Bill Engvall, a prominent figure in comedy, is preparing to release his final comedy special, emphasizing the importance of laughter and the challenges faced by comedians in today’s climate.
Engvall addressed the criticism and cancel culture that comedians often encounter due to their jokes, highlighting the subjective nature of comedy and the need to appreciate different perspectives.
“Comedy is the best thing in the world and to be able to go to a place and laugh. Don’t go with the attitude that you’re gonna try to find something that’s offensive,” he said.
“If that’s what you’re wanting to do, then I don’t know where to tell you to go, but just please don’t do it at a comedy show,” he said.
“Cause comedy is great. And it’s very fun. And it’s fun to laugh, and you feel better after you’ve had a great night of comedy. So don’t … put it under the microscope too much.”
“It’s just their view on real life. Understand that that’s their view. They’re not saying you have to think this way, or you’re wrong,” he pressed.
Engvall also discussed his personal journey, including his evolving relationship with religion and his decision to step away from the road to prioritize his time with family.
“You know, I always considered myself probably a what we used to call a C&E — you know, church was Christmas and Easter,” he quipped. “I have become an ordained minister. I have the great honor of baptizing both my grandkids, and I’ve got a couple of weddings coming up. And it’s just really, really fun.”
“My relationship with God — and I feel like one of the problems that we’ve had in religion is that we all feel like we all have to have the same relationship with God, which we don’t. Mine will be different than yours. Yours would be different than someone else’s,” he said.
“So I try to, you know, keep it along those lines. I don’t like to, I don’t tell anybody what they should or shouldn’t believe. That’s not my position … or my place to do that.”
“And now there are people that are gonna say, ‘Oh, my gosh, I can’t believe you did this, and you said that.’ And I’m like, ‘Wait a minute … this is about you. This isn’t about me.’ You know? So, yeah, it doesn’t affect my relationship. And I don’t feel hypocritical at all in … what I say and what people believe. So, it’s been a fairly easy line to walk.”
The special, set for release on Dec. 5, aims to provide clean, family-friendly humor, reflecting a career-long approach.
“I feel like, honestly, that my show is probably one of the cleaner shows out there,” Engvall said. “I mean, there’s no swearing, there’s no dropping F-bombs and all that. … It’s something that I really have felt strong about. … I didn’t feel that any of the material on there was offensive. It’s, you know, it’s what I’ve done my whole career, and that’s obviously worked for whatever reason.”
“When I was first starting out in the business … I couldn’t wait to get out on the road. You know, I’d be packed two or three days before I had to leave. … It used to be the show outweighed the road as far as the amount of fun I had,” he said. “I started realizing that the road was making it a little more difficult.”
“I wanted to go out on my terms. … I didn’t want to end up being the grouchy old man. The whole show was just me complaining about stuff. … I knew it was getting to be time.”
“It seemed like I was missing out on stuff … the same kind of stuff I had missed out on with my kids. … But I didn’t want to go through that again. I wanted to be able to really spend time with my kids and my wife and our grandkids. And so I just knew. It was one of those things you just kind of know.”