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Comedian Bill Engvall laughs about aging

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Comedian Bill Engvall has aged gracefully in the past 30 years of doing stand-up comedy.
“  I do a lot of jokes about being an empty nester,” noted Engvall, calling from California an hour early due to a golf game.Bill Engvall performs with Larry The Cable Guy, Jan 13. Photo submitted
“I’ve developed some selective hearing. We’re getting older and she wants to go on a diet. So I have to go on a diet too because she says ‘ I think we’re going on a diet because I don't like the way we look.’ And I say ‘we think I look good,’” he laughed.

 He first became known for his “Here’s Your Sign” routine but is now known for his jokes and stories involving exploring interesting anecdotes about family, children and dogs which everybody can identify with. He performs at the Enmax Centre with Larry The Cable Guy and Reno Collier, Jan. 13.

“It will be three guys with three completely different points of view,” observed  Engvall.
“Reno will do 15 minutes. I’ll do 35 minutes and Larry the Cable Guy will be doing 35,” he said.

“It will be three completely different perspectives. I’m a storyteller. I’ll talk about my family. Reno is a storyteller too, but not as extensive as me and Larry is more of a one liner guy. Joke, joke, joke,” he said.

“Reno is a new father and my children are in college, so it’s two different perspectives,” said the Galveston, Texas born comedian, who moved to Dallas and later to Los Angeles.
He has appeared on TV on several different shows including the Jeff Foxworthy show, and  Blue Collar Comedy with Foxworthy and Larry The Cable Guy.

 He has three Canadian shows booked this week and will probably book several others
“That’s who Larry is. It’s not a character. He’s just the nicest guy. And that’s not  a character, that’s who he is. We’re always making each other laugh,” Engvall enthused.

 And while Larry the Cable Guy can be a little crude. Engvall makes a concerted attempt to keep his routine clean.
“Well I’ll leave that up to Larry (the Enmax show),” he said of the contrasting styles.
“After 30 years doing stand-up comedy, I know what will work and what won’t,” he said.
“ It’s a lot more difficult to write a clean joke than it is to just curse,” he said adding he doesn’t have a set writing process.
“ I’ve probably  lost three albums worth of material by not writing things down,” he said.
“I’m aware there will be kids in the audience and I don’t want their parents to have to explain anything to them,” he said.
 Keeping his routine new and fresh is a priority.

“Stand up comedy isn’t like going  to see Van Halen or Aerosmith, when you want to hear the same songs over over and over, with comedy, when you tell a joke, that’s it,” he said adding he will bring back variations of popular routines of here’s your sign and other popular bits.
He enjoys playing Canadian shows, though there can be differences in communication.

“Pissed does mean different things. I was in Winnipeg and this lady cut me off and I ended up in a snowbank and this RCMP officer comes up to me. I tell him I’m fine, but I’m  just a little pissed, and he says ‘could you blow into this thing.’ No, no, I’m just a little angry, ” he reminisced.

And though he comes from the south, his routines are general enough to appeal to a variety of audiences.

“I keep it in the middle of the road. Parents and kids do basically the same things, no matter the location,” he said.
 In addition to performing between 80-90 shows this year, he will also be working on a drama for TNT which he will be co-writing and starring in.
“ I really like doing dramas. It’s something a little different,” he said.

“ It’s loosely based on the old series about a police officer who moves from the south into Chicago, so it’s a fish out of water story,” he said.
 He has played guest roles on several dramas including  “Hawthorne” and “Leverage.”
 He is looking forward to his first performance in Lethbridge.

“I’d love it for everyone to come out. Everyone who comes can sit back and get ready to laugh,” he said.
 Tickets for the Jan. 13 show, which begins at 8 p.m., cost $76.50.

 A version of this story appears in the Jan. 11, 2012 edition of the Lethbridge Sun Times
— By Richard Amery, L.A. Beat Editor
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