds of good taste.