Bill Engvall

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Bill Engvall
Engvall performing at the USO Gala in the Marriott Wardman Park Hotel in Washington, D.C. in October 2010
William Ray Engvall Jr.

(1957-07-27) July 27, 1957 (age 66)
  • Comedian
  • actor
Years active1988–2022
Known for
Mary Gail Watson
(m. 1982)
Comedy career
  • Stand-up
  • film
  • television

William Ray Engvall Jr. (born July 27, 1957)[1] is a retired American stand-up comedian, actor, and television host. Engvall has released a number of stand-up comedy albums through Warner Records and the defunct BNA Records. His commercially successful album is the 1996 debut Here's Your Sign, certified platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America. The album derives its name from Engvall's signature routine "here's your sign", wherein he offers "signs" to people whom he deems lacking in intellect. He has toured as a comedian both by himself and as a member of Blue Collar Comedy Tour, which included Jeff Foxworthy, Larry the Cable Guy, and Ron White. Engvall's television roles include Delta, The Jeff Foxworthy Show, The Bill Engvall Show, and Lingo.

Early life[edit]

William Ray Engvall Jr. was born in Galveston, Texas on July 27, 1957.[1] His father, William Ray Engvall Sr., was a U.S. Navy doctor, who then went into private practice. Engvall spent most of his childhood living first in Galveston, then in Winslow, Arizona, then moving back to near Dallas, Texas during middle school. Following graduation from Richardson High School in Richardson, Texas, where he chose trombone when the teacher gave him the choice of either that or the tuba which led him into the jazz marching band,[2] Engvall attended Southwestern University in Georgetown, Texas, intending to earn a bachelor's degree and become a teacher.[3] While at Southwestern he was a member of Xi Chapter of the Kappa Alpha Order. Engvall left college without graduating and worked a series of jobs, including tour guide at Inner Space Caverns, and disc jockey in a Dallas, Texas nightclub.[4] It was while working as the club DJ that he first ventured into stand-up comedy at amateur and open mic nights around Dallas.


In 1990, Bill Engvall moved to Southern California to dedicate full-time to comedy. Early notoriety came from hosting the cable show A Pair of Jokers with Rosie O'Donnell and an appearance on The Golden Palace where he played Blanche's son Matthew, a stockbroker turned aspiring comic. Other early appearances included hosting A&E Networks An Evening at The Improv as well as stand-up routines on The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson[5] and the Late Show with David Letterman.[4]

A career breakthrough happened in 1992 when Engvall was named Best Male Standup at the American Comedy Awards. His first role as a series regular came soon after when he was cast in the ABC series Delta, starring Delta Burke. However, the show only lasted one season and Engvall returned to making the rounds of comedy clubs and the occasional television appearance until 1996 when he was cast with fellow comic and best friend Jeff Foxworthy in the NBC version of The Jeff Foxworthy Show. Signed by Warner Records in 1996, Engvall released the first of a series of successful comedy albums, Here's Your Sign, based on his signature joke. The album was certified Platinum and peaked at number 5 on the Billboard Country album chart. Excerpts from this album were remixed into a musical track titled "Here's Your Sign (Get the Picture)", featuring a chorus sung by country music artist Travis Tritt.[3] "Here's Your Sign (Get the Picture)" charted at number 29 on Billboard Hot Country Songs and number 43 on the Billboard Hot 100 in 1997.[1] Engvall released two more albums by the end of the 1990s: Dorkfish in 1998 and Here's Your Christmas Album in 1999. The latter featured narrations by Engvall, as well as songs he co-wrote sung by session musicians.[6] One of these original compositions, "Here's Your Sign Christmas", also made the country charts in both 1998 and 1999.[1]

In 2000, Engvall exited Warner Records for BNA Records, citing managerial changes at Warner. His only BNA album, Now That's Awesome, came out that same year.[7] Like most of the albums before it, this included two tracks that interpolated stand-up lines from the album with a musical track. The title track featured guest vocals from T. Graham Brown, Tracy Byrd, and Neal McCoy, while "Shoulda Shut Up" featured Julie Reeves.[1]

