Bill Engvall, in just about three weeks, will log Year 3 on the road for his stand-up tour that will bring him to Fort Lauderdale on Thursday.
Taking a break Monday, at home on his ranch near Seguin, in the heart of Texas Hill Country, the 62-year-old Texas native told New Times, "I tell people, being a stand-up comedian on tour isn't like being a rock star."
The gist is real — Engvall is a working man. Literally, he works for a living. Joke Schmoe.
The tour that made him famous — the Blue Collar Comedy Tour, with Jeff Foxworthy, Ron White, and Larry the Cable Guy — went on for six years. And Engvall, like any working stiff, also stays busy with side gigs. For more than 25 years, that's meant small parts in movies, hosting game and award shows, recurring roles on sit-coms, and taking chances on one-off opportunities, like his longer-than-expected run on Dancing With the Stars in 2013.
Though he's winding down his current tour, with only seven dates remaining on his 2019 schedule after his appearance Thursday night at the Broward Center, Engvall says he has no plans to retire or even slow down.
But he's ready for an extended break.
Engvall says he's looking forward to spending time traveling, hiking, and golfing with his wife, Gail — the pair will celebrate their 37th anniversary in December. Engvall gets choked up talking about his soon-to-be-born first grandchild, who's expected in early winter. And here and there, when Last Man Standing returns to the Fox lineup after NFL Thursdays end, we will see Engvall back in his recurring role in the Tim Allen sit-com as Reverend Paul.
But if Engvall wants to stay on track for his college graduation in January 2021, slowing down isn't an option.
The Galveston native isn't much for down time. So when tour dates meant roughly 90 minutes of work a day, Engvall decided to fill his off time by going back to school.
He's now taking a full course load, majoring in Christian studies, and says after graduation, he plans to go on to seminary.
"Now who would have thought that as a 62-year-old, I'd be better at school than when I was 18," Engvall says. "Back then, I was lucky I had a .89 grade point average. Now, I've got it at 3.89."
He sounds like he's working on a bit, but says he hasn't woven anything about going back to college into his stand-up routine yet.
Engvall says he's surprised himself with how well-focused he's been, with writing college essays, taking tests, keeping up with his classes, which he takes online.
The worst part, he says, his voice dropping to a bass note, is "math."
"If a man weighs 250 pounds on earth, how much would he weigh on the moon? I. Don't. Know!"
"I still don't get that," he says. "I think, now what on earth am I ever going to do with this?
Still, Engvall sounded pleased with himself about the class, having netted a B+.
8 p.m. Thursday, October 24 at Au-Rene Theater at Broward Center for the Performing Arts, 201 SW Fifth Ave., Fort Lauderdale; 954-462-0222; browardcenter.org. Tickets range from $39 to $139 via ticketmaster.com.
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