Here’s your sign: Don’t be stupid, see Bill Engvall in Greensburg
For about 40 years, comedian Bill Engvall has been looking at life from a guy’s perspective.
Whether the topic is married life, parenting, camping or kidney stones, his routines have that no-nonsense, male-infused point of view you expect from your dad or your brother.
So on his current tour, Engvall is trying something a little different.
“I’m actually looking at life through my wife’s eyes,” he said from a recent stop in his native Texas. “She has a tough gig. She’s like the one in the tornado, making sure the farmhouse doesn’t blow away.
“I’m sure she drinks heavily when I’m gone,” he quips.
He should have plenty of material to mine, since he married wife Gail way back in 1982. Greensburg audiences will have a chance to hear all about her when Engvall plays two shows at The Palace Theatre on Nov. 8.
‘Here’s your sign’
Along with the new material, Engvall will delve into his vast catalogue for some fan favorite bits, like his signature “Here’s Your Sign.”
The bit starts with Engvall declaring, “I just hate stupid people. They should have to wear signs that say, ‘I’m stupid.’ That way, you wouldn’t rely on them, would you?”
Like when your neighbor sees a moving truck in your driveway and asks, “Hey, you moving?” Or when the makers of Preparation H have to warn people that it’s not to be ingested. Here’s your sign…
Engvall says a comedian has to “walk a tightrope” between new material and the tried-and-true.
“No one goes to a concert and says, ‘I hope they play all new songs,’ ” he says.
What Engvall’s audiences can rely on is that his show will be clean and relatable.
“I don’t consider myself a celebrity,” he says. “I’m like the guy who comes over and sits around the living room for 75 to 90 minutes telling stories. People want to know you’re just like them. You see them in the audience — they elbow each other, wives and husbands point at each other.”
He says that comedy pioneers like Bob Newhart, who could get laughs out of people of all ages, have inspired him.
“Those guys worked forever,” he says. “They showed that you can talk about whatever you want, just do it in a clean way.”
Engvall was a member of the Blue Collar Comedy Tour from 2000-2006 with his friends and fellow funny men Jeff Foxworthy, Ron White and Daniel Whitney, better known as Larry the Cable Guy.
He’s also kept busy with roles on television and in movies. His self-titled sitcom ran for three seasons on TBS. Among others, he had recurring roles on “Designing Women” on CBS, “Delta” on ABC, “The Jeff Foxworthy Show” on NBC and Tim Allen’s “Last Man Standing” on Fox.
In addition to mainstream films, he’s acted in a number of faith-based and indie films, including being cast against type as a neighbor bent on homicide in “The Neighbor,” a 2016 horror movie from director Marcus Dunstan.
“I got a call from the director, and I said, ‘Wait a minute, you know who I am, right?’ ” he says. “I had more fun doing that. It’s scary how easily I fell into that role. But I think it’s important to stretch yourself and to stretch your fans.
“I love doing the little indie films,” he says. “The kids directing them are still hungry. The downside is that they don’t have much of a budget.”
Next up, he says, is another small film called “No Running” that will be out next year. He plays a man who witnessed an alien abduction 40 years ago and withdrew from society as a result of not being believed. He forms an unlikely friendship with a boy who has recently had the same experience.
Away from work, Engvall says, he and his wife are expecting the birth of their first grandchild. They’ve resettled from the hectic California life to a quieter life in the mountains near Park City, Utah.
He’s also stretching himself in another way. An ordained minister, Engvall says he is pursuing a degree in Christian studies from Phoenix, Ariz.-based Grand Canyon University and is contemplating going to seminary.
Shirley McMarlin is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Shirley at 724-836-5750, [email protected] or via Twitter .