If you’ve never heard of Bill Engvall, well, here’s your sign. Engvall, one of the leaders in Blue Collar comedy has left01-12-11-bill-engall.gif audiences rolling in their seats since the mid ‘90s. On Saturday, Jan. 22, Engvall will bring his rare blend of down-home humor to the Crown Theatre for a raucous night of fun.

Engvall, a Texas native, has the ability to connect with his audience. His humor isn’t off-color, instead he relies on the madness of everyday life and common place situations to get you laughing not only at the people he’s talking about, but also yourself. That talent has made him one of the top comedians in America, and has kept him quiet busy.

A native of Galveston, Texas, Bill moved to Dallas and was working as a disc jockey with plans of becoming of a teacher. While in a nightclub one evening, Bill decided to try his hand at stand-up comedy and quickly found that making people laugh was truly his forte. Soon after, he decided to move to Los Angeles to pursue television opportunities.

First there was a Showtime special, A Pair of Joker’s with Rosie O’Donnell, followed by Bill hosting A&E’s Evening at the Improv and several appearances on both The Tonight Show and The Late Show with David Letterman. In 1992, Bill won the American Comedy Award for “Best Male Stand-up Comedian.” After appearing in episodes of Designing Women, Bill went on to portray Buck Overton on the ABC sitcom, Delta, starring Delta Burke, thus solidifying his status as a sought-after comic. Bill also starred in the NBC series, The Jeff Foxworthy Show, where he played Jeff’s best friend.

Since the 1996 release of his platinum album Here’s Your Sign, Engvall has been on a meteoric rise to the top of the comedy heap. The comedy album, which held the top of the Billboard Comedy Chart for 15 straight weeks, also gained Engvall time on country airwaves when he collaborated with Travis Tritt on a video also entitled “Here’s Your Sign.” That boosted his sales, and the single became one of the most requested singles on country radio, gaining the number one position on the country charts for 10 weeks.

From there, Engvall’s catch phrase became a piece of America’s cultural lexicon. He quickly followed that release with the release of another comedy album, Dorkfish, in 1998. He drew quite a fan base and over the past decade has made his mark on television, through the written word and on the big screen.

He signed on with a few of his friends to create a sketch comedy show for the WB network. You might know it as Blue Collar TV. The show premiered in 2004 to the delight of some 5.4 million viewers. It featured Engvall, Larry the Cable Guy and Jeff Foxworthy.

The three capitalized on the success of the show and started a cultural phenomenon known as the Blue Collar Comedy Tour, which premiered on Comedy Central, and than premiered in millions of homes across the nation through DVD sales. The sequel, the Blue Collar Comedy Tour Rides Again was also a hit, as was the follow-on , the Blue Collar Comedy Tour: One for the Road.

Many people may have come to know Engvall through his television show The Bill Engvall Show. The show features Engvall as the father at the midst of a wacky family comedy. The series debuted in 2007 to rave reviews and high ratings.

He also hosts one of the top rated shows on CMT, Country Fried Home Videos. This show fi nds real videos from real people showing what real Americans do bringing the wit and wisdom to television that only the heartland can offer.

Fans got a chance to see Engvall in Bait Shop, which co-stars Billy Ray Cyrus. The story centers around a small town bait shop owner who fi nds his beloved business threatened with foreclosure. In an attempt to raise the money to save it, he enters a high profi le fishing tournament. Additionally, Engvall starred in the movie Delta Farce with Larry the Cable Guy and D.J. Qualls, which was released on May 11, 2007 and distributed by Lionsgate. This hilarious comedy about three blue collar heroes on the military’s front line is available on DVD.

Along with his Blue Collar movies, Engvall also has two solo specials which aired on Comedy Central. 15° Off Cool aired on March 25, 2007 and was one of the highest rated special of the year.

Engvall has also written several books, including his autobiographyBill Engvall –Just A Guy from St. Martin’s Press on May 15, 2007.

Engvall will hit the stage of the Crown Theatre at 7 p.m. Tickets for the performance are available at the Crown Box Office and all Ticketmaster Outlets. For more information, visit www.atthecrown.com .

Photo: Bill Engvall

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