If ever there were a comic geared to one particular demographic, Bill Engvall is he. Hailed by many fans as one of the true protégés of Jeff Foxworthy (with whom he has often performed), Engvall caters to fans of "redneck comedy" -- one-liners and anecdotes about pickup trucks, beer guzzling, tailgating, deer hunting, and assorted acts of blue-collar mayhem. Oddly, Engvall (unlike, say, Larry the Cable Guy) often sports a far more polished look than many of his contemporaries with the same brand of material. Through it all, Engvall remained imminently successful and racked up a massive and loyal fan base of American everymen.
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Born William Ray Engvall Jr. on July 27, 1957, in Galveston, TX, the future comedian/actor reportedly moved around a great deal with his family as a tyke. Engvall acted in local productions as a child and adolescent, then launched a series of successful routines at the Dallas Comedy Corner. He moved to Los Angeles with his wife in 1984, and first gained public recognition some time later with an appearance on the popular CBS sitcom Designing Women in the very early '90s and a guest-star spot on The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson (the mecca for standup comedians) just prior to Carson's departure. In 1992, Engvall landed a recurring role on the short-lived sitcom Delta (with Delta Burke as a struggling country singer); he played Buck Overton, the husband of Delta's cousin and number one fan, Lavonne (Gigi Rice). Unfortunately, ABC canceled that program after less than one year.
Engvall's standup albums began appearing in 1997. He benefited hugely from his association with Foxworthy, who featured the comic in an occasional supporting role on his sitcom The Jeff Foxworthy Show; the two then teamed up with Larry the Cable Guy and Ron White for the mega-successful Blue Collar Comedy Tour, which spawned its own concert film in 2003. Doubtless banking off the success of these efforts, the WB network launched an SNL-style sketch comedy program, Blue Collar TV, in 2004 -- to which Engvall often contributed material. Following several solo performance films (including Bill Engvall: Here's Your Sign Live in 2004 and Bill Engvall: 15° Off Cool in 2007), Engvall and Larry the Cable Guy co-starred in the feature comedy Delta Farce (2007), as a couple of blue-collar Joes mistaken for Army personnel. In mid-2007, Engvall finally scored his own sitcom, appropriately titled The Bill Engvall Show. Co-starring Nancy Travis and Tim Meadows, the TBS show followed the work and family life of family counselor Bill Pearson (Engvall). In 2009, the comedian released Aged and Confused, a comedy set detailing the pitfalls of middle age, and took on a hosting gig in 2011 for a re-launch of the gameshow Lingo. ~ Nathan Southern, Rovi