SALT LAKE CITY — Abravanel Hall will be alive with laughs and smiles when award-winning comedian and entertainer Bill Engvall performs Friday.
Engvall, best known as a memeber of the Blue Collar Comedy troupe and from his role on "The Jeff Foxworthy Show," has been touring on and off since 1980. He brings a clean, comedy show to Salt Lake City that doesn't focus on often-controversial topics such as religion or politics.
"I think the reason I’ve lasted this long is … I do a clean show," Engvall said in a recent interview. "And I try to keep it real relatable, so there’s no politics or religion. … I kind of have a theory (that) we all just do the same stuff — it’s just with different accents."
Engvall said he is especially excited to entertain the Abravanel Hall audience because of his strong Salt Lake City area fan base.
"I have a lot of Salt Lake fans and Park City fans, and all of Tooele, Vernal — a lot of those towns, I have … fans in," Engvall said. "So it’s very exciting for me to get to a show down there and finally do something local again.”
The proximity from his residence of Park City to Abravanel Hall is also attractive for Engvall.
"I can just come down the hill and I'm there," he said. "That, and, we joke about it, but (travel) is actually a huge factor. And the fact that I wanted to give my fans here in this area the chance to see a live show."
Engvall, a Texas native, said there are many reasons he and his wife have been living in the Beehive State, including outdoor activities, the small-town feel of Park City, the quality of life, the people and the familiar Texas vibe he and his wife have felt in Utah.
“I love to go camping, fishing, hiking, playing golf," Engvall said. "That was one of the reasons we moved here was because Utah offered so much, such a wide variety of … outdoor activities to do. And we really dug the people. We had done L.A. for 30 years, even though that was never home. … (Utah) reminds me a lot of Texas in the sense of the people are just real friendly."
However, Engvall did say he wishes there are more "honky-tonk places" in the area where he and his wife could go dancing together.
"I love country dancing," he said.
Engvall laced up his dancing shoes in 2013, when he wooed fans and audiences across the country with his performances on the ABC TV show "Dancing with the Stars."
"That was something I didn’t see coming in life," Engvall said. "I’ve never seen the show. I’m not a contest kind of show person."
Engvall said he was originally going to turn down the opportunity, but his wife encouraged him to do it.
"I was on for 13 weeks, which was 12 longer than I thought I’d make it … plus, we got a free week," he said. "But I figured out early what it is; it’s not a dance competition. If it was, we wouldn’t have been asked (to do it). It’s a popularity thing."
Engvall said he "appreciated the age difference" between his partner Emma Slater and himself, and it was like a "father-daughter dance."
"I'm dancing with this really pretty 24-year-old girl, but then at the end of the dance, I ran over and I kissed this really pretty 55-year-old woman, which is my wife," he said.
In his 13 weeks on "Dancing with the Stars," Engvall said he lost 35 pounds. However, there was a downside, he said, as he tore his groin, pulled his hamstring and had to have his knee replaced. Engvall and Slater almost made it to the finals, but were eliminated in the ninth round.
Currently, Engvall said he is "sitting back, just seeing what comes my way" in terms of plans for his career.
"I've been blessed in the sense of I've got to accomplish everything that I've set out to do," he said. "Would I love another shot at television? Yeah, I'd love one. I'm not going to jump through any hoops anymore. I'm 60. And I've done that. I've played the game. And if you want me, you know what I can do."1 comment on this story
At Abravanel Hall later this week, Engvall said he hopes those who attend his show laugh and enjoy their time while attending.
"Come on out to Abravanel Hall. Let’s sit back, relax, have some laughs together, and walk out of there feeling like life’s a little better than it was when we got there," he said. "Laughter is such a wonderful thing, and we don't do enough of it."
If you go …
What: Bill Engvall show
When: Friday, Jan. 26, 8 p.m.
Where: Abravanel Hall, 123 W. South Temple
How much: $35-$59