Engvall moved back to Warner for all subsequent albums. Cheap Drunk: An Autobiography in 2002, Here's Your Sign Reloaded in 2003, 15° Off Cool in 2007, and Aged and Confused in 2009.[6]

In 2021, Engvall announced his intention to retire from stand-up comedy after his "Here's Your Sign, It's Finally Time" farewell tour.[8] He posted a video on YouTube confirming his retirement on December 30, 2022. His final performance was at the Eccles Theater in Salt Lake City the following day.[9][10]

Blue Collar Comedy Tour[edit]

In 2000, Jeff Foxworthy and Engvall launched the first of six Blue Collar Comedy Tours.[11] The tours also featured Ron White and Larry the Cable Guy and were largely responsible for their breakout success. Each of the six years of the tour was very successful and spawned three films, a satellite radio show, and a television series titled Blue Collar TV on The WB Network.

The Bill Engvall Show[edit]

In 2007, Engvall starred in his own sitcom where he played himself as a family counselor. The show lasted three seasons.[12]

Game show host[edit]

On June 6, 2011, Engvall took over as host of Lingo on Game Show Network.[13] According to an interview in American Profile magazine, Engvall said that he jumped at the chance to host the show, citing the fun that his friend Foxworthy had hosting Are You Smarter Than a 5th Grader? Engvall had been a fan of Lingo when it aired a few years previously before ending in 2007, admitting that his wife always beat him to the answers. When asked if there were any plans to have buddies Foxworthy or Larry the Cable Guy appear on Lingo, he replied, "You never know! I would love to have them on the show because it would be a blast. I would really dig that."[14]

Dancing with the Stars[edit]

In 2013, Engvall was announced as a contestant on the 17th season of Dancing with the Stars paired with professional dancer Emma Slater.[15] In the first week, he danced the Foxtrot and received a score of 18. The second week was Latin week and he saw some higher scores from the judges receiving a 21 for his Jive. And the third week of competition, Bill saw his highest score of 24 with a Paso Doble to the Lone Ranger theme song. Throughout the rest of the show, the judges usually placed Engvall and Slater at the bottom of the leaderboard, but an enormous fan base kept them in the competition, resulting in higher-scoring contestants, e.g. Christina Milian, Snooki, Brant Daugherty, Elizabeth Berkley, and Leah Remini being voted out instead.

On November 18, Engvall and Slater made it to the finals, along with Amber Riley, Jack Osbourne and Corbin Bleu. The two finished in fourth place.

Comedic style[edit]

Engvall's most well-known routine is "here's your sign". In this routine, he offers "signs" to people whom he considers lacking in intellect. These jokes typically take the form of another person asking Engvall a "stupid question", to which Engvall typically responds with a sarcastic response before telling the person "here's your sign".[16] Other jokes in Engvall's routine include anecdotes about his life as a father and husband, typically in the form of self-deprecation.[16]

Personal life[edit]

Bill and Gail Engvall (born August 5, 1960) have been married since December 18, 1982. They have a daughter named Emily (born June 9, 1986), a 2008 graduate from the University of Puget Sound who is married to Will Holden, as well as a son, Travis (born June 25, 1991), a 2015 graduate from Northern Arizona University; both of whom are often mentioned during his routines. Engvall resides in Utah when not on tour and maintains a blog for the Los Angeles Angels on the website of Fox Sports West.[17][18] Engvall is an ordained minister. He graduated with a degree in Christian Studies from Grand Canyon University in 2021.[19]



Title Album details Peak chart positions Certifications
(sales thresholds)
U.S. Country U.S. U.S. Comedy
Here's Your Sign[A] 5 50
  • Release date: October 13, 1998
  • Label: Warner Records
16 119
  • U.S.: Gold
Here's Your Christmas Album[B]
  • Release date: September 28, 1999
  • Label: Warner Records
Now That's Awesome
  • Release date: August 22, 2000
  • Label: BNA Records
14 133
Cheap Drunk: An Autobiography
  • Release date: September 24, 2002
  • Label: Warner Records
Here's Your Sign Reloaded
  • Release date: November 11, 2003
  • Label: Warner Records
37 12
A Decade of Laughs
  • Release date: October 26, 2004
  • Label: Warner Records
27 183 1 [C]
15° Off Cool
  • Release date: February 27, 2007
  • Label: Warner Records
16 93 1
Aged and Confused
  • Release date: October 6, 2009
  • Label: Warner Records
29 159 2
Them Idiots Whirled Tour
(with Jeff Foxworthy and Larry the Cable Guy)
  • Release date: March 13, 2012
  • Label: Warner Records
45 1
Ultimate Laughs
  • Release date: March 9, 2014
  • Label: Warner Records
"—" denotes releases that did not chart


Year Single Peak chart positions Album
U.S. Country U.S. CAN Country
1997 "Here's Your Sign (Get the Picture)" (with Travis Tritt) 29 43 72
"Warning Signs" (with John Michael Montgomery) 56
1998 "It's Hard to Be a Parent" 72
"I'm a Cowboy" 60 Dorkfish
"Here's Your Sign Christmas" 50
1999 "Hollywood Indian Guides" 72
2000 "Blue Collar Dollar"
(with Jeff Foxworthy and Marty Stuart)
63 Blue Collar Comedy Tour
"Now That's Awesome"
(with Neal McCoy, Tracy Byrd and T. Graham Brown)
59 Now That's Awesome
"Shoulda Shut Up" (with Julie Reeves, uncredited) 71
"—" denotes releases that did not chart

Other charted songs[edit]

Year Single Peak positions Album
U.S. Country
1999 "Here's Your Sign Christmas" (re-entry) 39 Here's Your Christmas Album
2000 "Here's Your Sign Christmas" (re-entry) 46

Music videos[edit]

Year Video Director
1997 "Here's Your Sign (Get the Picture)" (with Travis Tritt) Jim Yukich
"Warning Signs" (with John Michael Montgomery) Peter Zavadil
1998 "I'm a Cowboy"
"Here's Your Sign Christmas"
1999 "Hollywood Indian Guides"
2000 "Blue Collar Dollar" (with Jeff Foxworthy and Marty Stuart) Thomas Smugala
"Now That's Awesome" Peter Zavadil

List of works[edit]


  • Just a Guy: Notes from a Blue Collar Life, St. Martin's Press 2007, ISBN 0-312-36267-6


Year Title Role Notes
1982 Split Image Student
1984 Not for Publication Second photographer
1990 Designing Women Bill Episode: "Tough Enough"
1992–1993 Delta Buck Overton 17 episodes
1993 The Golden Palace Matthew Devereaux Episode: "Say Goodbye, Rose"
1996–1997 The Jeff Foxworthy Show Bill Pelton 14 episodes
2003 Blue Collar Comedy Tour: The Movie
2004 Blue Collar Comedy Tour Rides Again
2004 Here's Your Sign Live Live
2004–2006 Blue Collar TV Various 47 episodes
2005 Mobile Home Disaster
2006 Blue Collar Comedy Tour: One For the Road
2006–2009 Country Fried Home Videos Host
2007 Family Guy Duke Dillon (voice) Episode: "Boys Do Cry"
2007 Delta Farce Bill Little
2007–2009 The Bill Engvall Show Bill Pearson 30 episodes
2008 Country Fried Planet
2008, 2015 Celebrity Family Feud
2008 Bait Shop Bill Dugan Video
2009 Strawberry Wine
2009 Cowboy Dreams Bill Short
2009 All's Faire in Love Mr. Mendelson
2009 CMT Music Awards Host
2010 Leverage Duke Penzer Episode: "The Boost Job"
2010 Bed & Breakfast: Love is a Happy Accident Pete Sullivan
2011 Lingo Host
2011 Hawthorne Det. James 'Jimmy' Dupree 3 episodes
2012 Them Idiots: Whirled Tour
2012 Kiss at Pine Lake Frank McDowell TV movie
2013 Bounty Hunters Bill 12 episodes
2013 Dancing with the Stars competition reality show
2014 Do It Yourself Dale TV movie
2015 Who Wants to Be a Millionaire
2015 Sharknado 3: Oh Hell No! Gary Martin Hays TV movie
2015 Catching Faith Coach Z
2015–2016 Celebrity Name Game Himself / Celebrity Player Three episodes with Nicole Sullivan
2016 Hell's Kitchen Himself / Restaurant Patron Episode: "8 Chefs Compete"
2016 The Neighbor Troy
2016 Wish For Christmas Santa
2016 Just Sell Him For Parts Himself Stand-up
2016-2021 Last Man Standing Reverend Paul 8 episodes
2017-2019 Funny You Should Ask Himself 64 episodes
2018 Mr. Invincible Eddie King
2019 Catching Faith 2: The Homecoming Coach Z
2022 Outsiders Tim
2024 Barmageddon Himself Episode: "Bill Engvall vs. A. J. McCarron"


  1. ^ a b c d e Whitburn, Joel (2017). Hot Country Songs 1944 to 2017. Record Research, Inc. p. 120. ISBN 978-0-89820-229-8.
  2. ^ Just a Guy. St. Martin’s Press. 2007. ISBN 9780312362676. Retrieved May 8, 2022.
  3. ^ a b "The Bill Engvall Show bio". Archived from the original on January 6, 2012. Retrieved June 5, 2011.
  4. ^ a b "Bill Engvall biography". Retrieved June 5, 2011.
  5. ^ "Bill Engvall Makes His First Appearance on Network Television | Carson Tonight Show". YouTube. July 13, 1989. Retrieved October 19, 2022.
  6. ^ a b "Bill Engvall biography". AllMusic. Retrieved July 11, 2022.
  7. ^ Stark, Phyllis (August 12, 2000). "Comedian Bill Engvall switches to BNA and delivers an 'awesome' 4th album". Billboard. p. 31.
  8. ^ Schneider, Michael (August 11, 2021). "Bill Engvall to Retire From Stand-Up, Announces Farewell Comedy Tour". Variety. Retrieved January 10, 2023.
  9. ^ Bill Engvall Retires From Stand Up Comedy, says THANK YOU! - YouTube
  10. ^ Kelly, Keegan (December 20, 2022). "Blue Collar Comedy Tour: Bill Engvall Is Retiring, and So Is The Funny One". Cracked. Retrieved January 10, 2023.
  11. ^ "Movie Reviews". The New York Times. April 28, 2020.
  12. ^ "The Bill Engvall Show (TV Series)".
  13. ^ "GSN Bringing Lingo Back with New Host". Archived from the original on February 10, 2011. Retrieved January 29, 2011.
  14. ^ American Profile newsmagazine. Article title: "Q&A with Bill Engvall". June 5, 2011
  15. ^ ""Dancing with the Stars": Leah Remini, Valerie Harper, Snooki among new cast". September 4, 2013.
  16. ^ a b "Blue collar blues". Argus Leader. January 11, 2007. pp. 15D. Retrieved July 11, 2022.
  17. ^ An interview with Bill Engvall: blogging, acting, a new outlook. Archived April 25, 2012, at the Wayback Machine Retrieved June 11, 2011
  18. ^ Main page of Bill Engvall's LAA Blog Retrieved September 30, 2013
  19. ^ Sweeten-Shults, Lana (May 12, 2021). "No joke: Comedian Bill Engvall becoming GCU grad" (Press release). Grand Canyon University. Retrieved June 20, 2021.

External links[edit]

Awards and achievements
Preceded by Dancing with the Stars (US) semifinalist
Season 17 (Fall 2013 with Emma Slater)
Succeeded by