I’ve written a lot about the comedian Paul Day and his character Billy Bob Neck over the years. So in my attempt to consolidate this blog, I’m putting everything I’ve written here.
It’s brilliant comedy. It’s another example of work that is just too good to get a very large audience. But that doesn’t mean you have to lose out.
Billy Bob Neck Makes the Rachel Maddow Show
For three years, Billy Bob Neck has been on YouTube spreading the love and wisdom of Jesus. Before I say any more about him, however, here he is with “The Burn a Koran Song”:
Okay. Billy Bob Neck is a character created by comedian Paul Day. This is the best satire since A Modest Proposal. He has 130 similar videos — always wearing the same clothes — on his “The USA Patriotic Freedom Channel.” They just get funnier. “George W. Bush is the best President since Winston Churhill!”
I discovered him via The Rachel Maddow Show which ran his The Shocking Truth About Rachel Maddow where he proves conclusively that Rachel Maddow is not just a lesbian, but a vampire.
Most people think that Billy Bob Neck is for real. Based upon the comments, I would say about 80%. When I first saw him, I didn’t know for sure and I had to do a bit of research — even watching several of his videos did not nail it for me. In the age of Terry Jones (not the guy from Monty Python) and the Westboro Baptist Church’s “God-Hates-Fags-Dot-Com (Not even Dot-Org!) it is hard to tell. But many people when first presented with A Modest Proposal don’t see the irony. But once you see what Paul Day is doing, it is hilarious. I hope you enjoyed the song!
Billy Bob Neck in Heaven?
My question is: does this mean that Paul Day has decided not to do Billy Bob Neck any more? After three years of doing it, I can imagine that he’s tired of it and I wonder how much more he could do with it.
Comedian Paul Day
I wrote to Paul Day, the comedian who created and sustains Billy Bob Neck. I asked if this most recent video meant the end of Billy Bob. He responded that the character, “Will be back. Actually, if you check his FB page, he’s back already. God sent him back to get GWB a third term as POTUS to finish the war on terror.” So there is no fear that we will have to go on in a world without Billy Bob Neck.
I also asked if there was any non-BBN Paul Day on the internet He directed me to another YouTube channel called Virtually Paul’s. Unfortunately, I am out of town, fighting with a terrible internet connection. I can’t say more than that there is some interesting content. I didn’t see much — perhaps five videos.
Here is the first video that he posted, which I think it is pretty funny:
He also provided the following links that I haven’t spent much time with. After I’m back with a decent internet connection, I may write an article about his work in a general sense. Until then, you can check them out yourself:
- Paul Day’s Blog – He said it is under used, and indeed he has only posted once in the last month. One entry is called In Which Jesus Is Not An Objectivist. It contains an editors note indicating that an audio version will be available soon on The Pod Delusion.
- The Pod Delusion – He said he’s been doing some work on this podcast. I haven’t heard it, but the site describes itself as follows: “The Pod Delusion is a weekly news magazine podcast about interesting things. From politics, to science to culture and philosophy, it’s commentary from a secular, rationalist, skeptical, somewhat lefty-liberal, sort of perspective. A bit like From Our Own Correspondent but with more jokes.”
- Paul Day’s Facebook Page – I haven’t check this out, because (as regular readers know) I am afraid of Facebook.
Paul seems to have been fascinated by Larry Sinclair a couple years back. Sinclair is this guy who claimed to have some encounter in a limo with then State Senator Obama. This supposed encounter involved drugs and sex — of course. Sinclair has no credibility, even with people like Rush Limbaugh who have notably low standards for truth. Thus there are at least two videos over at Virtually Paul’s and a whole website dedicated to him: Free Larry Sinclair!!! It has obvious similarities to Billy Bob Neck.
He also sent me direct links to two very good articles about the technical side of doing Billy Bob Neck. The first is In Which I’m Taking A Request. In it, he answers two questions: does he feel bad when people don’t understand the act and how he keeps from laughing. The second is In Which I Muse On Why They Get It Wrong. This was written back in early 2007, so it is BBBN (Before Billy Bob Neck). He discusses the blog Shelley The Republican, defending it against the attack that they are, “Satirizing homophobic, racist creationists by being homophobic, racist creationists.” Both articles are well worth reading if you are interested in the inner workings of Billy Bob Neck.
Paul Day is a very funny, insightful, and passionate man. I could have guessed that, given the depth of his characterization of Billy Bob Neck. But it really comes through in his writing. He was also very nice to answer all my questions. I’m sure this will not be the last time I write about him or his fascinating character.
God Sent Billy Bob Neck Back
What can I say? God works in mysterious ways:
 I posted a comment on the video asking if it was really necessary for this video to be almost 15 minutes long. I did watch the whole damned thing waiting to see if anything would happen. It certainly wasn’t necessary to make this video more than 5 minutes long, except as a sick joke. And given that Billy Bob Neck is a sick joke, maybe that’s okay.
 The Frankly Curious editorial board just decided that we will no longer capitalize the word “internet” — unless it comes at the beginning of a sentence.
More Than Ever We Need Billy Bob Neck
After 190 videos spanning more than five years, Billy Bob Neck is no more. Earlier this month, Paul Day — the man behind this inspired creation — posted the a video (now deleted) claiming that the beloved character had killed himself.
