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Laughing at life: Comedian Bill Engvall's show spins observations on everyday experiences

Bill Engvall will perform Oct. 6 at the Alerus Center. His show is "clean and family-relatable," he says. "It's just sitting around the living room, and I'm the funny guy doing all the talking." (Submitted photo)

Bill Engvall, a Grammy-nominated, multi-platinum selling comedian, will perform at 8 p.m. Oct. 6 in the Alerus Center in Grand Forks.

Engvall is launching a tour this fall that runs through May, bringing his act to between 60 and 70 cities around the U.S., he said.

His show in Grand Forks will feature "clean, family-relatable" material, he said. "People like it when you're clean. We'll talk about adult subjects, but in a clean way."

He draws his comedy sketches from observations of people as well as aspects of his own life.

"I have a theory that we all do the same thing, just with a different accent," he said.

For example, in his show, he reflects on life now that his kids have grown up and left home. He and his wife, Gail, who live in southern California, have a daughter who's 32 and son who's 27.

"You can stay up late, sleep in and walk around the house naked," he said. "What's the down side? I don't get it."

He weaves in his wife's perspective and what it's like to be married to a comedian, he said. "It isn't easy."

Engvall has been in the comedy business nearly 40 years, but he doesn't anticipate running out of topics.

"As long as there's human beings, I'll have material," he said. "They keep doing stupid stuff.

"I keep an eye out for things that people can relate to."

Acting roles

Engvall recently wrapped up work on the upcoming thriller, "Monster Party," the story of three teenage thieves who infiltrate a mansion dinner party secretly hosted by a serial killer cult for the social elite.

"It's a small, indie film," he said. "I play an abusive father. I like to do movies that people don't expect to see me in."

He'll also appear in an upcoming episode of "Problematic with Moshe Kasher" on Comedy Central.

Engvall has made guest appearances on the hit ABC series "Last Man Standing," and has been a contestant on numerous game shows including "Hollywood Game Night" and "Celebrity Family Feud" and will be in the upcoming series "Funny You Should Ask."

He also starred in, and executive produced, the TBS sitcom "The Bill Engvall Show," and was part of the successful "Blue Collar Comedy" concert films, which sold more than nine million units and received a Grammy nomination.

He starred in the 2016 movies, "Wish for Christmas" and the thriller "The Neighbor."

Engvall's first album, "Here's Your Sign," is certified platinum and held the number one position on the Billboard Comedy Chart for 15 consecutive weeks. His second album, "Dorkfish," also debuted at number one on Billboard's Comedy Chart, as did his subsequent comedy albums.

He's also written several books, including "Bill Engvall—Just a Guy."

Dance contestant

As a contestant on season 17 of the ABC-TV show, "Dancing with the Stars," Engvall was a crowd favorite who made it to the finals.

"It's a great weight-loss program," he said, but physically demanding.

"People don't realize how grueling it is (to be on the show). At about week five, I was ready for it to be done. It was pretty brutal."

In the year he was on the show that pairs celebrities with professionals dancers, "I tore my groin, had a knee replaced, and got shingles and kidney stones," he said.

"I didn't want to go to the doctor with my wife; I was afraid she'd say, 'Just sell him for parts,' " he said. That line became the title of his most recent comedy special, available on the VUDU streaming service.

Engvall came to comedy by happenstance.

As a college student, the Galveston, Texas, native was headed for a career in teaching. While working as a disc jockey in Dallas, he went to a nightclub one evening and tried his hand at stand-up comedy; he found that making people laugh was truly his strength.

He see similarities in the two occupations.

"Teachers are performers in their own right," he said. "They stand up in front of a group.

"The best way to teach people is to entertain them. You'll remember a good kindergarten teacher all your life."

The veteran comedian enjoys stand-up performances because "I like making people laugh, and I like making people feel good. Being a comedian is the only job you can do that on a regular basis."

He hopes his audience will feel like "we're just sitting around in the living room, and I'm the funny guy doing all the talking. It's a conversation, but it's a one-way conversation."

When he's in Grand Forks, he hopes people "come out and have a good time," he said.

"I want them to feel better than when they came."

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