Eyes on Engvall

Published 8:41 am Thursday, June 13, 2013

Comedian and television star Bill Engvall is coming to the Silver Creek Event Center. Submitted photo

Comedian and television star Bill Engvall is coming to the Silver Creek Event Center. Submitted photo

Bill Engvall may have accomplished a lot in his career, but that doesn’t keep him from working.

Engvall, who will appear at the Silver Creek Event Center at the Four Winds Casino in New Buffalo June 21, has a pair of television projects brewing.

“We’re waiting to hear about a pilot we shot for TBS,” Engvall said. “One of the reasons I liked the project is because it had a touch of reality to it. Basically, I was working at Circuit City and lost my job, and the only one I could get was working in the gardening department at a home improvement store. I get to play a bitter old guy who gets to tell you what he thinks about everything.”

The show is called “Do It Yourself” and brings him back to TBS where he starred and was the executive producer of “The Bill Engvall Show,” which ran for three seasons.

Engvall has been long known for his work on the Blue Collar Comedy Tour with Jeff Foxworthy and Larry The Cable Guy.

That group is back together for an animated show on Country Music Television (CMT) called “Bounty Hunters.” The show is slated to air later this summer.

“The premise of the show is Jeff, Larry and I play bumbling bounty hunters, and Lisa Lampanelli plays our boss,” Engvall said. “We recorded 13 of those.”

Despite his success in television and movies, Engvall says he loves getting out on the road and doing comedy, a career that happened somewhat by chance.

Engvall, a native of Galveston, Texas, moved to Dallas and was working as a disc jockey and planning to become a teacher. He was in a nightclub one night and decided to try stand-up comedy and found he had the ability to make people laugh. He decided to head down a new career path.

He moved to Los Angeles to try and get some work in television and continues to live in California where he “is still doing well and playing a lot of golf.”

Engvall says he is still amazed how things turned out.

“I have accomplished everything I set out to do,” he said in a telephone interview. “It still amazes me that people want to hear what I want to do. I think the reason for my success is that I enjoy what I do. I don’t want to be one of those guys who should have quit two or three years ago. I have as much fun as the audience does.”

Engvall said, if he had become a teacher, he would have taught all subjects.

“I would have taught elementary school because kids that age still want to learn,” he said. “They haven’t developed that attitude of they know everything. I think I would have been a great teacher. I think teachers are entertainers in their own right.

“I would have been one who used a lot of visual aids. I would have made it fun for them instead of having them regurgitate everything. I would not have allowed parents in the classroom.”

Engvall said he believes he is successful because he talks about things to which people can relate.

“I don’t do politics or religious stuff because people get hammered with that all day long,” Engvall said.

When asked how be balances the jokes his audience expects to hear with new material, he says it is about 50 percent new material.

“If I go to see Aerosmith I don’t want to hear their new stuff, I want to hear ‘Walk This Way.’ But with a joke, once you have heard it, you’ve heard it, so at least 50 percent of what they are going to hear is new stuff. But I still do things like ‘Here’s Your Sign.’

“I think a lot of people don’t assume you have written new stuff. It’s not like the old club days where you had a week to work on a bit. Now people want to hear your new stuff.”
Engvall said he is enjoying the fruits of his years of hard work.

“I am right where I want to be,” he said. “I get my ego stroked, but my wife and I can still go out to dinner, yet not interrupted by a lot of fans wanting autographs.”