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Thursday, June 16, 2011

Who is William Ray "Bill" Engvall, Jr.?

Who is William Ray Engvall, Jr.? The entertainment and comedy world knows Bill Engvall as an American comedian and actor best known for his work as a stand-up comic and as a member of the Blue Collar Comedy group.

Early life

Bill Engvall was born July 27, 1957 in Galveston, Texas. Following graduation from Richardson High School in Richardson, Texas, Engvall attended Southwestern University in Georgetown, Texas, intending to earn a Bachelors degree and become a teacher.[2] While at Southwestern he was a member of Xi Chapter of the Kappa Alpha Order fraternity. Engvall left college prior to earning his degree and worked a series of jobs, including tour guide at Inner Space Caverns, and disc jockey in a Dallas, Texas nightclub.[3] It was while working as club DJ he first ventured into standup comedy at amature and open mic nights around Dallas.

Career

In 1990 Bill Engvall moved to southern California to dedicate full time to his comedy. Early noteriety came from hosting the cable show A Pair of Jokers with Rosie O'Donnell and an appearance on the The Golden Palace where he played Blanche's son Matthew, a stockbroker turned aspiring comic. Other early appearances included hosting A&E Networks An Evening at The Improv as well as standup routines on The Tonight Show and The Late Show with David Letterman.[4] A career breakthrough happened in 1992 when Engvall was named Best Male Standup at the American Comedy Awards. His first role as a series regular came soon after when he was cast in the ABC series Delta, starring Delta Burke. The show only lasted one season however, and Engvall returned to making the rounds of comedy clubs and the occassional television appearance until 1996 when he was cast with fellow comic and best friend Jeff Foxworthy in the NBC version of The Jeff Foxworthy Show. Signed by Warner Bros. Records in 1996, Engvall release the first of a series of highly successful comedy albums, Here's Your Sign, based on his signature stage bit. The album was certified Platinum and peaked at #5 on the Billboard Country album chart, thanks in part to the single and video of the same title on which he collaborated with Country star Travis Tritt.[5] Eight more comedy albums followed including Dorkfish in 1998, and the most recent, 2009's Aged and Confused.

Blue Collar Comedy Tour

A comedy revolution of sorts began in 2000 when Jeff Foxworthy and Engvall launched the first of six Blue Collar Comedy Tours.[6] The tours also featured comedians Ron White and Larry the Cable Guy and was largely responsible to the breakout success of the latter two. Rather than ridicule the simple rural life and traditional values the four comedians reveled in its virtues. Each of the six years of the tour were huge hits and spawned three movies, a satellite radio show, and a television show, Blue Collar TV on The WB Network.

Game Show Host

In June, 2011 Bill Engvall began a new chapter in his career as he took over as host of the re-launched Lingo on GSN.[7] According to an interview in American Profile magazine Engvall said he jumped at the chance to host the show, citing the fun his friend Foxworthy had hosting Are You Smarter Than a 5th Grader?. Engvall had been a fan of Lingo when it aired a few years previously before ending in 2007, admitting that his wife always beat him to the answers. When asked if there were any plans to have buddies Foxworthy or Larry The Cable Guy appear on Lingo, he replied "You never know! I would love to have them on the show because it would be a blast. I would really dig that."[8]

Personal life

Bill and Gail Engvall (born August 1960) have been married since December 18, 1982. They have a daughter named Emily (born 1986), a recent graduate from the University of Puget Sound, as well as a son, Travis (born 1991), a junior at Northern Arizona University; both of whom are often mentioned during his routines. Engvall resides in southern California when not on tour and maintains a blog for the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, of which he holds season tickets.[9]

Discography

Albums

Year Album details Peak chart positions Certifications
(sales thresholds)
US Country US US Comedy
1996 Here's Your Sign[A]
5 50
  • US: Platinum
1998 Dorkfish
  • Released: October 13, 1998
  • Label: Warner Bros. Records
16 119
  • US: Gold
1999 Here's Your Christmas Album[B]
  • Released: September 28, 1999
  • Label: Warner Bros. Records
44
2000 Now That's Awesome
  • Released: August 22, 2000
  • Label: BNA Records
14 133
2002 Cheap Drunk: An Autobiography
  • Released: September 24, 2002
  • Label: Warner Bros. Records
37
2003 Here's Your Sign Reloaded
  • Released: November 11, 2003
  • Label: Warner Bros. Records
37 12
2004 A Decade of Laughs
  • Released: October 26, 2004
  • Label: Warner Bros. Records
27 183 1
2007 15° Off Cool
  • Released: February 27, 2007
  • Label: Warner Bros. Records
16 93 1
2009 Aged and Confused
  • Released: October 6, 2009
  • Label: Warner Bros. Records
29 159 2

Notes

Singles

Year Single Peak chart positions Album
US Country US CAN Country
1997 "Here's Your Sign (Get the Picture)" (with Travis Tritt) 29 43 72 single only
"Warning Signs" (with John Michael Montgomery) 56
1998 "It's Hard to Be a Parent" 72
"I'm a Cowboy" 60 Dorkfish
"Here's Your Sign Christmas" 50 Dorkfish / Here's Your Christmas Album
1999 "Hollywood Indian Guides" 72 single only
2000 "Blue Collar Dollar" (with Jeff Foxworthy and Marty Stuart) 63 Blue Collar Comedy Tour
"Now That's Awesome"
(with Neal McCoy, Tracy Byrd and T. Graham Brown)
59 Now That's Awesome
"Shoulda Shut Up" 71

Other charted songs

Year Single Peak chart positions Album
US Country
1999 "Here's Your Sign Christmas" (re-entry) 39 Dorkfish / Here's Your Christmas Album
2000 "Here's Your Sign Christmas" (re-entry) 46

 Music videos

Year Video Director
1997 "Here's Your Sign (Get the Picture)" (with Travis Tritt) Jim Yukich
"Warning Signs" (with John Michael Montgomery) Peter Zavadil
1998 "I'm a Cowboy"
"Here's Your Sign Christmas"
1999 "Hollywood Indian Guides"
2000 "Blue Collar Dollar" (with Jeff Foxworthy and Marty Stuart) Thomas Smugala
"Now That's Awesome" Peter Zavadil

List of works

Bibliography

Filmography

















 

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