20 Questions With Bill Engvall

He Talks About Steve Martin, "Here's Your Sign" and Cats Named Poopie

Whether it’s the Blue Collar Comedy tour or “Here’s Your Sign,” Bill Engvall knows how to make the country crowd crack up. But this time around, it’s the fans who are making Engvall bust a gut as he hosts CMT’s new series, Country Fried Videos. Here, he answers fans’ questions about keeping up with family, shaving his beard and sitting on Trace Adkins’ lap.

1. Whenever you’re on tour by yourself or with the guys, do you ever have to use a teleprompter?

When I do my stand-up, I don’t use a teleprompter. I have it committed to memory.

2. You do a lot of comedy about animals in your stand-up. Are you an animal lover?

I have four dogs and two cats. So I guess you could say that I am an animal lover.

3. Who was your favorite comedian growing up?

My favorite comedians were Steve Martin and Bob Newhart.

4. When did you first realize that you could be paid to be funny?

I guess that I knew I had a sense of humor when I played Clementine in our third-grade play.

5. Where did the catchphrase “Here’s Your Sign” come from?

I thought of that when I was in the clubs. I used to say that stupid people should be slapped, but I changed it to “Here’s Your Sign.”

6. What is your favorite album that you have put out and why?

I think that my favorite album would be Dorkfish. I just felt like I had finally found myself, and it was a blast to record.

7. What makes a great comedian? For anyone who wants to be one, what advice do you have for them?

I think that a great comedian is someone who is natural and not forced. I would say get as much stage time as you can and always keep your material relatable.

8. I am 13 years old and seriously need your help. My 26-year-old, broke and living-at-home sister shares a room with me. It wouldn’t be so bad if it was just her, but she has three cats with three litter boxes, and one of them is named Poopie! She adores these cats, and I wish they would fall off the face of the earth. How can I get rid of them? Your expertise is drastically needed!

Sorry, I cannot help you there. Anyone who names a cat Poopie is beyond my help.

9. What is the strangest thing someone has ever told you at one of your events?

Someone asked me if Jeff Foxworthy and I were cousins. I laughed out loud.

10. Why do you shave your beard and mustache when you are on Blue Collar TV but not on Blue Collar Comedy Tour or your stand-ups?

I shaved for the Blue Collar TV so that I could play a lot of different characters. When I am on the road, I am only being me.

11. Who do you think is the smartest member of the Blue Collar Comedy tour?

Me! Of course.

12. Obviously you are surrounded by funny people, but who would you pay money to see live, and would your choice surprise your Blue Collar fans?

Good question. I don’t think that it would surprise my fans, but I would pay to see Steve Martin do stand-up again.

13. It is obvious that Blue Collar-style comedy is immensely popular, yet why is it that Blue Collar TV was treated like the show nobody wanted on the WB — much like the Foxworthy show in the early ’90s? It seems like they deliberately put it up against established programming (NFL, WWE) that courted the same audience and then pretended to be surprised when your ratings were not what they should have been.

Wow, you sound like you have been talking to us. I think that network people have an image about blue collar or rednecks, if you will. So if the show was successful, then they are branded. But this way they can say they gave it a shot. It’s weird. Stupid, but weird.

14. Do you ever watch yourself in the reruns of The Jeff Foxworthy Show?

Sometimes I will catch an episode and think, “Jeez, I had hair.”

15. If Big & Rich asked you to be in any of their videos, would you do it?

In a heartbeat. I love them.

16. I loved the skit on Blue Collar TV where you sat on Trace Adkins’ lap. What is it like to sit on his lap?

Weird! But I think that Trace was a lot more uncomfortable than I was. I was laughing so hard.

17. Does your wife find you as funny as the rest of us do?

I think so, but she has put up with it so long. God bless her.

18. How do your kids feel about the stories you tell about them onstage? For instance, the story about your son’s sports physical. Whether all true or completely falsified — and funny nonetheless — did he care that you told this story, or did you have to ask permission to use it? What is their reaction to these types of stories?

I have great kids, and they don’t mind the stories. They also enjoy the perks of the business.

19. How does your family keep up with you when you are on the road?

Believe it or not, we video conference over the computer. That way we can see each other.

20. If you could go back, would you still choose the same occupation, or would you have made a different choice?

I don’t know. I love what I do, but if I had the chance I think that I would have kept playing baseball.