Many people, myself included, thought this was just a ruse. You see, Billy Bob Neck went away before: he was raptured. But then God sent him back to earth to help George W. Bush win a third term. This time is more serious, because Billy Bob took his own life.
There were no real signs that Neck was headed for a fall. Sure, he had just released his soul-rap Songs to Stop People From Bein’ Gay. But who would have thought that a man like Billy Bob Neck would following in the footsteps of an evil sodomite like Nick Drake?
If I had to guess, I would say that Day just got tired of doing the videos. He has received roughly a million total views, but his videos have not been as watched recently as they used to be. This is not because the quality has declined. If anything, it is quite the opposite. I think there are a couple of reasons for the decline in viewership. The most obvious is that Bush is no longer in office. In fact, I fear that for many people, watching a Billy Bob video may result in bad flashbacks of that period.
But what I really think doomed the Neck videos to a smaller audience than they deserved is a combination of “satire is dead” and “Day is too good.” Billy Bob Neck is an uncompromising creation. The videos always amused me, but they also angered me. Day created a character who is an uncomfortably accurate portrayal of a shockingly large part of our country.
We need Billy Bob Neck. I asked Paul Day what he was planning to do next. He wrote back, “I’ve got no idea what I’ll do. I’m sure something will come up. I’m just going to enjoy being a civilian.” I like that last sentence because it indicates that doing Billy Bob Neck was something more than comedy — something more like a war.
I have two ideas for what Day can do next — both involving Billy Bob Neck. One seems obvious, since Neck killed himself: Billy Bob in hell. I’m not sure how the other would be done, but it amused me to think about: zombie Billy Bob Neck.
Come back to us, Billy Bob.
Billy Bob Back from the Dead
As some of you may know, Billy Bob Neck is inexplicably back. He is the intolerant Christian literalist character created by comedian Paul Day. After almost 200 videos, Day killed off the character. This wasn’t too surprising; previously Day had “raptured” Billy Bob Neck. But soon he was back — God having sent him back to earth to get George W. Bush a third term. But after a while, it was clear that Day was serious; Billy Bob Neck was no more.
Then a few weeks ago, Billy Bob Neck came back as if nothing had happened:
Now he’s churning out videos at a faster pace than ever. I tried posting a comment on one of the videos asking Paul what had happened. Billy Bob responded, “Who you talkin’ to, boy?” So I sent Paul a letter directly.
Paul Day Responds
He responded at some length:
What actually happened is
1. Thanks to Todd Akin, I finally wrote the rape song I’d been trying to write for a very long time. I’d made several attempts but they were either not funny, too blatant or just too off-putting. I’d considered putting it up on Rape Babies for Romney but it was just too BBN not to do it as him.
2. When I first ducked out, I didn’t miss him at all. I didn’t have to pay attention to wingnuts and felt much more relaxed. Thanks to Todd Akin, that started changing.
3. As I said, one of the reasons I stopped is that it wasn’t fun any more. I started having expectations that he might start getting wider recognition. That was a major mistake… When thinking about bringing him back, I had to do a lot of soul searching and give up on the notion that BBN can ever rise above sub-minor cult status. It’s not that I don’t think it’s smart enough or funny enough because my ego says it is.
The crux of the matter is that I have to want to do it solely for myself. I have to ignore the view count on the videos. I have to see the few bucks that come into PayPal as gravy, not as measure of success…
And I got to that point. So BBN came back, humbled and somewhat re-invigorated.
I think that Paul Day is a bit too gloomy about the Billy Bob Neck project. It exists in the netherworld where people don’t know whether to laugh or scream. It is a brilliant creation and we are all better off for it.
The official line from Billy Bob Neck may be that there was no suicide. And sure enough, the suicide video is now private. However, if you look at this screen capture of my More Than Ever We Need Billy Bob Neck article, you can see the residual of it: “He Will Be Missed.” I think it would be best to say that some liberal butt sex fans hacked into Billy Bob’s account to spread malicious lies. Because the evidence exists!
Update (24 October 2012 8:50 am)
Billy Bob Neck has received a total of just under a million views. That’s a hit for videos that don’t involve cats.
God Is the Real Victim
Billy Bob Neck sings, “Hey, little Tommy: if you believed in God you wouldn’t be dead.” This is satire of highest form, but I think even Paul Day (the actor) knows he is really pushing against people’s revulsion tolerance on this one. To make it clearer, he throws in a clip of Bryan Fischer saying, “I think God would say to us, ‘I’ll be glad to protect your children, but first you have to invite me back into your world first. I’m not going to go where I’m not wanted. I am a gentleman.'”
With comments like that, you can see why Paul Day has had such a hard time getting traction for the Billy Bob Neck character. How do satirize people who claim that God is too much of a gentleman to stop the murder of 20 little kids? On You Tube, there is a lot of push back on the video. It’s kind of sad. Liberals have learned that it is just a political tactic when conservatives say it is too soon to talk about gun laws. But a number of them are saying that it is too soon to satirize the likes of Fischer and Huckabee who claim that the real problem is that we don’t have school prayer. Amazing.
We all use the tools we have, and Paul Day’s tools are humor and satire. Watch him do his thang: