Bill Engvall is Proof That Clean Comedy is Still An Art Form

Bill Engvall is Proof That Clean Comedy is Still An Art Form
Parallel Entertainment

Bill Engvall makes a career out of doing the near-impossible, keeping it clean while still getting his point across. Basically, his job is to remind us we could all be a little smarter and use a few more brain cells before we make decisions. Though he has plenty of jokes about the stupid things people do, the most powerful phrase in his arsenal--the catch phrase "Here's your sign"--is all his fans need to hear to start cracking up. The power that phrase holds during his set doesn't quite make sense at first, but after a few minutes, you realize its power to tear a person down in hilarious fashion without a single curse word.

Whether he's headlining venues alone or with his "Blue Collar" buddies, Engvall's personal stories and relatable material bring out the fans from young to old and leave them all completely entertained. With the new show Bounty Hunters on CMT about to debut and his pride still beaming from a past co-star's recent Oscar win, Engvall is heading to the Terrace Theater in Long Beach on March 23. If a night out filled with laughs is in order, here's your sign to grab tickets now.

OC Weekly (Ali Lerman): I'm sure everyone is bringing up [Oscar-winning actress] Jennifer Lawrence to you right about now, being that she once played your daughter on The Bill Engvall Show. You must feel like a proud TV dad.

Bill Engvall: Oh, yeah, I am so proud of her. I have the distinct honor of saying I gave Jenny her first job. I couldn't have been happier the other night; it was just so well-deserved. I knew early on that little bird wasn't going to stay in the nest very long! She's so genuine, and I just think she is so far from her peak. She's not even gotten as good as she's going to get yet.

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Do you think that Oscar has pretty much squashed any chance of a reunion show happening?

Oh, yeah, I think so! [Laughs.] Although if I were TBS, I would rerelease all 30 episodes right now and do a Jennifer Lawrence marathon.

Good thinking! Tell us about your new show, Bounty Hunters, with Jeff Foxworthy, Larry the Cable Guy and Lisa Lampanelli. It must be fun adding Lisa to the mix.

Yeah, it's a fun little comedy, and we play bounty hunters, and Lisa is our boss. It's funny because, in the show, she has the hots for me, but I don't return the sentiment. It really turned out to be a funny show, and that was what I really wanted. The scripts have turned out really well; they're really well-written. I think people will enjoy it, and it's a little something different for us. We're all pretty much playing ourselves but with different character names. It's really fun to do.

 

Talk about the whole "Blue Collar" comedy dynamic and what it's like working with those guys.

It was just one of those perfect storms that hit. Jeff, Larry, Ron [White] and I have all been friends for years. It really did mesh well. You had four different types of comedy. Probably Jeff and I were really the most similar, but it was really fun, and it just got way bigger than we ever thought it would. But it's awesome because, down the road, when I'm talking to my grandkids, I'll be able to tell them that I was part of the biggest comedy tours to hit this country.

I'd venture to say people who aren't even familiar with your comedy even say, "Here's your sign." Did you ever imagine it'd become somewhat of a household thing?

No, not at all! In fact, I remember the first time I was in the grocery store and I heard someone say it, but they weren't saying it because they knew I was standing there. It was like the checker was trying to do something, and the manager came over and was like, "You just got to do this. Here's your sign!" I was like, "Oh, my God!" It's turned into a nice way of saying, "You're stupid." [Laughs.] I enjoy it, though, and I think that is part of my success. Do I think I'm the funniest guy out there? No. But do I have the best time? Yes.

So will your show at the Terrace Theater be a mix of new material and some of the classic stuff we love?

I always try to mix in new stuff with some of the old stuff. I think when you come and see my show, it's more like we're sitting around your living room, and I just happen to be a funny guy doing the talking. I don't want it to be like you're going to a show. I want it to be like, "Hey, here's what I've been thinking about." So come on out, have a good time, and get ready to laugh!


Bill Engvall performs at the Terrace Theater, 300 E. Ocean Blvd., Long Beach, (562) 436-3636; www.ticketmaster.com. March 23, 8 p.m. $44.75. For more info, visit http://billengvall.com/.

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