Set your TiVos to stun, because Tuesday night is the premiere of CNBC’s West Texas Investors Club starring Mike McConaughey, a.k.a. “Rooster,” a.k.a “Matthew’s older brother.” Have you seen the trailer yet? Because it looks as rich as oil country:
The show will also feature Rooster’s partner and equally wealthy oilman, Wayne “Butch” Gilliam, and the Texas equivalent of Duck Dynasty’s Uncle Si — musician Gil Prather, known as “The Man from Rio Grande.” By all accounts, the reality series is a redneck version of Shark Tank (Rooster, that flat lander, called it “Shark Tank for Hillbillies”), but it includes some touches of Paris and Nicole’s The Simple Life, and Survivor-esque forced and unnecessary “challenges” that somehow relate to, like, stuff. Here’s how Business Insider explains it:
Unlike the hosts of similar reality shows, Rooster and [partner Butch Gilliam] vet their potential investments through a series of very personal — and often hilarious — examinations. “We’re more about the people, basically,” McConaughey told Business Insider. “Sometimes we’ll pick up a glitch in their personality, and we’ll test that a little bit … The deal’s gotta be decent, but the person counts as much or more as the deal does.”
Over the course of the season’s eight episodes, Rooster and Butch meet with 16 entrepreneurs and end up investing a total of $1.97 million in products ranging from apps and eyewear to guitars and barbecue sauces.
The show breaks down into several parts: first, the entrepreneurs pitch their ideas; then, in a segment that Rooster calls “scenarios,” the two hosts test the product out in the real world, all while evaluating the character of the entrepreneur through a series of challenges.
It’s pretty clear that Rooster — and TV execs — are trading in on baby McConaughey’s success, what with the movie allusion and all. On one level, however, Rooster’s bizarre decision to go from oilman to reality TV star helps explain his little brother’s confounding choice to hawk Lincolns right after a string of critical triumphs. The McConaughey boys are hucksters, and they always will be — no matter how successful they get.
But reality TV seems way overdue for Rooster. He’s basically the “best of” hits of your drunk relatives – that sweet spot when Uncle Cletus starts tap dancing with the livestock but before he attempts to carve the Thanksgiving turkey with a shotgun. Rooster’s been developing this drinking skill/shtick for years, and it seems pretty genuine.
As will no doubt come up at some point in the series, Rooster named his son Miller Lyte because “that’s my favorite beer” and his daughter Margarita Olympia because, “I liked that beer, too, even though they don’t even make it anymore.” Point is: the koozies and ruddy face aren’t an act. Rooster’s the real deal. Or, he’s a “raging alcoholic” as actor Rainn Wilson put it during an interview. Wilson details a memory of Rooster losing a bar fight, in Spain, to an English tough who “knocked him out, cold” with a head butt:
As for his good-ol’-boyness, it don’t get more jocular than giddily sharing a picture of your junk to a late night TV host, which is exactly what Rooster did during an appearance on Jimmy Kimmel:
Incidentally, his testicle twin, Robert Duvall, narrated the West Texas Investors Club trailer!
The truth is, Rooster’s been angling for a piece of the movin’ pictures action for some time. According to IMDB, Rooster played “Tool Pusher” in The Newton Boys, Richard Linklater’s 1998 film starring the younger McConaughey. He also appeared in few episodes of TruTV’s Black Gold, the docu-series about Odessa oil drilling. And at the tail end of 2009, it was reported that Matthew had successfully pitched Fox an animated TV show based on Rooster. The description sounds like high Texas art:
“Rooster Tales” follows the world of a beer-swilling, redneck sheriff who marries a much younger woman from Mexico. The man soon realizes, however, that he’s gained not only a wife but an entire clan — 114 members and counting.
Unfortunately, the show never got off the ground, and the world was denied double-McConaughey magic a little longer. Genius is hardly ever recognized in its time. It’s great, then, to see that we’ll finally get a taste of Rooster McConaughey (and his beer):
Promotional image of West Texas Investor from CNBC